I love a good afternoon tea. There’s something rather special about sitting down to a cake stand layered with bite-sized sandwiches, scones and patisseries, accompanied by a pot of tea (and, preferably, a glass of champagne). Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or just a celebratory treat, afternoon is the perfect little luxury.
Recently, I was invited along to the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian – to try out their new summer afternoon tea. The seasonal afternoon tea is themed around summer berries and chocolate, and it’s served in the beautiful surroundings of Peacock Alley.
Afternoon Tea at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
As we arrived, we were greeted with a glass of crisp champagne to sip as we perused the menu. The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh has over 40 different teas to choose from, ranging from traditional breakfast tea to herbal infusions. I’m not much of a tea drinker, but I opted for the Wild Berries tea to compliment the summer berry flavours of the food, and it was lovely.
It wasn’t long before the cake stands were brought out, laden with sweet and savoury treats. I started off with the savoury layer (of course…) and tucked into classic cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, smoked salmon brioche rolls, tandoori chicken wraps, roast beef and red onion open sandwiches, black pepper cheddar on crisp breads and blue cheese, pear and dark chocolate tarts. And that’s just the first lot!
After taking plenty of time to chat, drink tea and nibble away at the last of the sandwiches, I moved onto scones and sweet stuff. The scones – which included plain and chocolate chip varieties – were perfectly soft and crumbly inside, and were delicious with traditional clotted cream and strawberry jam. There were too many amazing cakes and patisseries to name them all, but look out for the redcurrant choux buns, strawberry tarts, and raspberry and blueberry cupcakes, each laced with the finest Scottish summer fruits sourced from Blacketyside Farm in Fife. The white chocolate and strawberry dome, handcrafted by the Hotel’s Executive Chef Ryan McFarlane, was the piece de resistance on top tier of the stand.
As if that wasn’t enough, the summer afternoon tea also includes a chocolate fountain! Choose your favourite accompaniments – including strawberries, marshmallows and chocolate brownie pieces – and dip them in the molten chocolate before taking them back to your table to enjoy with another cup of tea.
Dining in Peacock Alley
Every Waldorf Astoria has its own version of Peacock Alley, and Edinburgh’s is located in a beautiful indoor courtyard. The Caledonian used to be a station hotel and you can still see remnants of the old ticket offices and waiting rooms that would have stood beside the railway platform. The space is bright, airy and peaceful with a little touch of luxury, so it’s the perfect setting for an indulgent afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea is served in the plush surroundings of Peacock Alley from 12pm to 5pm (6pm at the weekends), and there’s also an all-day menu with everything from breakfast to evening cocktails. I’d definitely recommend the full afternoon tea, but if you’re not quite peckish enough for that (believe me, there’s a lot of food!), opt for a glass of champagne, a pot of tea and slice of cake.
Worth a Visit?
If you’re looking for a delicious, indulgent and extra special afternoon tea, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh’s is one of the best I’ve tried. Everything about the summer afternoon tea was memorable – from the beautiful Peacock Alley setting to the friendly service of the staff and, of course, the cakes and sandwiches themselves.
The summer afternoon tea starts from £35 (or £45 with champagne), and I think it’s worth every penny, particularly if you’re celebrating a special occasion. You get a lot of food for your money. It seemed like as soon as we had finished one tier, it was replaced with another one! If you find yourself struggling to finish the last few cakes, the staff are more than happy to box them up for you to enjoy at home later.
Have you visited the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian for afternoon tea before?