Nearly two years having passed since my last luxuriously priced afternoon tea, I was starting to crave finger sandwiches and tiers of cakes.
Thus a recent Sunday saw us heading down to the nearby upmarket Pennyhill Park. We eschewed valet parking and made our way into the very grand building, seeking directions en route.
Soon we were seated at a window table overlooking the swimming pool below. It was a sunny day so various undoubtedly rich guests were bronzing gently and occasionally slipping into the pool to swim a few languorous strokes.
There were a few different afternoon teas on offer, mainly depending on whether you wanted alcohol or not.
We ordered the standard afternoon tea, which was just under £30 a head. Not cheap. But it is a lot of food. I had a hot chocolate while H had a fancy tea that cost extra.
A 4 tier stand arrived with sandwiches, scones and two plates of cakes. The sandwiches were pleasant but uninspiring – let’s say traditional. Egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, chicken and cucumber. All nice fresh bread with the crusts cut off, of course. We’d just finished the savoury layer and were eying the scones thoughtfully when the waitress swished up with another plate of sandwiches. Same again, but unexpected. I realised then it was highly unlikely I would finish.
The scones were brilliant. Tall with shiny tops, a fruity compote and clotted cream, there were two plain and two fruited. And of course there were the cakes.
On the second layer down from the top you can see what I believe was a chocolate/cherry/pistachio sponge and something which tasted quite almondy and was very crumbly. The waitress did introduce all the items when she delivered them, but I failed to register what everything was.
The top tier had the fanciest cakes. The one you can’t really see in the photo was the plainest: a lemon tart, hiding behind the giant macaron (with its own pipette of raspberry sauce) and the chocolate nut mousse confection. All three were good, though I wished I had started with them as I was far to full by this point to really appreciate them. The pipette was quite tricky to inject into the macaron, but it was a nice sharp sauce which I always appreciate with raspberry.
It seems to be the place to go for birthdays, as during our visit (around 2 hours) we heard 6 renditions of Happy Birthday, including 2 on the harp. Yep, there was a harpist. He turned up partway through and plucked and strummed an interesting mix of songs, including some pop hits, which managed to sound very sophisticated rendered on a harp.
I’d like to go back to Pennyhill Park to go to Michael Wignall at The Latymer, but I think I’ll try a few more afternoon teas elsewhere, as my world was more gently swayed than rocked by this particular one.