Can you think of anything more quintessentially British than enjoying a splendid afternoon tea in the Royal Crescent Hotel which is nestled in the heart of historic Bath’s crescent? Unless The Queen and Mr Bean were sat at the adjacent table.
I visited The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa for the first time a few weeks ago with my sister and it’s just as grand and luxurious as one would imagine and I cannot wait to share my wonderful dining experience with you all.
We were promptly lead through the house, into the tranquil gardens and taken into the foyer of The Dower House restaurant where we were offered the choice of eating indoors or choosing one of the many tables outside. Seeing as it was such a beautifully sunny and warm day we opted for the latter. The resident robin even joined us at our table on many occasions throughout our visit. You’d hasten to forget you were in the middle of a beautiful, busy and bustling city as it was just so relaxing and quiet in the grounds of the hotel.
We were seated at our table and handed some menus to choose which type of afternoon tea we’d like and which blend of tea we want to accompany it as well. The Royal Crescent really do cater for everyone with their choices of afternoon teas. First up was the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea (£37.50 per person) which they say is designed more for those with a savoury palate. The sandwich choices you receive with this are:
- clarence court egg, smoked cheddar, spring onion and mustard cress.
- Roast beef with a horseradish mayonnaise and watercress.
- Corn fed chicken and a basil and lemon hummus.
- And finally a smoked salmon sandwich with a lemon and chive cream cheese.
The savoury options for this particular afternoon tea are:
- Smoked salmon toast, smoked paprika, lemon zest and topped with caviar.
- A bite sized sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze.
- Bath chap (which is a cut of pork) with a mustard mayonnaise, pickled radish and sorrel.
- Cucumber filled with a caraway spiced goats curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion.
- Saffron and honey yoghurt topped with mackerel tartar and a fennel and red onion salad.
This afternoon tea is then simply finished off with an individual verrine topped with a crescent biscuit, a warm scone, Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry preserve and a bath bun with cinnamon butter.
If you have a sweeter palate or want to opt for the more traditional afternoon tea, the Authentic Afternoon Tea (also £37.50 per person) This offers all the same sandwiches as above but rather than getting a plate of savoury minis you get seasonally changing homemade cakes, pastries and sweet delicacies.
If that’s not all they even offer a children’s Afternoon Tea (£19.50 per child) which I think is the sweetest idea. The thought of a little party of children dressed up in posh frocks and polished shoes having a fancy garden tea party makes even me feel gooey and smiling like the Cheshire cat.
My sister opted for the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea and I chose to have the vegetarian one with a copious amounts of earl grey to wash it all down with. I really liked that, if you’re having an afternoon tea with someone you don’t necessarily have to have the same one. Makes life a lot smoother for those with dietary requirements as they also cater for those who are vegan or nut/gluten intolerant as well.
The dainty finger sandwiches I had were filled to the brim of these delectable fillings:
- Avocado, guacamole and mustard leaf.
- Roast red pepper with a basil and lemon hummus.
- Cucumber, dill, black pepper and lime
- And finally it was a little tomato and chutney sandwich.
They were delightful, fresh and different to what you’d usually get with an afternoon tea which I really enjoyed.
The savouries I had included in this afternoon tea were delicious and so different to what I was expecting. Starting from the top item at the back was a bite sized mushroom and truffle sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze. The depth of flavours from the rich umami flavours from the truffle and mushrooms to the sweet, delectable hit from the honey at the end really finished off this little treat. To the right of that was a warm truffle, brie and grape tart. Brie and grape is just a marriage made in perfect food heaven, combine that with a warm, buttery pastry and you’ve got yourself this little bite of happiness. Beneath that is a savoury choux bun, something of which I had never tried before and was really intrigued by. It was filled with a mouthwatering tomato, basil and lemon cream making it such a lovely and delicate light bite. Next from that was a thick slice of cucumber, which had been partially hollowed out and filled with a caraway spiced goat’s curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion. This too was something I had come across nor tried before and was eager to try it for myself. It was refreshingly cool and wonderfully unique to something you’d expect to adorn your plate. I loved the addition of the very on trend charcoal emulsion as well. Last but definitely not least was the saffron and honey yoghurt you can see in the glass jar on the plate. The silky smooth yoghurt was topped with feta cheese, ribbons of red onion and a fennel salad. Before I start to sound like a broken record I can honestly say I’ve never tasted anything like the things I tried here. The amber hued yoghurt had the subtle floral flavours of saffron combined with the saltiness of the feta and the tartness of the red onion it was completely sublime. I don’t think I could have wolfed it down any faster!
A close up shot of the saffron and honey yoghurt pot.
The warm truffle, brie and grape tart in all its glory.
In between the savoury and sweet tiers we had these delightful lime posset verrine’s topped with a crescent biscuit. It was gorgeously creamy and tangy serving as the perfect palate cleanser.
Now moving onto the pinnacle of an afternoon tea, it’s not complete without scones with jam and clotted cream. Their warm scones were perfect, so you can just tear them in two with your hands. Whether you eat your scones with jam and cream or cream and jam; these’ll go down a treat.
If these are new to you as well they are sweet enriched dough buns, studded with sultanas, sprinkled with sugar and a sugar lump placed in the middle.
As you can see the sugar lump hidden inside the bath bun still remains nearly completely intact. These are perfect with lashings of jam and cream or slathered in cinnamon butter.
I absolutely loved my visit to The Royal Crescent Hotel and am definitely thinking about when I’ll next be returning or even sampling some of their main restaurant menu.