After the disappointment of my last afternoon tea – the one with no tea and no scones – it was up to Hotel du Vin & Bistro to restore my faith in tradition. Did they deliver? They did. In spades. Not for them the “modern twist” of tiny burgers instead of sandwiches, or fries instead of quiche. This was a proper well-presented traditional afternoon tea with excellent customer service, leaving Ma Lee and I gushing with praise.
If you’ve never visited Hotel Du Vin, once an eye hospital, it’s located in an ornate Victorian building with granite pillars and a marvellous sweeping staircase. Afternoon teas are hosted in the bright and airy courtyard – although we confusingly called in at the hotel’s Bistro and the Bubble Lounge Bar before finding where we were meant to be.
The staff are warm and welcoming, and take the time to explain how our afternoon tea will work. Glass of prosecco ladies? Don’t mind if we do! Our savoury selection is delivered to the table, a delectable selection of ham and Gruyere croissant, a goats cheese and spinach quiche which melts in the mouth, a heritage tomato and tapenade galette, egg & cress mayonnaise in a soft brioche bun, and Severn & Wye smoked salmon and cream cheese on dark rye bread. Ma Lee and I do a little sandwich swapping – my egg mayonnaise for Ma Lee’s salmon. Everyone’s happy.
We get to choose from the tea menu. Ma Lee – predictably – opts for the Twinings Full English; I pick the slightly more exotic elderflower and blossom darjeeling. It’s floral and sweet and smells a little like one of my Aldi diffusers. Which isn’t a bad thing.
We’ve barely poured our first cup when the sweet treats arrive. And no matter how much I love a ham and cheese croissant, we all know it’s the sweet treats that I’m waiting for. First fruit and plain scones, served with individual Bonne Maman jams and clotted cream. Ma Lee and I like our scones the Devonian way – cream then jam. I asked the “what first” question on social media recently and was bombarded with accusations that I am doing it all wrong.
I last all of two minutes before I can’t resist any longer – I just have to pull off a handful of the homemade candy floss from it’s stick. I’m going to have such a comedown when all this sugar makes it’s way out of my system. I turn my attentions to the other tempting delights – lemon meringue pie, raspberry and dark chocolate tea cakes, a gin and tonic sundae – which is a refreshing palate cleanser – and rhubarb and custard doughnuts. Try as I might, I just can’t manage to polish everything off. The lemon meringue and doughnuts are coming home with me. Our hostess offers us a cake box, which saves me from trying to stuff them into my pockets.
Afternoon teas at Hotel Du Vin start from £22.50 per head (excluding alcoholic drinks) which compared to other afternoon teas I’ve had seems to be exceptionally good value considering the quality, quantity and service. Afternoon tea is available everyday from 12pm-6pm.
**We paid in full for our afternoon tea at Hotel Du Vin. Actually, Mr Fletche paid in full as my purse happened to be in another handbag. All debts have now been paid.
You can find Hotel Du Vin Birmingham at 25 Church Street, Birmingham B3 2NR. Their website, including opening hours and menus, is https://www.hotelduvin.com/locations/birmingham/afternoon-tea/