During my Mum’s Birthday Weekend in Birmingham at the start of the month, we went for afternoon tea at Hotel La Tour to end a weekend of fab celebrations. It’s been at the top of my list of places to visit for afternoon tea in Birmingham for as long as I can remember, so my Mum’s birthday seemed like the perfect excuse to finally visit!
Hotel La Tour update their afternoon tea menu seasonally, and even do a special Christmas themed one too. So I contacted them beforehand to ask for a copy of their current menu which they were more than happy to supply; they also mentioned that they can meet any dietary requirements needed too and were keen throughout the booking process to make sure we had the best experience possible with every aspect. It was a great start to the service and experience you receive at Hotel La Tour, which only continued on the day when we visited.
The venue is so glamorous and stylish, from the spiral staircase that takes you up to the bar area to the sleek bar and dining area. The atmosphere was great too when we went on the Sunday afternoon – it felt sophisticated, but relaxed and welcoming too. We were seated in the comfiest big red chairs, and I could have happily sat there all day watching the world go by and grazing on our afternoon tea. I definitely wanted to take one home for my room by the end of our visit!
To start we were given the choice of 6 different teas (from the Twinnings Whole Leaf Silk Pyramid Range) – English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Honeycomb & Camomile, Red Berry Fool, Jasmine Pearl, or Mint Humbug. We went down the traditional route (if not only because I’m a newbie tea drinker) and ordered the English Breakfast tea, although we did have the choice to order a different pot of tea each if we wanted to which is an option I’ve never had before. Although the tea was nice, the service was quite slow with it and we didn’t receive it until after we’d eaten both the sandwiches and Welsh rarebit dippers! At this point we were also given the option to order any extras too, like the Lemon Curd Bellini for £7.50 or a glass of champers for £9.50. As we had driven in, we declined on this occasion but I’ll definitely be returning to Hotel La Tour soon to try some of their cocktails.
When the afternoon tea arrived, we both thought it looked almost too good to eat! Although it appeared to be a squeeze getting each plate onto the tray (we were told they normally use a taller one that fits it all in better), it was so visually appealing that we just couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
To start we had 4 types of Homemade Finger Sandwiches – Coronation Chicken, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Ham & Tomato, and Cucumber. They were all neatly cut and presented, with soft bread and plenty of filling. My favourite was the coronation chicken which was so tasty and creamy, with a gentle spice in the background. The ham and tomato also stood out with the addition of a wholegrain mustard mayonnaise too which added extra flavour.
As an added extra at Hotel La Tour we also had a second savoury item of Welsh Rarebit and Soldiers – crispy toasted bread fingers with the most delicious, moreish cheese dip. It was indulgently creamy and rich, and just utterly addictive! It was a creative twist on a classic and a fantastic addition to the afternoon tea, making it stand out above other afternoon teas that I’ve had in the past.
The Fresh Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream arrived with two smaller scones to enjoy each, with 1 fruit and 1 plain. I had both of the fruit scones and they were just amazing. Buttery, crumbly and scrummy, with plenty of clotted cream and strawberry jam to share between us. They were my favourite things from the afternoon tea, with the Welsh Rarebit coming in at a close 2nd!
For the dessert plate, we each had four dainty delights to indulge on which all looked fantastic. I loved that each item was an actual dessert in itself, handcrafted and expertly made by their exceptionally talented pastry chef, rather than the usual bob-standard cake and brownie that can be found on every other afternoon tea I’ve come across. The star of the desserts for me went to the Lime & Thyme Tartlet with Lime Jelly which was just heavenly! The pastry was just perfect and so crisp (I’ve never had pastry this good before and wow was I impressed!), and this encased a deliciously zesty lime curd. Add in cubes of lime jelly that just melted in your mouth, and you’ve got yourself one of the tastiest little desserts I’ve had in a long time.
Although the Strawberry Panna Cotta with Chantilly Cream and Basil was visually appealing, I’m not a huge fan of pannacotta and regrettably it just isn’t a dessert that I like. However my mum really enjoyed it and finished both of ours off. I was also undecided on the Peach and Apricot Delice, which had a yummy cakey base and creamy texture but lacked flavour; it didn’t blow me away as I’d hoped, and as I was quite full by this point I only ate a little bit of it.
I couldn’t have anything with chocolate in it, so as a replacement for the Rosewater Macaroon with White Chocolate and Raspberry Granache (which my Mum promised me was absolutely delicious!) I was given a Strawberry and Cream Shortcake instead. The biscuit was buttery and sweet, coated in just the right amount of sugar, and with a generous dollop of clotted cream (hallelujah for more clotted cream!!) and sliced strawberry on top.
It’s the little added extras and finer details that made Hotel La Tour’s afternoon tea stand above others that I’ve had before. It was undoubtedly the best afternoon tea I’ve ever had as the quality of each and every item was just first class! For only £19.95 per person, I thought it was excellent value for money as we got plenty of fantastic sandwiches, scones and desserts each to enjoy. The service was friendly too and we felt welcomed into this glamorous hotel, making for a enjoyable and relaxed afternoon with the best food. I’m keen to go back soon to try their cocktails, evening menu and especially their Chef’s Table!
Disclosure: We paid for my own afternoon tea, and all opinions expressed are honest and my own