Afternoon Tea at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh: A Review
I visited with two lady-friends on a Sunday afternoon with a plan of spending an afternoon discussing books over tea-time treats – it was our High Tea Book Group session after all. Literature was discussed for a mere 15 minutes, and the rest of our 3-hour stay turned into a social afternoon talking about life and style. We were placed at a corner seat tucked behind some plants near the swinging door of the kitchen. It was supposed to have been a bustling spot but we were hardly bothered by the activity at all. The two waiters for our table were charming, attentive yet discreet. I was not very hungry so one of my friends shared a stand with me. The sandwiches were the classic ones with fresh salmon, honey roast ham, and notably, Scottish beef with red onion marmalade (a winner). The scones sat in the stand from the beginning and were not warm, but I was not very fussed about this; I dove straight for the sweet treats. What a disappointment the mini pavlova was; decorated with whipped cream and raspberries, it looked delicious but black pepper was added within – an experimental dessert by the chef perhaps? The supervisor came over and after I explained the issue, he did not appear to believe me. He took my plate back to the kitchen and returned with the explanation of the chef having tasted it and affirmed it did indeed contain black pepper, and that the meringues were made downstairs and not in their kitchen. What a spiel! He went back and forth to the kitchen a couple more times and then returned with a blueberry muffin which was warm, so presumably made in their premises, but something I did not really want then. The piano, which was situated diagonally to our table sat empty but a harpist played for the whole afternoon. Her music was subtle and created a calm atmosphere in the room. This, along with the sandwiches and company was a highlight, sadly the sweet treats and the staff’s attempts to appease did not suffice.