Cost – £35 (April 2018) Plus £4 per person ‘service charge’ added.
Parking and Access – Hanbury Manor has plentiful car parking, just keep following the signs for the hotel (not the leisure and golf club). However, it is a short walk from the car parking to the hotel reception. It is possible to drop people off outside the reception and then park the car in the car park. There are toilets along the corridor from reception, with no steps to negotiate. Access to the Oak Hall is good and is flat. The room is found right opposite reception.
Background – This was a very special Afternoon Tea for me and one I had been looking forwards to for a long time. Two lovely little boys had given me a voucher for Afternoon Tea at Hanbury Manor Hotel when they emigrated at the end of 2016. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we had been unable to use the voucher in 2017 as the hotel stopped accepting them. We managed to change the voucher for a different Afternoon Tea (Congham Hall in Norfolk) but the boys had chosen this particular venue as my present so I was determined to go there and have the special Tea they had bought for me. I was very glad to be going to Hanbury Manor at last. Thank you very much Tom and Ben, it was the perfect present!
Hanbury Manor is a big imposing building in red brick.
It is set in lovely grounds, much of which has been made into an attractive golf course.
The hotel is just off the A10 via a long sweeping driveway which takes you past the golf and leisure club parking areas first before ending in front of the manor in the hotel’s car park. There is a magnificent tree in front of the main entrance.
Options Available – Traditional, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Vegan and Children’s.
Contents – Four finger sandwiches each (marinated cucumber with cream cheese on caraway bread, beef and horseradish cream on multigrain bread, ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on pane con noce, coronation chicken on white bread), pickled carrot and hummus small triangular sandwich on focaccia and smoked salmon with cream cheese on a tiny brioche. Two medium sized scones, one plain and one fruit, a pot of each of strawberry and apricot jam and clotted cream. Six desserts between the two of us – one each of lemon macaroon, chocolate opera cake, chocolate topped mini choux bun, raspberry tart, chocolate cake, tiramisu with passion fruit cream.
Comments – On this occasion we booked our Afternoon Tea just a couple of days in advance.
Afternoon Tea at Hanbury Manor is taken in the Oak Hall which is a grand room with lots of wood panelling and high ceilings.
The chairs are large and comfy and there is plenty of space between tables.
We were shown to our reserved table and given menus to choose our tea from.
We both chose the classic royal tea blend. The tea arrived some minutes later in a china teapot along with a matching jug of milk. The tea was made with loose leaves with tea strainers provided. We were able to obtain a refill of the teapot.
It took quite a long time for the rest of the Afternoon Tea to arrive. Well over twenty minutes. When it did, it was on a stainless steel three tier cake stand with round white plates. The scones were wrapped in a linen napkin to keep warm. The jams and creams were in small pots on a separate plate.
The sandwiches were generally fresh and well filled. We had requested no mustard or horseradish as we don’t like either of these so our ham and beef sandwiches were just meat. They were supposed to be on different breads but the ham one and the beef one just looked like normal brown bread. The coronation chicken was mild but tasty but the bread was a little dry on those sandwiches.
Whilst we were eating the sandwiches a waitress came around with a large plate with the small triangle carrot sandwiches and the tiny salmon brioches on it. She served us with one of each.
The scones were very good and were still slightly warm by the time we got around to eating them.
There was enough of both jams for two scones each. There was also enough clotted cream but it was incredibly stiff which made it rather hard to spread without destroying the scones!
When the stand had arrived with our Afternoon Tea on it, I had immediately commented on there only being one of each cake, including the mini dessert. This is one of the most annoying things we find occasionally with Afternoon Teas. And is something I do not understand the logic behind. Do they expect you to politely argue over who has what? Or do you attempt, as we did, to cut every thing in half and have just a small taste of each? I would much rather have fewer items but with one of each for every person having the Tea. This was not a cheap Tea and I felt it was very poor not to have one each of the cakes.
Having said that, the cakes and dessert looked very attractive
and had an Easter theme to them with mini eggs on the top of the dessert
and a chocolate bunny on the Opera cake.
The cakes were generally very good, although the chocolate cake was a little on the dry side.
My personal favourites were the raspberry tart
and the lemon macaroon, which was nice and tangy.
We decided to ask for a second of the desserts as there was no way to share it. This request was granted. The dessert was a tiramisu made with very strong coffee but with a delicious layer of passionfruit cream on top.
Service was a little slow and was difficult to get hold of when we needed to. However, it was polite and helpful once found.
When we received the bill for our Tea we noticed there was a service charge of £4 per person added on automatically with no obvious way of removing it. I am happy to tip staff when receiving good service but I object to being forced to and being told how much. If it is to be added automatically in this way, surely it is part of the cost of the Tea and it should be advertised as costing £39 each rather than £35.