Wednesday, 11 November 2015

FOOD | Autumn afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor

Autumn Afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor
Remember at the end of October I posted about 'an Autumn meetup' I'd attended here in Cardiff? Well, inside the lovely goody bag was a voucher for afternoon tea for 2 at the lovely Celtic Manor 5 star resort.

I went along with my mother-in-law a couple weeks ago to sample their Autumn themed afternoon tea.  It's the third time I've been there, each time the theme and food has been different.  The service has always been fantastic, and no matter what day of the week you go, every lunch time their special afternoon tea restaurant gets very busy.

The staff were fantastic with Squidge, he loved them!

Our afternoon tea started off with some warm Winter Pimms which I must admit, was my favourite part of the whole meal - it was absolutely fantastic. 

Warm Winter Pimms

After confirming that I'm vegetarian, they brought out our baskets.  Inside was a pumpkin and rosemary muffin with curried pear chutney (I wasn't a massive fan of this), 2 wild mushroom, tarragon and creme fraiche tartlet (this was gorgeous), and an Y-Fenni Welsh rarebit on toasted onion bread with piccalilli (also lovely).  My mother-in-law had the same, but in place of one of the wild mushroom tartlet's she had a pulled pork mini sub roll.

Harvest hamper
For tea I chose raspberry (which was lovely!)
Raspberry tea

Next we moved onto the sandwiches.  I think the staff got a little confused here... we'd asked for a couple extra finger sandwiches for Squidge (literally 2 sticks would have been fine), but asked that they don't give him any smoked salmon as he can't have that.  Obviously I couldn't either being vegetarian, but my mother-in-law could and was looking forward to it.

But when they turned up, they'd missed off the smoked salmon and replaced it with egg mayonnaise instead.  We could have said something and I'm sure they would have fixed it immediately, but after a little wait for these (they were getting busy) we decided to just continue.  Instead of bringing out a couple fingers of sandwich for Squidge, they brought an entire plate that doubled up our sandwiches! Lovely, but more than we could eat, and most definitely more than Squidge could eat!

The sandwiches were nice, but would have been nicer on home made bread (forgive me if they were on home-made bread, they just didn't taste or feel like it).  Inside was egg mayo, chicken & stuffing and Caerphilly cheese with spiced tomato chutney - strangely though it didn't taste like Caerphilly, it tasted more like mature cheddar, which is fine by me, I much prefer that!  It also would have been nice if they'd separated out the meat-eater sandwiches from the vegetarian ones, instead of giving us what looked like 2 identical servings just without smoked salmon (not sure if they forgot about me being vegetarian).

Finger sandwiches

Next onto the cakes! I really, really loved ALL of these and yes, I ate all mine!  All together there was a lemon, raspberry and coconut madeline, a ginger and candied pineapple layer cake, a chocolate and orange shortbread, a date, walnut and caramel cupcake (holy moly that was nice!) and a prune, armagnac tartlet with white chocolate and cinnamon crumble (also delightful).

Hand-made cakes and pastries

Last but not least, to finish they had stunning warm cherry bakewell scones.  By this point we were stuffed, so we made them up and put them in a box to take home (psst, it was delicious!).
Cherry bakewell scones

As we left the restaurant and walked out towards the entrance, Squidge noticed some bronze figures of children playing and we couldn't keep him away! It was the cutest thing!

Squidge playing with bronze children
Squidge playing with a bronze little girl

All together a lovely afternoon tea, but not the best I've had from them.  If this was a £15 afternoon tea I'd have been perfectly content, but considering it's £24 off peak (Mon-Thurs) and £32 Fri-Sun, I expect complete and utter perfection - it's a 5-star resort after all.  The first time I went there that's exactly what we had, perfection - but the previous 2 occasions haven't been quite on pointe.

Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful afternoon tea with fantastic service in a lovely setting, I would definitely go there again, but I might leave it a little while first :)
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*Afternoon tea was complimentary for review

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