Review: Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea

The Scottish Cafรฉ and Restaurant, v337

14:30 (ends 25 August)

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ (Four Star)

Ooh I think I could become a gin lush, if my experience of a G&T at the Scottish Cafรฉ attached to the National Gallery is anything to go by: a glass of Edinburgh gin with ice and – surprise! – a thick slice of ORANGE to complement the orange peel that somehow finds its way into the gin. I really tasted the juniper, and my only problem was that I could have glugged the whole thing down in less than five minutes, which would have meant that I didnโ€™t appreciate the goodies that were on offer in this โ€˜afternoon teaโ€™.

Sandwiches, cheese scone with smoked trout, fruit scone with vanilla cream and mixed berry jam, and four delightfully wee โ€˜cakey thingsโ€™ completed the tower of plates: add a good pot of tea, and off I set… The sandwiches [cream cheese and cucumber, ham with mustardy mayonnaise, and grated cheese with a very flavoursome tomato layer] all had a good solid layer of extremely tasty filling: the bread was okay but perhaps a bit too โ€˜sliced loaf-yโ€™ properly to complement the fillings. The small cheese half scone was topped with some superb smoked trout: I could comfortably have eaten several more!

Sweet things arenโ€™t really my preference – but no-one offers an all-savoury afternoon tea, moreโ€™s the pity. Iโ€™m less fond of fruit scones with cream and jam, preferring a plain scone to complement the toppings – but this scone was vast, broke beautifully, and was both moist and light, and still very slightly warm. The vanilla cream was quite sweet, as was the jam, so I found it preferable to have one or the other with my mouthfuls of scone: those with a sweeter tooth could cheerfully pile both on and enjoy.

There were a couple of very tart but sweet strawberries to cleanse the palate before tackling the Top Four – a delightfully fresh and moist amaretto ball, a macaron which my neighbour was happy to accept when I offered it [I just canโ€™t do macarons, though this one – raspberry and chocolate – looked delightful]. There was a minute tart which had a wonderful rhubarb filling. I left the meringue topping, as I was rapidly reaching the point of no return as far as sugar consumption was concerned, and I wanted to attend fully to the final wee treat – a lovely chocolate and hazelnut sponge with a thick chocolate mousse that was satanically dark and devilishly delicious: the perfect finale to a pretty good tea.

The tea was advertised as โ€˜unlimitedโ€™, but I have a strong suspicion that my second pot was simply made by adding hot water to my original teabag – it had a lot less body and colour than the first pot: but thatโ€™s a relatively minor niggle. What was undeniable was the quality of the gin – alas, only the one glass was on offer…

Mary Woodward