Cost – £18.95 plus 10% service charge added automatically (Dec 2019)
Parking and Access – The hotel has a large car park which is close to the entrance of the building. There are steps up to the entrance with an alternative sloping access as well. The entrance to the restaurant is level, but there is a section of the restaurant to the rear that is down a few steps. There are toilets near the entrance to the restaurant which have flat access.
Background – We have visited Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket on two previous occasions. Once for their traditional Afternoon Tea and once for their Gentleman’s Tea. Both are reviewed elsewhere in this blog. This year we spotted that the hotel was offering a Festive Afternoon Tea. So we thought somebody really should try it out and review it. That sounded like something we might be good at!
The hotel was nicely decorated for Christmas with Christmas trees decorated all in silver and white, and with lights around the large tree by the entrance. It was very pretty. The restaurant was really busy, with many tables enjoying Afternoon Teas. There was only one empty table, apart from ours, when we arrived. The festive Tea was obviously proving popular.
Contents – Four rectangular sandwiches (smoked salmon with dill cream cheese, ham and piccalilli, egg mayonnaise with fried sprout tops and turkey and cranberry). Two large sized scones (choice of fruit or plain), a pot of strawberry jam, a pot of lemon curd and a pot of clotted cream. A small piece of Christmas cake, a square of stollen, an éclair filled with mince pie cream filling, a Baileys macaroon, a mini shortbread Christmas tree, a mini gingerbread man and a raspberry and mascarpone mini dessert. Pot of your choice of teas.
Options Available – There is also a traditional Afternoon Tea and a gentleman’s Afternoon Tea.
Comments – We were shown to a table at the back of the main part of the crowded restaurant.
The table was laid with a linen tablecloth, pretty blue and white crockery,
a set of cutlery tucked into a linen napkin and a glass each.
The chairs were big and comfortable with leather seats and pretty tapestry sides.
The waitress brought us the menu after around ten minutes wait. She asked if we would like some water and brought us a jug of iced water.
She then disappeared. We saw her helping other customers but didn’t return to us until we had finished! We were sitting wondering what to do when a more senior member of staff passed us and asked if we needed help. He then took our order and, after a short wait, delivered our sandwiches and teapots.
The tea arrived in two individual white teapots accompanied by a white milk jug between us. We had chosen English breakfast tea. The tea was made with tea bags. It was a good strength and we were able to have new teapots delivered when we wanted. We went through five pots in total!
We had been told that the Afternoon Tea would arrive in three parts. The first was the sandwiches, which arrived on a plain metal three-tier cake stand with two plain round white plates containing the sandwiches.
The sandwiches were fresh and reasonably well filled, apart from one.
My companion bit into his ham and piccalilli sandwich and noticed the was no ham inside!
He caught the attention of a passing waiter who went to tell the kitchen. He returned a few minutes later with a plate containing two freshly made sandwiches both containing a good amount of ham and piccalilli.
When we had finished the sandwiches, the cake stand was removed and another one brought out containing two plates with two large scones each, plus a third plate containing the jam, lemon curd and cream pots.
The scones were quite large and had been well warmed up. We had both chosen fruit scones and there was a good amount of fruit in each scone.
The lemon curd was a slightly luminous green colour! It was tasty with a nice zing. However, there was nowhere near enough of it. We only managed a rather thin layer each on one of our scones. There was slightly more jam and cream. However, the cream was oddly rather dry and sort of cracked when we tried to put it on the scone!
Finally, the cake stand was removed again and a plate arrived containing the cake section of the Afternoon Tea. It was a good-looking plateful with seven items each. However, none of the items were particularly big so it was easily manageable.
The two biscuits (shortbread and gingerbread) were very small and could have been doubled up easily. However, both were good. The stollen square and the macaroon were also very tasty. However, the éclair had gone a little hard and mine was only partly filled with the mince pie cream. The Christmas cake had a slightly odd lemony taste to it, and was a little small. Finally, the mini raspberry and mascarpone dessert was a good ending to the Tea.
Service was very varied, as I mentioned previously. Our original waitress appeared at the end to sort the bill. However, we had been served by a selection of passing staff, all of whom had been very helpful.