(Guest Blog) Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral Hotel

These two characters I’m sure need no introducing and now they’ve put their heads together to do a joint guest blog – no stopping them now! :o) Nadine

AVM and Strawberry Blonde, due a good catch up and distinctly unimpressed by Edinburgh’s dreek Autumnal weather, decided on a restorative Afternoon Tea in the sumptuous surroundings of Palm Court at The Balmoral.

The Bollinger Bar / Palm Court

I must confess that we’ve been before, although not together, and certainly not in full on blog critique mode!  The location is one of Edinburgh’s finest – i love the Palm Court’s cosy and perfect sanctuary from busy Princes Street – it oozes decadent decor and lazy luxe ambience. Rocco Forte hotels are renowned for style and perfectly executed panache, and The Balmoral is no exception. As an Edinburgh landmark, it delivers exactly what you’d anticipate – dramatic entrance, great concierge and door staff (who are happy to look after any shopping!), and an invitingly luxurious and elegantly bustling setting for a good gossip.

Both AVM and I were somewhat ravenous (there’s a surprise, Ed); and agreed on the Afternoon Tea menu for £21 (the Champagne Tea is £34) which includes a fine selection of teas for slaking any gossip induced thirstiness. We opted for Royal Scottish Balmoral and Famous Edinburgh blends respectively. We didn’t have long to wait (sounds like just as well, Ed) and struggled (for a few moments!) with where to start on the range of delights that were presented to our table.

The Afternoon Tea includes six different types of dainty finger sandwiches; Fruit, Heather and Honey scones; a top tier of mini patisseries; shortbread biscuits; and two mini pots of vanilla ice cream. The sandwiches were delicately satisfying and included traditional favourites (egg mayonaise, beef, salmon, ham) and a very naughty addition of brie with tomato. We were slightly disappointed with the ham – a little skimpy on the filling and butter so slightly dry but the others lived up to expectation. On reflection, we do remember happily scoffing the crisps that came with the sandwiches, but don’t recall seeing any olives or chutney as mentioned on the menu.  The scones were tasty, but similarly we felt the jam and cream was a tad on the ungenerous side, although with our eyes on the cakes, we didn’t ask for more. In a whisker, several of the cakes disappeared mysteriously from AVM’s plate (i’m seeing a pattern here, Ed); and they were very good indeed; AVM particularly rated the chocolate mille-feuille-like calorie bundle, and the cheesecake was heavenly – an abundant biscuit to filling ratio!

Overall, a very satisfying tea, although we would have been delighted if the scones were warm, and felt that to go the extra mile, a top up of tea would have been well received. We both felt the service was a little slow as the afternoon progressed, although very courteous, and particularly enjoyed the harp played from the balcony above. Palm Court was almost full throughout the afternoon, which reflects the great balance of food and ambience. The Ladies Powder Room (“loo” does not do it justice!) harks back to bygone glamour with it’s lovely floral basins, and the floral arrangements throughout are truly first class.

Of the many teas on offer in Edinburgh, this rates alongside the Sheraton Grand – winning on ambience, decor and cheesecake, although outdone by the Sheraton on generosity, ritual and quality of sandwiches and scones! I say, game on! We agreed the score had to be 7/10 across the board, and will be back .. .. once we’ve tested the rest of the competition! (that’s my girls! Ed)




Strawberry Blonde

The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh. EH2 2EQ. 0131 556 2414

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2 Responses to “(Guest Blog) Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral Hotel”

  1. July 30, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    I must confess that we’ve been before, although not together, and certainly not in full on blog critique mode!

    • July 30, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks for the comment, I hope you enjoyed your afternoon teas there…

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