When you picture yourself having afternoon tea do you imagine somewhere luxurious and stylish but relaxed and cosy? Yes? Me too.
Which is why I was delighted to be invited to the first ever Laura Ashley Tea Room, which, as you can imagine was all the above. A perfect combination of luxury interiors and seriously delicious food.
And luckily for me it opened in Solihull, at The Regency Hotel, just 5 minutes down the road from where I live. Bonus.
After walking through the red, grand-looking front door you’re greeted with a dreamy, elegant interior. Relaxing tones of cream, white and dove grey as far as the eye can see, all signature Laura Ashley style – the table cloths, napkins, dinnerware, carpet, even the wall paper and chandeliers can all be purchased online. A perfect, relaxing haven where you can spend a delightful afternoon sipping tea and eating cakes.
If, like me, you’re a bit obsessed with different flavoured teas, you’ll be instantly impressed with the loose tea collection on the menu. There are 12 different flavours to choose from including Ginger & Lemongrass, Jasmine Tea Pearls, Green Tea & Peach, Red Berry & Flower, Peppermint, Chia, Earl Grey and of course English Breakfast.
Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £20 and includes a refillable pot of tea (per person) and a three-tier cake stand ladened with sandwiches, scones and cakes. For an extra £6 you can add a glass of Prosecco or for an extra £7.50 a glass of champagne.
After being shown to our table I ordered a pot of Ginger & Lemongrass tea and my friend Katie chose Red Berry & Flower. Mine was really fresh, the ginger gave it a very subtle spice and the lemongrass was uplifting and tangy, a perfect combination. (I’m planning to order some online direct from Birchall Tea, yep, it was that good!).
To start with our waitress brought an amuse bouche – a carrot and mint tea velouté.
This was quickly followed by delicious savoury cones filled with beetroot mousse and topped with a goat cheese ball (very tasty) and homemade brioche with chicken liver parfait and shallot chutney.
We were very excited when our cake stand arrived, it was an indulgence of colour.
On the bottom layer there was four scones, two fruit, two plain and a generous portion of Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The second layer was full of freshly made sandwiches; smoked salmon and dill, free range egg mayonnaise, cucumber & cream cheese and ham & mustard.
The top layer was a feast for your eyes as well as your belly. A collection of devilishly appealing treats. Dense coffee and walnut cake, a rich, indulgent dark chocolate delice, bright coral macarons and a fabulous Laura Ashley pudding – a light, red berry mousse on a rich, sweet biscuit base with edible flowers!
It’s a challenge to finish just half of the cakes on the top tier, but fear not, you are able to take your left overs home in a very cute Laura Ashley take away box.
We really enjoyed our afternoon tea experience at the first Laura Ashley Tea Room in the UK, which opened in Solihull. A perfect way to spend a few hours, sipping tea, chatting to friends and enjoying a very tranquil, relaxing atmosphere.
The venue is bright and airy and the twinkling glass chandeliers and statement mirrors dotted around the tea room bring a gentle touch of elegance and luxury.
The only thing you need to worry about is how to stack up your scones. Should you add the jam first or the cream? I’ve always been a jam and then lashings of cream kinda girl. But some of my friends like to put the cream first. Surely not?
What about you? Jam or cream first?
Disclaimer: I was invited by Laura Ashley to the opening of The Tea Room for enjoy a Traditional Afternoon Tea. They didn’t ask me to write a review or a blog post but I thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to.