With an extra week off for the post-Christmas break, I decided to treat afternoon-tea-loving Ma Lee to one of the best in Birmingham. The Edgbaston is a boutique hotel (strangely enough in the suburb of Edgbaston) which has become almost as famous locally for its fabulous cocktails and decadent vintage style afternoon tea. From the moment you enter the stylish lobby and enter the Art Deco inspired cocktail lounge with huge chandeliers and gold embelishments you know you are in for a treat.
Our lovely server Susie explained the different options available to us before leaving us to peruse the menu. For once, we stayed away from the alcoholic option, although a glass of Moet can be added on to your afternoon tea for £8. We ummed and ahhed over our tea selection. Ma Lee is an unadventurous tea drinker, but she was persuaded to give the highly exotic Earl Grey a go. I opted for the Blackcurrent and Hibiscus, which tasted a little like hot blackcurrant squash but was strangely moreish. It won’t replace Yorkshire as my tea of choice though 🙂
The Edgbaston, all wrapped up for the festive season
Mmmm, what to have?
Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea. Not hot squash or a cold prevention treatment
Next was the showstopper – which is probably nice as a surprise but is impossible for any blogger not to mention. There’s a complementary amuse bouche. There’s dry ice. There’s a warning not to touch any remaining minus eighty degree rocks of ice if you want to keep your fingers intact. It’s quite magical and I defy you not to oooh and aaah. The palate cleansers were quite lovely too, some sort of whiskey infused cheesecake with edible violas.
What alchemy is this?
Time for the main event! A rack of savoury and sweet delights are served and we quickly set about demolishing the selection. In keeping with the festive theme, there’s turkey & cranberry served on a brioche bun, and a teeny tiny mince pie. There’s also smoked salmon & avocado on lemon bread, Wensleydale cheese and curry sauce (?) on a seeded cracker, the ever-present macarons (am I the only person that doesn’t really get the current macaron obsession?) and a melt-in-your-mouth passionfruit & meringue tart; before our final course of straight-from-the-oven plain and fruit scones with sealed jars of clotted cream and jam.
Every bite was delicious and packed full of flavour, but it was the whole experience that made this afternoon tea a cut above the rest. The dainty porcelain; the amazingly polished teapots; efficient, friendly and knowledgeable staff; and a sophisticated and elegant setting. Just like me and Ma Lee.