Our odd looking afternoon tea
- Location: Doubletree Hilton Victoria, 2 Bridge Place, Victoria, London, SW1V 1QA (nearest tube station is Victoria)
- Date of Visit: Sunday 24th August 2014
- Time of Table:00pm
- Deal Bought From: Groupon
- Deal Price: £17 for one person (we used three vouchers in one sitting)
- Dinner Companion: Twin sister, Jess and friend Mike
Getting More for your Money?
This deal includes:
- Traditional Afternoon Tea including selection of finger sandwiches, current scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of cakes, served with choice of tea
Inside Doubletree Hilton Victoria
What we ate…
- Smoked salmon in granary bread finger sandwiches
- Egg mayonnaise in granary bread finger sandwiches
- Ham and mustard in white bread finger sandwiches
- Cucumber and cream cheese in white bread finger sandwiches
- Current scone, served with strawberry jam and clotted cream
- Lemon drizzle slice with raspberry coulees
- Ginger cake slice with raspberry coulees
- Vanilla / Chocolate / Coffee macaroons
- Chocolate tiramisu bites
What we drank…
- Breakfast in Bohemia tea (Mike)
- Raspberry and Chilli tea (Jess)
- Berry Blossom White tea (Katie)
What did we think?
Tidily unassuming, Doubletree Hilton Victoria, one of the many popular London hotel chains, is situated a simple five minute walk from Victoria station, the dreary mediocre blah shade of beige on the outside not much to look at, although the spiralled topiary bushes acting as sentries to the front glass double doors, hint at a concealed class, the sign above the entrance quietly indicating that yes, you are in the right place. Going through the doors, I was instantly hit by the ‘ooh’ factor, although stacks of suitcases lining the main lobby area slightly detracted from the plushly carpeted flooring and the gleaming wooden reception desk. We headed to the right, where we could see the restaurant dining area, aptly named 2 Bridge Place after the hotel’s location.
Descending some steps into the sunken seating area, the dining section was well manicured and nicely groomed; very spick and span with an elegant polish. The navy carpet was kaleidoscoped with purple and cream circles, the muted mushroom coloured walls home to large dark leather panels studded with regal purple, the sofa seating beneath in corresponding shades of grey and mauve. There was a mix of both circular and rectangular tables, all in light wood, surrounded by speckled grey-green comfy seats or dining chairs, both upholstered in the neutrally pleasing shades. The tables were dressed simply; plain white teacups sat uniformly on their saucers, teaspoons angled attractively. A small white side plate held a linen napkin and cutlery, ready for the off as soon as tea arrived. Although the atmosphere was quiet, it was regally peaceful, and we felt no need to natter in whispers. It certainly looked the part of a posh afternoon tea venue, and we were looking forward to finding out the nuances of this particular teatime treat.
Firstly we were presented with the afternoon tea menu – not to choose the food or anything like that, but to peruse the tea choices. To be honest, there wasn’t a large selection of black teas – I only noted breakfast tea or Earl Grey. I have breakfast all the time so I fancied something different, yet I find Earl Grey far too perfumed for my taste. This meant I had to pick from the startlingly large array of fruit teas. Although an Orange Blossom sounded appealing, in the end, I settled for Berry Blossom White tea. I’ve never had white tea before so I had no clue what that was all about really; however, I do enjoy summer berry flavours, so I thought this might be an interesting one to try. It was intriguing to have a beverage that was so distinctly berry flavoured to be a vanilla cream in colour! I’m not usually a fan of fruit teas since I find them too weak or wishy washy, however this white tea version had enough of a punch for me, whilst still being soft and smooth with a very clear flavour. Served in a typical silver teapot, the presentation was again simplistic yet did the job. Jess chose the raspberry and chilli tea, which came out a very violent pink colour, however the sample sip I stole didn’t seem to have much heat or flavour to it, but that may be because it needed to brew for longer. Mike had the classic breakfast tea, with milk and a dainty white sugar lump, which always look so irresistible.
Macaroons and coffee bites
When our afternoon tea arrived, I almost had to do a double take, as I have never seen an afternoon tea presented in such a way before – I’m not 100% sold on it, but I appreciate the creativity and design of it. It was basically a dark wooden square that could stand up by itself, the waitress carrying it by a silver handle on the top that looked like a kitchen drawer handle. The square frame had small wooden shelves within it, providing different compartments and cubbyholes for the food to be stashed away in. The bottom of the frame for example acted as the plate for the finger sandwiches. The shelf above formed three small square compartments, each end one housing the large, current laden scones, the central square balancing a small ramekin with a large perfectly formed scoop of clotted cream, complete with the crumbly curled topping. The top two sections each held a small white presentation plate with the sweet cakes to finish. The jam wouldn’t fit on, so was given to us separately, again in a small white ramekin. We all sat staring at this unique square server before we tucked in. We debated whether it would have the same sense of achievement as working our way up the traditional tiered plates of the normal afternoon tea, and we also wondered whether they could possibly fit as much food onto such small little sections. Remaining undecided about the presentation, we decided to cut our losses and get stuck in.
Lemon and ginger cakes
The sandwiches were pretty standard really, the flavours nice and generic to suit most tastes. The egg mayonnaise was really chunky and not very saucy, although I enjoyed this flavour the most, especially when paired with the super soft granary bread. The smoked salmon was also nice and not too heavy. The cucumber was surprisingly crunchy and provided a good taste contrast to the soft cheese it accompanied. The ham and mustard combination seemed a little dry to me, but on the whole the bread was nice and soft and the finger sandwiches were a decent size so that was nice. They whet the appetite very well for the main event of every afternoon tea, the scones.
Chic and comfortable
Peppered with fat, juicy raisins, the scones were fantastic, and we all agreed we could damage to much more than the one each we were provided with. They were large and rustic looking, not uniform in shape which gave them a really nice home-made appeal. The outsides were a beautifully baked golden colour, with a tasty crunchy bite when you cut the scone, pieces flaking off excitably. The inside of the scones were still slightly warm from the oven, and despite the firm exterior, they were light and crumbly, proving very soft to bite in to. The jam we were provided with was laughable. I did basically the whole first ramekin in my one scone alone they gave us that little. Mike asked for more jam and they basically presented us with exactly the same again, so jam was very thin on the ground for both Jess and Mike, although I think I got away with it since I went first. Odd though, as there was more than enough clotted cream for all, as the scoop we were given sat pretty on even more cream, so there was plenty of that for us all. Once our scones were somewhat unevenly laden, we were positively licking our fingers afterwards as they were so delicious. Double the scones each next time please! They were a good size though, as I must confess, a mini scone just doesn’t hit the spot in the same fashion.
The main doors
Our top tier was the interesting cake level. We started with our sponge cake plate, each of us receiving a miniature slice of both lemon drizzle and ginger cake, raspberry coulee swirled decoratively across the spine of each tiny slice. The sponges were amazing, I don’t know if I have ever tasted cakes so soft. The lemon drizzle didn’t taste overtly of citrus, but was still pleasant, especially with the fresh fruit hit of vibrant raspberry. I absolutely loved the ginger cake though – it reminded me so much of a wonderfully soft and spongy version of a gingerbread man, lightly spiced and again with that cut of clean fruit taste. Could have done with a whole slice of the ginger cake, which was a lovely medium sandy brown in colour. The macaroons were perfect – I got stuck in to the chocolate one, which tasted identical to a decadent chocolate brownie. With an addictive chewy bite on the outside and that gloriously rich centre, it was divine – I seriously could eat those baby bad boys all day long. Ideal for chocoholics. Last, but by no means least, we hit the little tiramisu bites. At first, we had no idea what they were. To us, they were just very small stacks of intriguing looking mini layers of lord knows what, topped with a clear chocolate tiffin style glossy layer, with either a single raspberry, or strawberry segment perched on top. Delicately cutting the stack in half to make it last longer, we were instantly struck by the intense coffee flavour, the layers now seeming to be soaked sponge, reeking of espresso shots. It was punchy and tasty, although not really enough of it to really make too much of an impact on the tea as a whole. Definitely the most daintily presented though so top marks for that.
Jess and Mike
In conclusion, afternoon tea at Doubletree Hilton Victoria felt very genteel, civilised and lovely. The setting was part understated elegance and regality paired with a comfortably and relaxed vibe. The tea itself was yummy, the finger sandwiches the usual stated savoury chowed down on just to get to the sweet stuff, the flavours traditional and not pushing the boat out too much. The scones were simply the best section, really delicious and having some wonderful textures, although staff were incredibly tight on the jam. The macaroons and sponge cakes were spot on, although I’m not sure if there was enough substance to the little coffee bites to be worthy of a place in an afternoon tea. For £17 a head though, in central London, the afternoon tea was very cheap and we still really enjoyed every aspect. The presentation was quirky and made a good talking point, and although the tea selection wasn’t vast, there were still options for us to choose from. Staff were polite and friendly, even if the first guy went past our name on the reservation list numerous times! If you fancy a quiet afternoon tea out, then this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
The Dinner Dates Opinion:
“The afternoon tea at the Double Tree was lovely. Although it is quite a prestigious hotel, I found the surroundings comfortable and easy going, whilst still being luxurious and sophisticated. The choice of teas was not as extensive as some of the other places I’ve had afternoon tea, but there was still something different for me to try (I like having something that I can’t get at home). Turns out raspberry chilli tea is very nice, and with the chilli not being overpowering at all (verging on not being present if not steeped enough).
“The sandwiches were very nice, nothing too special but I still enjoyed them. They came with all the classic fillings. I think the scones were the highlight, they were still warm and smelt great! A very nice scone indeed. We didn’t really get enough jam for the table though, even after asking for more, it was still a bit on the skimpy side. Next we had mouthfuls of a lemon drizzle and ginger cake, which were really lovely. Would have been nice to get a little bit more of these as they were moist and flavourful. Macaroons came next, and I love macaroons so have no complaints! I had the coffee one; we had 3 different flavours which may have been a problem in a different group but luckily for us it wasn’t. The last thing on our tea were these little ‘opera’ cakes I think they were called. They were little cubes of various layers, which tasted like a tiramisu to me. Nothing too special but still tasty. Everything was very nice, although it would have been nice to get a bit more of it – I had saved myself for it and I left with some space left in my stomach!”
Our afternoon tea
“Had a very good cream tea in comfortable surroundings. The scone was the best so far – fruity, a decent size, nice and crusty, with strawberry jam (a very meagre portion, really only served one – so asked for more) and clotted cream. Shame there was just the one per serving. Still prefer a cream tea to be served on a tier of plates rather than in ‘the picture frame’ that they used. Looked as though it was meant for two, but if there was a third person in the party, then their portions were squeezed in on top/alongside. All in all, it was still a very nice tea.”