On my recent trip to Dublin I had the delightful experience of taking afternoon tea at the Westin Hotel, located at College Green.
It really was a delightful tea, served in beautiful surroundings, and made extra-specially wonderful due to the company (Mrs Reid: one of my top choices for a tea companion).
The location was the Atrium Lounge, a serene, first floor courtyard, decorated in calm shades, palm trees, and mixture of oriental and Stubbs-esque art, and covered over by a glass roof, five stories above our heads, for a lovely indoor-outdoor feel.
We didn’t have to book, and the lounge was never more than half-full. We were seated quickly and were able to place our order as soon as we were ready, which was great.
The Westin offer two different afternoon teas: the ‘Traditional Afternoon Tea’ (which we chose), and the ‘Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea’ (which included such oddities as a Scotch Quail Egg with Pickled Cucumber, Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic Jelly, Champagne Marshmallows, crumpets instead of scones, and a Victorian Mojito served in a teapot), and each costs 24 Euros.
The Traditional Tea included the following: 4 sandwiches (cucumber with dill cream cheese, egg and celery cress, roast beef with horseradish and tomato, and salmon, black pepper, lemon, and cream cheese), fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and what was listed as a ‘selection of afternoon tea delights’, and which consisted of a iced cupcake with jam filling, a raspberry macaroon, a mini raspberry pavlova, a tiny lemon curd pie, and a wee chocolate brownie. We were also promised a choice from their selection of their ‘fine leaf teas or gourmet coffees’, and sadly this was where they rather let themselves down, since we were just brought a pot of unnamed black leaf tea. It was a perfectly adequate tea, but it would have been nice to choose.
I only ate two of the four sandwiches (I’m not a fan of egg and cress, or salmon) but the other two were really delicious, especially the beef, horseradish and tomato, which is an unexpected but inspired choice for a tea sandwich.
The scones were delicious, they get bonus points for clotted cream, and the homemade jam was really scrummy.
The cakes were really pretty, and since we each got our own plate we each got to taste them all, rather than going through any awkward ‘which one would you prefer?’ chat, or attempts to chop crumbly meringue in half with a butter knife. Any appearance of macaroons at tea pleases me, but the pavlova and lemon pie were also exceptional. As it happens, by the time I’d made it to that point in the meal I was beyond stuffed, but happily the hotel offered us a cakebox to take home our leftovers.
The staff were a little hard to get hold of on occasion, but at least that meant that they were weren’t constantly bothering us with the ‘Is everything ok?’ questions, and they never did anything to suggest that we get a wriggle on and clear the table. Also, when we asked for more tea our rather dour waiter acquiesced swiftly, if not exactly happily.
The only thing that reduces their score at all was the lack of tea choice. Otherwise: brilliant, 4 stars.
In summary: highly recommended.