If you ask me, Afternoon Tea is a pretty awesome meal. Tea, little sandwiches, scones, cake…yes please to all of those. Mum and I are both fans, so today we decided to head off to Balcony Brasserie in Selfridges to try their Picnic Tea for two (£29).
This afternoon tea comes served on a mini picnic table, complete with gingham table cloth. Full marks for presentation. On that picnic table, each person gets three kinds of sandwiches, each on different kinds of roll (salmon, cucumber and coronation chicken), a scone with jam and clotted cream, two macarons and a lemon cupcake.
The Balcony Brasserie itself is really nice, with lots of booths to sit in, and simple, modern decor. All the staff were friendly, when we were in there, although considering it was quiet, the service was a little slow.
If you’re a coffee drinker, it’s worth noting that you only get one cup as part of the afternoon tea deal. Mum’s a coffee drinker, and while she was disappointed to have to pay for a refill, she did give the coffee itself top marks for tastiness, and was pleased it was served with hot milk on the side. I went for English Breakfast Tea, which came in a really nice teapot, which weighed an absolute tonne! I got three full cups out of it, and there was still more in the pot. Definitely the better deal!
It was a nice touch having all of the sandwiches on different kinds of bread. The rolls were fresh, and crisp and had been warmed through before serving. All the fillings were generous and tasty. Also, om nom salmon. My favourite. The cupcake was light and fluffy, but was only very lightly flavoured. I didn’t realise it was meant to be lemon until I looked at the menu. It was yummy though, with lots of icing. I love macarons, so I’m probably biased, but these were yummy. The ones we had were pistachio with a chocolate filling. Delicious. The scones were beautiful. Obviously freshly baked, and with LOTS of clotted cream, we both really enjoyed these. We did think it was a bit stingy only to give you one mini pot of jam to share though. It was just about about enough for two scones, but having a jar each would be nice.
Overall, we really enjoyed this afternoon tea and give it a definite thumbs up (despite the stingy jam). We liked the restaurant too, and would go back again, either for the afternoon tea, or to order from the regular menu, which looks really nice too. There was one black cloud on it though; the bill comes with a 10% ‘discretionary service charge’ added to it automatically, which is a pet hate of mine. I’ve worked in the service industry, and always tip, but I hate it when the restaurant decides whether I should and how much I should be tipping. Thanks, but I’ll decide for myself whether the service I received was good. It’s also worth noting, that these charges added to your bill often aren’t actually ever seen by the staff, and just go back into the restaurant profit. If you want to tip, leave cash, just to be safe, so the people who have earned it are the ones who get it. Anyone else hate those charges?