You wouldn’t believe the amount of messages I receive on a weekly basis asking ‘where’s good for afternoon tea in Birmingham?’. Funny thing is, I always point people to either one of two places. The first being the amazing Edgbaston Boutique Hotel which is famous for its glamorous cocktails, inventive creations and delightful afternoon tea, oozing Great Gatsby style decor with attentive staff. I had my birthday drinks there a few years ago and it was hands down one of the best birthdays ever. So when I heard the Edgbaston had brought out a Winter afternoon tea, I was told that tables were booked up weeks in advance. Lucky for me, the amazing Group General Manager, Jayne booked me at short notice.
Believe me when I say Chef Olivier Briault has well and truly upped the experience from the previous Edgbaston afternoon tea I tried in 2015. Everything from the service, to the presentation, to the layout of the table is faultless. There are three cocktail lounges with plenty of cosy seating areas but this time, I was seated downstairs in the basement. The room was dimly lit so I was worried about my photographs turning out orange but luckily for me, I know how to actually work my camera. A lovely waitress came straight to our table and asked us what we would like to drink. There is a wide selection of JING Tea to choose, ranging from their signature Vanilla Black, Lemon Verbena to Gunpowder Supreme. They also served iced tea and plain English tea, so there will be no taste bud left dissatisfied.
The afternoon tea starts with an amuse bouche and is brought out on a platter of dry ice. You’re told not to touch unless you want no fingers left! Bergamot sorbet with chocolate sauce, topped with an edible viola flower, this delightfully sweet entrée is always so beautiful and mesmerising to watch as dry ice floats across the table. It’s one of the main reasons I visit the Edgbaston for afternoon tea, there’s really nothing else like it.
Winter afternoon sandwiches and light bites
For the main event, a rack of elegant sandwiches and sweet treats arrive. I never know where to look first so my eyes start at the bottom. This time around, the Winter afternoon tea serves cubes of Wensleydale with curry sauce on crostini bread – a haddock fish cake cemented with wasabi mayonnaise, served on a Japanese spoon – a crispy bacon, fresh tomato, lettuce baguette and an egg mayo brioche. You never think there’s going to be enough to fill you up but every single bite was utterly delicious.
Winter afternoon sweet treats
The best part (in my opinion) is always the top tier of any afternoon tea. This one especially as it is served with an array of tantalising sweets. There’s a ginger and valrhona dark chocolate macaroon, rhubarb and vanilla panna cotta, passion fruit and raspberry delice, and coffee and caramel profiteroles. Every single element on the rack has been perfectly executed, with an whirl of tangy flavours and textures which come together for a mouth explosion. For £25pp per afternoon tea, you’d expect the best and that’s certainly what you get. It gets my every single time, it’s soooooo good and very picturesque.
The scone finale
Just when you think it’s over, and after you’ve been served numerous pots of tea (which is included in the price), a selection of soft, warm, freshly baked scones appear at your table. Each guest receives both a plain and fruit scone, served with pots of Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. They were so fresh, I cut right through mine with a knife and warm crumbles rolled onto my place – AMAZING! I’m always curious to know what other people put on their scone first, the jam or the cream?! Every person is different but I do think there’s a ‘right’ way of doing it… let me know your preference in the comments below!
There are many different types of afternoon tea served at The Edgbaston which can be eaten daily from 12 noon until 6pm in the most elegant of surroundings. It really is the most perfect way to unwind with a partner or friend and it’s a bonus if you enjoy artisan sandwiches and tea. For this experience we asked for the traditional tea, but the ones with added champagne are just as great. Just remember to leave the car at home! For further information or to book your table, visit the Edgbaston website. The selection of afternoon teas to try are:
The Edgbaston Traditional Afternoon Tea £25pp
Juliet Sparkling Rose Afternoon Tea £30pp
Moet & Chandon Afternoon Tea £33pp
Moet & Chandon Rose Afternoon Tea £34pp
Laurent Perrier Rose Afternoon Tea £37pp
The Moseley Serve £35pp
The Indulgent Krug Afternoon Tea for 2 £110 or with 1/2 bottle £140
Please note, I booked my table for two on a Sunday afternoon and paid for the afternoon tea on my own accord. The Edgbaston did not ask me to write this review.