Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea
The Scottish Café and Restaurant, v337
14:30 (ends 25 August)
🌟🌟🌟🌟 (Four Star)
Ooh I think I could become a gin lush, if my experience of a G&T at the Scottish Café 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 didn’t appreciate the goodies that were on offer in this ‘afternoon tea’.
Sandwiches, cheese scone with smoked trout, fruit scone with vanilla cream and mixed berry jam, and four delightfully wee ‘cakey things’ 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 ‘sliced loaf-y’ 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 aren’t really my preference – but no-one offers an all-savoury afternoon tea, more’s the pity. I’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 can’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 ‘unlimited’, 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 that’s a relatively minor niggle. What was undeniable was the quality of the gin – alas, only the one glass was on offer…