Spotlight on Afternoon Tea at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
Ladies be warned. This post comes with a health warning. Read on and you are in serious danger of ruining your waistline. In the Spotlight this week, we are thrilled to have a delicious nibble of the stunning afternoon teas at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh and a catch-up with Executive Chef, Craig Hart, who leads the exceptionally talented team behind those inspirational culinary creations.
Sheraton Grand Afternoon Tea – Mad Hatters Menu
Savouries: Smoked salmon, crème fraiche, rye bread, fennel pollen macaron; Humpty Dumpty Scotch egg and Clava brie, rocket & whipped avocado with an olive crumb.
Sweet Treats: White rabbit lemon and vanilla pocket watch; Coffee & chocolate cup; Checker board praline eclairs; Toffee sponge 10/6 hat and a “Drink Me” berry milkshake
But hurry. Don’t be late. This dazzling menu is only available until the end of May 2016.
Seasonal Afternoon Tea Menus
There is no time to rest in the kitchen of the Sheraton Grand. With each new season comes a bright new afternoon tea menu, designed to capture the finest ingredients of nature’s natural larder. In the last year alone we have salivated, dribbled and drooled at their fruity Autumnal Orchard afternoon tea, an Afternoon Bee with vanilla cream and chocolate soil and who can forget the festive fun we had devouring their Christmas afternoon tea.
Let’s Meet Executive Chef, Craig Hart
We have been secret stalkers of Craig Hart and his talented team for quite some time and at long last, we are delighted to meet the man behind these gourmet greats.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did your culinary passion come from and how did you get into the trade?
From a very young age, I always loved cooking and felt at home in a kitchen. At 15 I did two years at what was Lauder College in Dunfermline, before a year’s HNC in professional culinary arts at Telford College in Edinburgh. At Telford I had to find a work placement in a rosetted establishment so I started at Keavil House two days a week which led to a full-time job when I finished college – and I have been working in kitchens ever since! My parents were always a big part of my early inspiration.
We love the outstanding seasonal afternoon tea menus. Where do your get your ideas from?
The seasonal afternoon teas are a collaboration involving our Food & Beverage Manager, myself and our pastry team. We sit down and come up with a concept which is then created into a work of art by our pastry team who – led by Colin Hall – are just phenomenal. Our afternoon tea mantra at One Square is to be different; while the traditional elements such as savoury and sweet, scones and the highest quality tea will always be present, our concepts are innovative and unique. Our current offering is a Mad Hatter’s Tea that runs until the end of May, but past themes have included gin, chocolate, harvest and floral.
Can you describe a typical working day?
It is never the same! I adapt to the needs of the business and who’s in-house. Some days we may have a high-profile breakfast, so I’ll be in early to make sure that goes without a hitch. Other days we’ll have a VIP dinner for 500 in our Edinburgh Suite; an intimate group of four “dining at the pass” in the heart of the kitchen plus a full restaurant with 140 covers! Being Executive Chef of a five-star hotel is never boring, and while it has its pressure points, it’s the best job in the world!
Who are your culinary heroes? Who inspires you?
I have a lot of respect for Raymond Blanc simply because of his sheer passion for food.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to enter the business and train as a chef/pastry chef.
You need to have lots of stamina, not be afraid of hard work, and learn from your mistakes – we all make them but it’s the Chefs that develop and learn along the way that go the furthest.
When you’re not working hard at the Sheraton, and if time travel were possible and money was no object, describe how you would spend your perfect day.
Quite simply to be able to spend a quality day with my wife and young children…a sunny climate would be nice too!
Summer Afternoon Tea at One Square
Don’t tell anyone. We have had a sneaky peak at this Summer’s afternoon tea menu. And what a corker it is. Craig and his team have unlocked the key to “A Tasteful Gin Afternoon Tea”, their most elegant gin afternoon experience to date. Once again, the team showcase a visually stunning display of sweet and savoury delights, served with a No. 3 Gin Cocktail.
The savoury plate entices us with a deliciously diverse range of goodies from poached salmon and dill, pickled fennel & crème fraîche on toasted sourdough bread to red onion and coriander Pakora with a mint & cucumber “Raita” dip.
The pastry collection will not disappoint with a delicate macaron, délice, cheesecake and a crème brûlée, plus a selection of scones in keeping with tradition. The pièce de résistance, however, has to be the show-stopping raspberry and Chantilly cream meringue “swan” that is gracefully positioned atop the pretty afternoon tea stand with the promise of an enchanting feast ahead.
Paying homage to its reputation as one of Edinburgh’s best gin bars, the Chefs have weaved the unique blend of No. 3 Gin botanicals throughout the tea including juniper berries, coriander seed, orange and grapefruit. The overall experience is completed with a refreshing No. 3 Gin Cocktail with homemade cardamom & coriander syrup, orange bitters and fresh pink grapefruit juice, as handcrafted by the Gin Concierge at One Square.
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. This costs £27 per person which includes a No. 3 Gin Cocktail or a choice of enveloped or loose leaf tea, traditionally prepared at the table. For both options there is a surcharge of £3.70.
Our behind the scenes look at the Sheraton Grand only touches on their superb afternoon teas. The mind can only boggle at what’s available for lunch and dinner. (Note to self to check this out).
To book, please call 0131 221 6422 or visit www.OneSquareEdinburgh.co.uk for more details.
Afternoon tea at the Sheraton Grand is served in the vibrant but relaxing surrounds of One Square. With large picture windows and views across Festival Square to the iconic Edinburgh Castle, it’s one of the best views in the city.
One Spa, Edinburgh
If sitting in luxurious surrounds, nibbling tasty treats and sipping soothing cups of tea wasn’t enough, why not go the full round and truly spoil yourself with a pamper session at One Spa. High above the roof tops, release those stresses with an indulgent massage and beauty treatment. Relax in the outdoor infinity edge swimming pool and shimmering hydropool and experience the diverse sensations of the rejuvenating thermal suite. Go on, you know you’re worth it.
Once again – here is the hot line to a fabulous day out. Enjoy. Tel: 0131 221 6422 or visit www.OneSquareEdinburgh.co.uk
TOP TIP: In warm weather it’s worth stepping out on to their expansive terrace to soak up the city atmosphere and enjoy a glass of wine or freshly brewed coffee. If there’s a wee chill in the air, don’t worry. They have your back covered (or knees) with a fine selection of blankets to keep you warm.