It is no secret that I love to sample a good afternoon tea. I could quite frankly live on scones and clotted cream, macaroons and copious amounts of strong tea. Add a glass of something fizzy and bubbly and you have all the ingredients for my perfect afternoon. So when the lovely Katie Sayers, the resident food expert at Harvey Nichols Birmingham, asked me if I would like to sample one of their new ‘Riot of Colour’ afternoon teas, I almost did a dance of joy. With my dining partners, hubby Peter and 4 year-old Joe, we took a trip to the Expresso Cafe. Tea, cream and cakes – what could be better on a Saturday afternoon?
The Riot of Colour afternoon tea is a little bit different from other afternoon tea’s I’ve experienced. Introduced to tie in with the food range of the same name now for sale in the Harvey Nichols Food shop, the afternoon tea has been described as ‘fun, fresh and feel good’. The menu consists of a selection of gluten and dairy-free cakes and alcohol free sweet treats, along with a mouth-watering selection of fruit based teas.
To compliment the modern feel of this afternoon tea, it avoids being served on the traditional trolley and stand, and instead looks divine on a hot pink plate. The traditional crust-less sandwich was filled with cucumber, Mascarpone and poppy-seed, and was crisp and delicious (and proved to be Pete’s favourite), whilst there was also green tea smoked salmon, rapeseed and wasabi mayonnaise on rye bread – an open sandwich that was totally flavorsome and my personal favourite: a soft roll with poached chicken and avocado oil pesto.
Of course, an afternoon tea isn’t complete without traditionally English scones, jam and clotted cream. What makes the Riot of Colour stand out is the choice of jam. We had two pots to choose from, so put a different flavour on each half of the scone, Blackcurrant and Lime and Lemon and Fig. I cannot recommend the pots of jam highly enough. Both were sweet with the taste of fruit, but with the tangy zestiness that can only come from citrus. On still warm scones this was an absolute treat.
Cakes and pastries are the piece de resistance of any afternoon tea, and the choices on the Riot of Colour menu are unusual. The orange, polenta and acacia honey cake was fabulous, very light and tasty with just that hint of honey. A hibiscus and rose tea scented macaroon was a real treat, whilst the carrot and coconut cake with coconut oil frosting was judged a total thumbs up by my husband (I detest even the hint of coconut so had to avoid this one.) Left until the very end, the lemon grass and ginger jelly was the perfect palette cleanser.
I chose the Daily Digest tea to accompany my high tea. Containing peppermint, this was a great aid to digestion and was also delicious. I can imagine this would also be really refreshing as a cold drink if kept refrigerated.
Whilst the four-year-old was curious about all the delicious treats, and tried every single cake, he was also rather peckish after a swimming lesson. Chips and nuggets were on the menu, along with ketchup and crusty bread and butter, and, as you can see, it got a total thumbs up from Joe!
For more information and to book, call the Harvey Nichols Birmingham Espresso Café on 0121 616 6000.
With huge thanks to Katie Sayers and all the staff of Harvey Nichols, Birmingham.