Food Review: Afternoon Tea @ Lakeside Tower

Myself and Mr Mess are creatures of habit and if we find a thing or place we like we tend to return to it time and time again.  This means that we sometimes have to make a concerted effort to try new things, whenever the opportunity arises.

One such opportunity came a while back when I spotted an offer on Groupon for an afternoon tea at the King Arthur restaurant at Lakeside Tower in Nottingham.  The offer was for a sparkling afternoon tea for two, discounted down from £33.90 to just £19. As regular readers of A Mess In A Dress will know, I am a HUGE fan of the afternoon tea,  it seemed like this offer was just too good to miss.

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We arrived at Lakeside Tower on Monday afternoon (we decided to leave the kids out of this one so we could really enjoy the experience). The restaurant is situated in an old Victorian Pumping Station (Grade 2 according to the website) and it really is something a bit special.  The architecture is stunning and the gardens are beautifully landscaped to provide the perfect atmosphere for your afternoon tea.

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We were taken to our table and handed a glass of Prosecco, which if I’m honest I wasn’t too keen on but that’s because I like my fizz to taste like pop.  Mr Mess, on the other hand, seemed to have no problem at all finishing both glasses on my behalf.

The afternoon tea itself was brought out very quickly – we certainly weren’t kept hanging around.  I thought the presentation of the tea was lovely – there were a selection of sandwiches, scones and cupcakes all of which looked very appetising.

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We were offered a choice of tea or coffee which was served with the food.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t a variety of teas to choose from (I’m partial to Earl Grey myself) as I consider this a pretty basic component of the traditional afternoon tea.  But hey, tea is tea I suppose.

The sandwiches, if I’m being picky, were a little basic and were no more interesting than the kind of thing I could whip up in my kitchen.  There were cheese and cucumber, ham, chicken and cranberry sauce and smoked salmon.  The Groupon voucher actually advertised egg sandwiches as well, but I didn’t see those myself.  While the sandwiches were tasty and I enjoyed them, some of them appeared to have been produced some time in advance (which would explain the speed of service) and had gone a little soggy.

The scones on the other hand were delicious.  They were really warm (in fact they was steam coming off them when I opened them) which was a HUGE point in their favour.  I smothered mine in cream and jam (which melted slightly which was even better) and could probably have eaten more if offered.  10 out of 10 for the scones!

Finally, we came to the cakes.  There were four different types, which to my very untrained palette seemed to be Victoria Sponge, Chocolate, Lemon and Toffee.  Each cake was beautifully made and tasted really nice – they went down far to easily! If I had any quibbles it would be that I would normally expect an assortment of desserts instead of just cake, so it might have been nice to mix it up a little.  Still, I couldn’t fault the quality of the cake on offer and I know a little Baby Bug who would have been VERY happy with the selection.

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Overall, we had a really nice time and thought the experience was lovely, even if there was slight room for improvement.  The staff were very friendly and welcoming and the ambience was sophisticated.  It’s probably just unfortunate that I’ve been spoiled by some really incredible afternoon teas recently, so my standards are pretty high.  (As my mum says, I’m a snob!)

I probably wouldn’t be willing to pay £39 for two people (that’s about the same as the Chatsworth standard afternoon tea which is superior), but if I saw the Groupon offer I might be tempted to give it another go as a treat for all the family.  The kids would probably love it!

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The tea probably only took 30 mins from start to finish, so we decided to have a little walk around the gardens before heading to collect the kiddies.  The restaurant also provides breakfast, lunch and dinner so I would be interested in trying some of their other menus in the future.  There was also a really large group of diners when we were there, so they are obviously able to cater for larger parties.  Might be nice for a family celebration.

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If you’d like any more information on King Arthur restaurant at Lakeside, you can check out their website.  Or keep your eyes on Groupon for future offers!

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