I believe I was Queen Elizabeth in another life… or I like to think so at least.
My reason for this of course is because of my love for the finer things in life and luxuries and of course a good afternoon tea. If I could travel the world and enjoy an afternoon tea every day for the rest of my life I would be a very, very happy girl.
I love afternoon teas so much I even had my own for my birthday this year!
If my memory serves me right I believe my first ever afternoon tea was in London three or four years ago at the Lanesborough Hotel with my good friend Kelley Ferro. It was the beginning of my love of all things afternoon and high tea related. Since then as I have traveled the world I have also enjoyed the best afternoon teas in Sydney, Australia at the Shangri-La, at my favourite hotel in Johannesburg, 54 on Bath, at the Drake Hotel in Chicago and on my recent trip to Northern Ireland at Belfast’s Merchant Hotel.
The ceiling in The Great Room Restaurant at the Merchant Hotel
The Victorian / Art-Deco building that the Merchant Hotel in Belfast sits in was originally a bank and was transformed into its present state in 2006. However from the looks of the inside you would think it has been a hotel all along. The Traditional Afternoon Tea takes place daily in The Great Room Restaurant, an elegant space with high ceilings ornately decorated with little cherubs and beautiful skylight dome and chandelier hanging in the middle.
Forget – Brimont Brute Rosé
My tea started like every great afternoon tea should, with a glass of bubbly. Pink champagne to be exact… as if I would have anything less.
My tea is served
Champagne and Tea go so well together!
I didn’t go too fancy with my tea selection however and I enjoyed the house favourite Fairtrade Merchant Tea Blend described on the menu as “A malty Assam blend with a light crisp Tanzanian tea to create a fresh, full flavoured cup. Best served with a dash of milk.” It was quite nice and I think I had my tea pot refilled with hot water more than once.
Champagne, tea, tiny sandwiches and dessert – whats not to love?
Next arrived the food. I was served with a plate of sandwiches consisting of – chicken and rocket with pesto butter, ham mustard and maple butter, goat’s cheese and roasted red pepper and MY FAVOURITE free range eggs with créme fraiche and chive. If I were ever at an afternoon tea and they didn’t serve me an egg sandwich I would be quite livid.
Afternoon tea desserts!
Since I was only one person and had no one else to join me, my tiered tea stand looked slightly sad but it was still filled with delicious eats nonetheless. Level one I was served a plain and a fruit scone with devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve on the side. Level two a raspberry and coconut cake and level three – strawberry and jivara crèmeux, Azelia crèmeux profiterole, and salted caramel gateau.
Separately I was also offered some banana bread, a pear and young buck blue cheese tart and when asked if I wanted more sandwiches, I of course asked for more egg and they brought me four more pieces of egg sandwich! I was not expecting that, but of course was thrilled. I would have a picture of all of these for you but I ate them too quickly.
omnomnom egg sandwiches
The whole tea service was quite lovely and the ambiance of the room was really great with many others around me enjoying their afternoon tea with friends and family. I wish I would of had someone to enjoy it with, but I loved it even by myself. My booking was late in the afternoon so by the time I was finished I was one of the few remaining. The whole time the staff were quite attentive and great however near the end almost too attentive. Almost as if they wanted to tell me to take a hike without coming out and saying it. I’m not sure if they needed to get the room turned over for dinner or what it was, but the end felt a bit rushed. However that would be my only complaint, as of course I could have stayed there all day.
If you ever find yourself in Belfast, Northern Ireland I highly recommend heading to the Merchant Hotel to enjoy their fine afternoon tea for yourself. Reservations are recommended and the tea is reasonably priced starting at 22.50 GBP per person depending on the day of the week with an extra 10 GBP for the champagne service. Or if you want to be REALLY fancy you can go for the Merchant Hotel’s Krug Afternoon Tea, which features caviar and an extremely fancy champagne. The Krug starts at 275 GBP for two people.
Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Where in the world have you had your favourite?
Special thanks to Tourism Ireland for including this tasty tea on my itinerary. As always all opinions and thoughts and full bellies are my own.