Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Afternoon Tea at The Mount Royale Hotel, York


If you're heading into York for the day, you'd be forgiven for hopping off the train, heading straight into town for a wander through the Shambles and stopping along the way at a famous tea room. However, set your afternoon tea sights a little further and we promise, you will be glad you did, as we discovered last week when we were invited along to The Mount Royale, an independent hotel just a 10-minute stroll away from York Station, with an afternoon tea offering that should definitely be on your radar.


Pastel perfection awaits you inside OXO's on the Mount where its Royal Tea menu is served by appointment only in a lounge style setting that opens up right onto the hotel's impressive gardens. Created by the talented Karen Oxtoby, this afternoon tea is a beautiful blend of colour, flavour and design, filled with countless little details that make this a truly unique offering in a city that is already spoilt for choice when it comes to tea and cake.


To start, presented on a separate serving dish are a range of finger sandwiches with a good selection of breads and fillings including ham and tomato, creamy coronation chicken, tuna and cucumber, egg mayo, and cheese an onion. There is even a cute candy-striped bag of salted crisps to accompany. Hands down our favourite was the coronation chicken, but there are enough flavours to satisfy even the fussiest of palettes - though a couple did only have one of each, so you might have to fight it out!


Next up, the epicentre of any good afternoon tea - the scones. Not only did they look exquisite, perfectly proportioned and homemade with a dusting of sugar on top, the taste test definitely lived up to our high expectations. A very generous helping of jam and cream meant we could layer up on the good stuff to our heart's content and the personalisation of The Mount Royale's locally sourced branded strawberry jam really added that extra touch. However, don't go to overboard, as the best is yet to come.


Served on a two-tier floral stand, the sweet selection is so pretty and thoughtful, you almost feel bad for eating it. But the guilt lasts for all of two seconds when you tuck into this medley of afternoon tea classics and contemporary flavours. Are you a fan of peanut butter? Passionfruit? Amaretto? Take your pick, it's all here. 


The traditionalists out there may deem this array of flavour to be a little OTT, and on another occasion, we might be inclined to agree, but here it works and care has been taken to ensure each piece feels special. The selection includes macaroons, sugar cookies, battenburg, eton mess, mini cupcakes, meringue, and even a milkshake, served in a small bottle coated in rainbow coloured hundreds and thousands, to wash it down. Whether it's the gold dusting, marble effect fondant, or coloured tissue paper parcels, you simply cannot fault the attention to detail and for £19.95 per person (£26.95 with champagne), it's an absolute steal. 


To top it off, we each had substantial pots of breakfast tea and coffee paired with delicate mismatched teacups and saucers. For the tea connoisseurs out there, it might be good to have a tea menu for guests to choose from, particularly for those wanting to be a little more adventurous but for us, it was hardly a deal breaker.


Overall, we loved our time at The Mount Royale. The setting was relaxed, the sun was shining, and the afternoon tea was a real treat. More people need to know about this place. If you're planning a visit to York any time soon and looking for something a little special, this is where you need to be.  


For more information and to book visit: http://www.mountroyale.co.uk/

We were kindly provided with a complimentary tea for review, but as usual, all thoughts and opinions are very much our own!

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Sunday, 20 January 2019

January Tea-Tox Guide


We’re just a few weeks into the new year and if you’re anything like us, you’ve just about finished off the mountain of chocolate you collected from various relatives and friends over the Christmas period and never want to see another Pringle again. So, that means it's the perfect time to start that detox you’ve been talking about but putting off since January 1st (you're not alone!). We’ve been trying out some healthy tea products that could give your detox the kickstart it needs and get you feeling re-energised. Time for a tea-tox!



JING Tea

Matcha, the traditional ceremonial Japanese green tea, has been hailed as somewhat of a super tea and with plenty of celebs and fitness influencers spotted sipping the stuff all over Instagram, it’s also become pretty fashionable. Health benefits and Insta-cred? Count us in. We’ve tried a fair few matcha teas in the past but found that often, we just didn’t have time for the full matcha experience. However, JING Tea has launched a new single-origin Matcha Japanese Green Tea sourced directly from a garden in Kagoshima, Japan, and matching Matcha Shaker, which allows you to enjoy matcha on-to-go. Simply pop in the matcha powder, add water, give it a shake and it’s ready. We fully recommend trying this matcha cold - full of antioxidants, super easy and refreshing.

JING Matcha Green Tea (30g) (£24) and JING Matcha Shaker (£30) available from https://jingtea.com


Matcha NOW

Speaking of tea on the go, Matcha NOW, offers a slightly different matcha experience. Packed with 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, Matcha NOW claims to deliver the potency and benefits which can be lost in premixed matcha. It comes served in a handy water bottle with special twisty cap, which releases fresh matcha into chilled purified water, right when you need a boost - ideal for carrying with you to the office or post-workout. We tried a few different flavours including ginger and turmeric, peppermint and 100% pure matcha. The ginger is incredibly powerful so certainly wakes you up, however our favourite had to be the classic flavour - great taste and just a really simple way to try matcha. Plus, for a bonus feel-good factor, Matcha NOW has just launched its #IQuitCoffee campaign and is donating 5% of all profits to the mental healthy charity, Mind.

From £2.99 each at https://www.matchanow.co.uk




Indigo Herbs

If loose leaf tea is more your style, Glastonbury-based Indigo Herbs offers a purifying Super Cleanse Tea made from pure botanical ingredients including fennel, liquorice and ginger. If you’ve been hammering the caffeine and feel a little sluggish, this tea is said to help you recover from the effects of those nasty toxins. Just pop a couple of teaspoons into a pot, leave it to brew for around 10 mins and let the natural ingredients do their job. It smells incredible and has a great sweet taste with an aniseed kick. Ideal for relaxing at home and boosting your detox diet. 

Available for £3.99 (50g) from https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk





OMGTea

If you’re looking for another easy way to try healthy matcha tea, OMGTea has created new single serve sachets of its Great Taste award-winning organic Japanese matcha. These are perfect for enjoying matcha at the office or even on your travels. Serve hot by mixing the powder and 80℃ water into a paste before topping with more water and whisking until frothy to deliver a rich, sweet flavour. Or try it cold by popping one sachet into a bottle with chilled water and shaking thoroughly - easy! For tea-tox points, OMGTea says the tea can help to burn calories and increase your energy levels.

Available in packs of 14 for £14.95 from https://omgteas.co.uk

Are you doing a January tea-tox? Let us know which teas you’re trying in the comments or on social @TeacupReview!
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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Evening Tea at The Midland, Manchester



Afternoons full of tea and cake are the best (obviously!) but do you know what can be more fun? Evenings full of tea and cake … and cocktails too, otherwise known as our new favourite past time, Evening Tea.

We discovered this little treat a few months back after struggling to find a free weekend for our afternoon adventures and landing upon The Midland in Manchester, which on top of its traditional and Royal Afternoon Tea, offers the option of Evening Tea complete with gin and tonic. 

Served in its beautiful Tea Room, said to be Manchester's only setting specifically designed for afternoon tea, this is the perfect evening oasis to unwind in after a busy day (particularly good for those early January back to work blues).

First comes gin number one, a local Manchester Three Rivers and tonic served with apricots and rosemary. A refreshing start to the first tier, which came loaded with a range of sandwiches and pastries including ox cheek & blue cheese croquette, crab cakes, tomato & goats cheese tart, and salmon and crème fraîche, along with coronation chicken and roast beef with horseradish finger sandwiches, each served on various types of fresh bread. We loved the mix of savoury options, fitting for an evening menu, and were huge fans of the croquette and creamy chicken filling. 

Next up, we were given a choice of plain or fruit scones so decided to opt for one each paired with clotted cream and a selection of jams. The scones were absolutely perfect from the look to the taste and it was great to get a choice of jam (even if we did go for classic raspberry) to make them all the more special.


The second pairing of gin came in the form of a fruity Brockmans with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries. This one was definitely our favourite, a really smooth gin bursting with fruity flavour. Even if you're not usually a fan of gin, we reckon this is one that could change your mind. 

On to the final tier, a slightly smaller cake selection than your typical afternoon tea but a balanced one featuring carrot opera cake and a berry and chocolate macaroon, offering a welcome dash of colour to the primarily savoury stand. Both were delicious and though we both consider ourselves to have a bit of a sweet tooth, this was plenty to satisfy our cravings.

Overall we had a fab first Evening Tea experience. Available between 5.30-7pm Thursday to Sunday, it's an idyllic post-work getaway. Even if you just fancy treating yourself and a friend at the weekend (because January can be fun too) it's actually pretty good value at £35pp including gin. With more late tea menus popping up around the UK, perhaps evening is the new afternoon. 

For more information and to book, visit: https://tearoomatthemidland.co.uk/

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