This Summer the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa have unlocked the key to “A Tasteful Gin Afternoon Tea”. Newly launched for Summer 2016 word was quickly spreading in Edinburgh’s high heeled streets about this exquisite dining experience. We simply had to try it for ourselves.
On a hot Summer’s day, we escaped the bustling Saturday shoppers of vibrant Princes Street and stepped into a cool and inviting oasis of calm in the Sheraton Grand’s elegant and stylish One Square. Greeted by a friendly smile, we were warmly welcomed and quickly shown to our table. And so the show began.
A silver service table setting greeted us with a No 3 key neatly tucked into our crisp, clean napkin, with the promise of unlocking a wonderful afternoon’s fine dining experience. And we weren’t disappointed. Our waiter arrived with a trolly bedecked with the aromatic ingredients to prepare a No. 3 London Gin Cocktail – a delicious blend of cardamom and coriander syrup, orange bitters and fresh pink grapefruit juice. Shaken and not stirred, he poured us two decadent pale pink cocktails which were refreshing and definitely more-ish. This was followed by a light palate cleanser, a shot size glass of rhubarb and strawberry jelly, topped with juniper foam and sprinklings of chocolate. A delicious appetite teaser.
Having wheted our appetite we were next offered a beautifully presented 3 tiered cake stand laden with an eye-catching display of savoury and sweet treats. On the lower tier was a mouthwatering selection of bite size savoury delicacies. First to taste was the red onion and coriander Pakora served with a mint and cucumber Raita dip on a silver spoon. With a delicate tickle, this left a delicious taste in my mouth. The poached salmon with orange and dill, pickled fennel and creme fraiche on toasted sourdough was a refreshing light bite and the confit Gressingham duck, juniper and tomato jam with wild rocket salad on brioche had to be my personal favourite. However, my companion loved the Swiss roulade of Ayrshire ham, cheese & spinach on wholemeal bread.
Renowned for my sweet tooth, I simply didn’t know where to start with the outstanding selection of sweet treats before my eyes. And who could blame me with a choice of pink grapefruit & white chocolate délice, orange & lemon Battenberg cake, coffee & juniper macaron served with a pipette of orange syrup to squeeze or dribble on top of your macaron, Perthshire strawberry cheesecake, Scottish raspberry and chantilly cream meringue swans and rosemary crème brûlée. Crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts and hand on heart, I can say that this rich, creamy brûlée was the best I have ever tasted.
No afternoon tea would be complete without a traditional selection of freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and a sweet confit. The Sheraton Grand’s pastry team had created a tantalising trio of citrus & vanilla, white chocolate and orange and traditional plain scones. And, of course, it would have been rude not to have tried them all. These were served with a homemade blueberry jam.
The attentive but discreet staff were on hand throughout our dining experience and knowledgeable of all the flavours, combinations and selections available. The relaxed and comfortable surrounds gave the perfect opportunity to simply take time out and unwind. Something, I think we’re all entitled to every now and again.
The No. 3 Gin Afternoon Tea is served, daily, in One Square from 01 June to 31 August 2016, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. At a cost of £27 per person this includes a No. 3 Gin Cocktail or a choice of enveloped or loose leaf tea, traditionally prepared at the table.
It goes without saying that advance booking is essential. Go on, spoil yourself.
See for yourself and visit Afternoon Tea at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa.