One of my favourite things to eat is afternoon tea. Along with canapés and party food, it evokes that feeling of food at childhood birthday parties; that feeling of something being a glorious treat, and having all your favourite things on one plate. When Simon and I are in London, we love to go for afternoon tea. There’s a real culture of inventive patisserie there, and no two venues do things the same way. Over the years, we’ve noticed the complexity and inventiveness going up and up. Perhaps it’s the Bake Off effect??
Bristol has lots of lovely, traditional afternoon teas, and I recently had the opportunity to try the new afternoon tea at the Hotel du Vin, along with lots of other lovely Bristol bloggers.
I’d been before with a group of friends and really enjoyed it; they catered brilliantly for one friend who needs a gluten-free meal, and also a couple of vegetarians. We were impressed and very happy.
Another reason I was looking forward to visiting is that Hotel du Vin Bristol is a special place for my husband and I. We stayed there the night before our wedding and for our wedding night too. The rooms are beautiful and calming; just what you want with hair and make up artists around, and lots of people coming and going! We stayed in the room called Dom Perignon (all of the rooms are named after drinks) which was really excellent. The staff looked after us really well, and were always friendly and helpful.
When I visited for the new afternoon tea, I got chance to go and have a nosey around some of the other rooms and they really are all beautiful! My husband and I chose Dom Perignon (one of the Studio Suites) because we knew we’d be having lots of people in the room with us at various points in the day (not to mention my giant dress!) and needed the extra space, but if there’s just two of you, the standard rooms are great! They’re just as luxurious in terms of fixtures and fitting, just a bit smaller.
Having been before, I was thinking I knew exactly what to expect from the afternoon tea. In many ways, I was correct; anyone with dietary requirements was well catered for, the Hotel du Vin staff were lovely and welcoming, the room we were in was beautiful and comfortable. But what I wasn’t expecting was that Hotel du Vin have significantly upped their game in terms of the inventiveness and creativity of their afternoon tea. And remember; it was already great!
I was really impressed by the spread on offer, including whimsical touches like candy floss. Who doesn’t love candy floss??
The photo at the top of the post is what you’d get as a guest, with the stand and basket. Because we were such a big group, ours was presented buffet style on beautiful boards. It shows that afternoon tea works well for big groups too; it was a great way of getting chatting to people as you got up to try a new thing. I think it would work really well for a party or mixer.
The individual savoury plate includes a variety of breads and pastries, and the sweets are on a stand, offering endless Instagram opportunities.
My favourite savoury item was the filled croissant (a taste of many a Parisian holiday right there!) and my favourite sweet was the home-made tea cake. I’m not a huge fan of the shop bought variety, but this one was wonderful; light and decadent at the same time. I may have had two (cough cough, definitely did).
As well as the afternoon tea, we also tried some of the wonderful new cocktails. There was one that tasted just like Christmas in a glass! Two of them included buttered rum which is definitely my new favourite spirit.
I don’t want to spoil the lovely surprises by telling you everything that’s on the menu, but you’ll get some ideas from my photo. Let me know in the comments if you go. I’d love to know what your favourites are!