Just the thought of a traditional British afternoon tea fills me with delight – lashings of hot tea, fresh out of the oven scones with a truck load of clotted cream and deliciously rich petit fours – seriously, what’s not to love. So when the Macdonald Burlington invited me to try their afternoon tea on a recent visit to Birmingham, I jumped at the chance. As Mr ESLT doesn’t have a sweet tooth (or so he says!), I thought it was a better idea to invite someone to join me who would appreciate the experience. Therefore, I invited one of my best friends, R to join me for a day of shopping in Birmingham before indulging in finger sandwiches and sweet treats.
Birmingham is a major city in the West Midlands, England and is a shopper’s dream. With the Bullring shopping centre, which has a number of designer and high street shops together with independent shops and boutiques in the streets surrounding it, there is something for everyone. In fact, I’m sure whatever you were looking for you would find in the city centre. However, and it may just be me, but a shopping spree can be just as strenuous as a workout in the gym, well it is the way I do it at least. So after walking what felt like the length and breadth of the city centre, R and I were in need of sustenance and tea (and lots of it!). So armed with our shopping bags we headed to the MacDonald Burlington excited for afternoon tea and a good old catch up.
The Macdonald Burlington is a 4 star city centre hotel and is located a mere five minute walk from The Bullring Shopping Centre and also from Moor Street train station.
Hot drinks and champagne
We must have looked a bit lost, as the receptionist pointed us in the right direction. We headed up to the bar area on the first floor of the hotel and were warmly greeted by the very friendly and attentive barman/waiter. We took our seats by the window and were offered tea (or coffee) straight away. As neither of us drink coffee, we were shown the extensive selection of Twinnings tea on offer. I chose mighty Assam and R chose peppermint. Unlimited tea (and coffee) was offered throughout our afternoon tea, therefore our cup was never empty. We were asked on a number of occasions if we would like a top up and as tea fiends, we always said yes. There was also the opportunity to have a glass of champagne with our afternoon tea, however as we were both driving we passed on the fizz, but a great option especially if celebrating a special occasion.
As we had pre-booked our afternoon tea we did not have to wait too long for it to be brought to our table. Also, when I pre-booked I was asked if we had any dietary requirements, we didn’t but it’s good to know that they would have catered for them if we did. The format of the afternoon tea was the traditional one – sandwiches, scones and petit fours and it looked divine. We couldn’t wait to jump right in.
We were presented with a selection of four different freshly cut finger sandwiches – ham and mustard, salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and egg and cress. All of which were served in different breads and all of which were fresh, soft and tasty. I do love a sandwich, but one finger of each was just enough, any more and it would have meant sacrificing a scone or petit fours!
The scones were obviously homemade. Can you believe I have actually had afternoon teas elsewhere were they have served up ‘homemade’ scones when they were quite obviously bought from the supermarket down the road – tut. We received two fruit scones and 2 plain scones, which were still warm from the oven. We also had four mini pots of jam and a big bowl of clotted cream on the table. There is nothing worse then not having enough jam or cream, luckily we had more than enough of both for our four scones here. As you can see I am a jam first kind of girl? What’s your preference?
It might just be me but I love miniature cakes, for some reason they always taste better, plus because they are small you get to try a number of different ones without feeling too guilty. The petit fours on our afternoon tea were all fresh and delicious, with miniature Victoria sponges, macaroons, cheesecakes and many more we certainly got a massive sugar fix. So much so we simply could not finish them all, even though we really did try our hardest.
A fresh and filling afternoon tea for £17.95 (£26.00 with champagne) I think is a bargain. I have spent more than double that before on afternoon teas at some of the ‘top’ hotels in London and have left feeling disappointed and/or still hungry. Not at the Macdonald Burlington – great attentive service, lovely Swing background music (as a massive fan Frank Sinatra, it got a big thumbs up from me), pleasant and airy setting, enough tea to keep our caffeine levels topped up for a week and not forgetting of course the delicious food. A lovely afternoon and a great experience, perfect for girlie catch ups, romantic dates, special occasions or even a solo indulgence.
- We enjoyed our afternoon tea in exchange for honest review – thank you Macdonald Burlington