Friday, 29 March 2013

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Crewe Hall, Crewe


Last Monday the Afternoon Tea Club were invited to sample high tea at one of the UK's top venues - Crewe Hall. With its beautiful views and exquisite Jacobean interior, this was certainly an experience that we won't be forgetting in a hurry!

Crewe Hall

Environment

Caroline: 
The expansive landscapes and quintessentially English exteriors of Crewe Hall, combine to create the perfect Afternoon Tea setting. Located on its own estate, just ten minutes away from Crewe town centre, this Jacobean manor house has an extraordinary historical background, which will engage even the most passive of historians, with previous visitors including her Majesty the Queen and Charles Dickens. However, if the celebrity-factor doesn’t do it for you, the Hall’s interior certainly will, with beautiful period features and stained glass windows running throughout to create a luxurious environment.

The Sheridan lounge, where tea is served, is wonderfully lavish with beautiful ornate turquoise ceilings and rich furnishings, working together to create a lovely vibrant feel. The room itself is light and airy, with large windows allowing for an abundance of natural light, whilst the presence of potted plants, offers a freshness which really enhanses the environment wonderfully.

The Sheridan Lounge

Laura: 
Steeped in history dating all the way to back to Doomsday 1086, Crewe Hall is the epitome of Great British grandeur. Arriving from its private approach road, this stately building set amongst vast greenery, is an absolutely breath taking fete of architecture.
Before it’s time for tea there is a lot to explore in the former Jacobean Hall. Take a wander through the hallway to admire the giant library, stunning stained glass windows and the many ornate fire places, all with their own unique story to tell.

The Full Tea

When it’s time for an afternoon treat, The Sheridan Lounge is where the real magic happens. This utterly luxurious tea room is presented to perfection with deep tones of plum, chocolate and turquoise. Its modern colour scheme works beautifully amongst the traditional setting of vintage tea room equipped with leather seating you would envisage in a decadent lounge from a bygone era of complete class. 
I loved the huge windows and incredibly detailed carvings found on the far wall and above the fireplace -  there literally isn’t an inch of this place that doesn’t come with a story. Just gorgeous.
Scones

Food

Caroline: 
Crewe Hall’s Afternoon Tea is everything that it ought to be: elegant, sophisticated and delicious. Dominating the table with its substantial height and impressive selection of treats, this tea is an absolute delight for the eyes and palate.
 
The menu itself is executed to perfection and offers a good selection of traditional classics, including: Finger Sandwiches (Coronation Chicken, Cucumber and Crème Fresh, Ham and Mustard, and Salmon) Warm Scones (fruit and plain) with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream, and a selection if Cakey Treats (Chocolate Macaroons, Fruity Manchester Tart, Orange Gateaux and Chocolate Éclair) 

Afternoon Tea

The standard throughout the selection is consistently high, with all sandwiches being freshly prepared to order - an element which, although small, was greatly appreciated (too often do we come across sandwiches which are pre-made and a little dry!) - my favourite of these had to be the Coronation Chicken which I’ve never experienced before in an afternoon tea, but which I greatly enjoyed and thought made for a nice contrast alongside the other staple classics. My favourite from the cake tier had to be the Chocolate Macaroon, which was lovely and rich without being at all overpowering, whilst the Manchester Tart offered a nice contrast with light and fruity flavours.

With champagne, special loose leaf teas and a food selection to die for, you can’t really go wrong with Afternoon Tea at Crewe Hall.

Timed Tea

Laura:
My eyes lit up when our afternoon feast arrived at the table. Laid out on a gorgeous three tier stand with an endless supply of fabulous Twining’s tea, I knew we were in for an amazing afternoon.
Freshly prepared in Crewe Hall’s Victorian kitchen, our luxury Champagne Tea began with a refreshing glass of orange juice and a selection of teas to impress the most enthusiastic of tea lovers.
I opted for the intriguingly named Russian Caravan –a smoky blend which I’m told was transported in caravans when the tea was first brought from India to Europe. The tea was lovely with and without milk and made a pleasant change to my usual cup of coffee. Plus it was great to get a real tea experience with sand timers to ensure our drinks were brewed to 3 minute perfection!
The Cakes

The range of finger sandwiches was excellent. Traditional fillings but with a distinctive accompaniments that although subtle, made a huge difference. We were served cucumber with mint, Coronation chicken, salmon and ham and mustard. My favourite was the salmon – fresh and the bread was super soft, something that is normally very easy to get wrong – impressive!

Next up and the staple of afternoon tea – scones with jam and cream. I loved that we were given 2 of each variety, plain and fruit filled. It has to be said that these were some of the best looking scones we have ever had, brown and glossy on top and lashings of jam and cream to accompany. I particularly loved the jam and cream serving dishes as they were set aside from the main tier which made them very easy to dish out between the two of us!
The selection of cakes was tremendously generous and included chocolate macaroons, Manchester tart, orange praline gateaux and chocolate éclair. The desserts complemented each other wonderfully with a good mix of textures and flavours – a real treat for the self-confessed sweet tooth like myself!
This afternoon tea is one of complete indulgence and if like me, you find yourself defeated by this lavish cake selection, don’t worry as the lovely staff will box up any leftover goodies for you to enjoy at home – or if you’re anything like me and couldn’t wait – on the train home!

Tea Time

Service

Caroline:
We’ve had first rate service before, but nothing that quite compares to that on offer at Crewe Hall. From the lovely ladies and gents on reception, to the tea experts in the Sheridan Lounge, everyone at this hotel has a role to play and all play it exceedingly well. The commitment and enthusiasm from all staff towards their hotel is commendable, with absolutely no request being too much, as they strive for the excellence synonymous with high class dining.

Special mention must go to the Hotel’s Tea experts whose product knowledge was exceptional - Not only did they have exacting information about all of the blends available, but were also able to offer an interesting anecdote for each - I particularly enjoyed the story behind the ‘Russian Caravan’ Tea.

All in all brilliant service!

Champagne

Laura:
Passionate staff give Crewe Hall the upper hand – these guys really know their tea! The staff were extremely knowledgeable on the various tea options available and had extensive knowledge on the history of the hotel. Their appetite for great service was undeniably genuine and their warm personalities made this all the better. Special thanks must go to Kyle who was kind enough to give us a tour of the historic building and was incredibly attentive to our tea needs.

Overall Thoughts

Caroline:
It’s easy to see why Crewe Hall was recently voted by the AA as one of the top ten afternoon tea venues in the UK. Not only does it offer a perfect experience, but it does so with such ease and sophistication, as to make you feel truly at home. It is perhaps the most authentic afternoon tea experience which we have encountered so far and I would not hesitate to return again in the future.



Laura:

My favourite afternoon tea so far. With a great selection of cakes and the best tea selection yet, it puts you under a tea spell and makes you feel as special as the building itself.
The thriving yet sophisticated Sheridan Lounge has a wonderful atmosphere and brings a whole new lease of life to this longstanding afternoon tradition.
Beautifully luxurious and frequented by Royals for many generations – Crewe Hall is a must try and definitely gets our seal of approval. 
Cupcake Rating:

 






And the Golden Cupcake...











Crewe Hall is located on Weston Road Crewe. Afternoon Tea Prices start from £20.50 and are served daily from 12pm - 5pm. For more information, menus and how to book a table please visit their website HERE 


DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.  
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6 comments

  1. This looks just my kind of place ... a pity I'd have to travel from deepest Devon to get there! I would love to sample Russian Caravan, what an exotic name that is ... and those cakes look so scrumptious!
    Margaret P

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    Replies
    1. It really is fabulous - well worth a trip! (Plus it's a hotel so you can stay over night) :)

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  2. Do you know, lovely tea girls, that scones on afternoon tea should not be cracked. I made scones at Pennyhill Park for afternoon tea (one of my jobs in the patisserie), and my goal was always to make perfect scones, inside and out. Including no cracking, which happens when you add sugar too early, and it steals water from the liquids. I think you should be more judgemental on your scone reviews. And don't get me started on the Sketch sweets (great place to have tea, but the pastries could be better presented).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't know that - thanks for the tip!
      We'll have to reevaluate some of our scone judgements now. If you have any other tips about what makes for the perfect Afternoon Tea then we'd love to hear :)

      Delete
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  4. I start developing a fear of heights when I climb all the way up to those high balconies in some places, where figures down under look like tiny microscopic dots that certainly don't have any faces. But I like here.
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