Remember when I was back in the summer and made a beeline for a cuppa at Gravetye Manor? Today I decided to treat Ryan to the same British favorite – this time at Alexander House, a luxury spa and hotel in Turners Hill.
We headed to the gorgeous house, which sits at the end of a long gravel driveway, and the doorman led us to a plush living room. There were a few groups already sipping from cups and speaking in hushed tones, so we tip-toed to our seats and checked out the menu.
There’s the option of a champagne afternoon tea, but we chose simple tea instead – and started with a blend of Indian black tea. Then out came the stacks of plates – finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of mini cakes to share. Ryan was keen to tuck in. The sandwiches were good – traditional fillings including cheese and pickle and egg mayonnaise. The cakes were tasty too – a layered chocolate cake, a cream-filled doughnut, a mini eclair and a festive mince pie. They were all appropriately crammed full with cream but after being spoiled at snazzy teas at places including The Berkeley, I couldn’t get too excited about the cakes. They were good but just not that special.
The highlight was the crumbly scones. I’m not sure Ryan fully understood the controversy surrounding the ‘clotted cream or jam first?’ debate that has filled many an hour over a pot of tea. I always reach for the cream first but we did spot a few heathens racing ahead with the jam.
Talking of which – I wasn’t a massive fan of the jam, which was fig, but Ryan loved it. I was lost for an explanation as to why a creative cake is a winner in afternoon tea, yet a traditional jam – strawberry – is a must.Afternoon tea is always a treat and I love its slow pace. Unfortunately the experience at Alexander House was even slower than usual thanks to the absent service.
But Ryan enjoyed it and he definitely left more full than he’d anticipated. It was a great place for him to start – those scones were a particularly good introduction – but next time I’ll have to take him somewhere slightly more exciting.