Is there anything more memorable than afternoon tea with your nearest and dearest? Early last month I went to Edinburgh to visit a wonderful friend o’ mine, Amy. I had a fantastic time. We did the touristy things, I had haggis..twice (I love it) and we lived in each other’s pockets for five days.
While I was off thoroughly enjoying my adventures in Scotland, I missed the birthday of another dear friend, Katie. I had afternoon tea at The Westin already planned long before but life got in the way, so we had to push it a few days past her actual birthday where work schedules and general admin couldn’t disturb us. And so, we went into the city a couple of weeks ago to experience a most peculiar afternoon tea in the hotel’s Atrium Lounge.
The Atrium Lounge is a courtyard located upstairs at The Westin. It has a glass roof, lots of soft lighting, soothing music and heaps of plush mismatched furniture. It’s undeniably beautiful, just like the rest of the hotel. The Westin is a five star spot, so I wouldn’t expect anything less. Their partnering with Hendrick’s gin for a not so ordinary afternoon tea really appealed to me (cocktails in teapots is a cute idea, you must admit!) but it’s great that they have kept traditional afternoon tea on the menu as I’ll definitely go back and try that one. The traditional menu varies more in price depending on if you have champagne or not, but also includes tea or coffee, something the peculiar afternoon tea doesn’t…which is a shame!
When we arrived, Katie and I were shown to our table immediately. All the staff were neat as shiny pins, dressed beautifully in black and white. Before I continue with the food pornI have to put it out there – The Atrium staff were incredibly professional, warm, friendly and attentive without being too in your face or intrusive. Five star service.
We made our (peculiar) choice and sank into the huge arm chairs awaiting our gin mojitos. Katie and myself have developed a fond habit of mojito fuelled dates, so we were excited to see if things would be just as good, shaken up with gin instead of our usual rum based refreshments.
The verdict? Both of us were surprised. This mojito was better than any I have ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot. Ahem. There was just something about the mix of Hendrick’s, lime, mint and freshly churned apple juice (a very nice touch) which made me want to steal the teapot for myself and make the birthday girl drink the ice water instead!
Just kidding Katie. You’re great.
In case you’re wondering, we managed to get three full teacups each from the teapot. On to the food!
Next came the three tiers of glory – savoury and sweet. Some of my images aren’t the clearest – sorry about that.
Blinis with cream cheese, oak smoked salmon and caviar.
Confit of pork cheek, stilton and honey aioli.
Spiced roast beef, spinach, horseradish and red onion involtine. Charcoal cone filled with prawn cocktail.
Black olive and tomato tapenade with goats cheese and bread stick dippers.
Banana and walnut bread, with cinnamon and honey butter. We got two slices each, and thank God for that.
Chocolate and caramel sea salt brownie, popping vanilla marshmallow.
Clockwise: Almond and redcurrant frangipane tart, popcorn panna cotta with toffee popcorn crumble, tarragon sandwich cookie with white chocolate and lime ganache.
We chatted for hours, snuggled down in our armchairs until the sky through the glass windows turned dark and we couldn’t manage another bite.
It was the perfect afternoon and I was so happy that Katie seemed to really enjoy it, so I feel my mission to give her something different and special was accomplished.
A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea at The Atrium is priced at €26.00 per person. Perhaps the perfect Christmas gift for your friends, Mother, sister or girlfriend? Or simply for the person who has everything! For more information on The Atrium Lounge, click here.
For my Bellinter House afternoon tea review, click here.
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