Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A tea fit for a Crumpet

Without going over board, I am lucky enough to have a truly wonderful girlfriend. Fun, supremely talented, incredibly generous and generally gorgeous to look at, I wanted to treat her to an equally lovely birthday.

Following an all too brief trip with friends to Bath, I could tell she was hoping for a quick return to the spa town, to indulge in her artistic passions in some of the best independent galleries around, as well as sampling some refined cuisine.

My plans centred on afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel.

Camouflaged in one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture the UK has to offer, the only suggestion of the Hotel's location is the dapper looking doorman to welcome the guests.

Once inside, the traditional decor is complimented by a supremely slick concierge team, and after the briefest of nods and dialogues we were whisked into the prime, luxurious seats, overlooking the garden (only slightly overshadowed by the occasional guest being escorted in a dressing gown to one of the many spa treatment areas - think mental institution for the rich).

We opted for the Royal Crescent Tea, with the additional glass of champagne that the special occasion warranted, as well as enough tea to sink even the hardiest WI.

Presented across three tiers, there were definite stars of the show; the smoked salmon sandwich was truly divine.

However, it was the patisseries which were incredible. Presented with a separate selection to account for her nut allergy (another excellent attention to detail), the lemon meringue cupcake with the secret lemon curd filling; and the scrumptious, buttery cherry flapjack were fantastic. It was though the passionfruit, with the shortest of short crust pastry and the rich, smooth filling, which made us wide of eye and still found its way into the fullest of bellies.

Post lunch, we strolled around the very quaint gardens, enjoying some of the more unusual effects.

My only criticisms: I'm a west country boy, I like lashings of clotted cream with my scones (and to be honest, any other sweet treat), so when the first pot disappeared quicker than Houdini, the requested additional pot never arrived, which was disappointing. Also, as you can see in the picture above, one set of sandwiches retained their crusts, which was lazy. Coupled with the rather dated restaurant decor, I would give the Royal Crescent Hotel a seven and a half out of 10.

As you can see though, the gorgeous setting, occasion, amazing patisserie...and probably the champagne, contributed to two very happy patrons indeed!

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