First of all, I would say that we had an overnight dinner, bed & breakfast visit the previous week for my 60th, which I have reviewed under the hotel, and since we had different experiences, I think different reviews were warranted.
We arrived a few minutes early for our 3pm table and were warmly greeted by a pleasant member of staff in the car park. We were put in the lounge, and eventually asked if we wanted a drink from the bar. A bit strange when you are there for tea, but never mind. We were soon seated in the Ivy Room. There was a card congratulating us on our first wedding anniversary.
We ordered a pot of Assam for 2 which soon arrived, along with a pot of hot water. Our sandwiches, cakes and scones were on the table promptly too. The sandwich fillings were all delicious, although they are a bit 'gobby' in style, rather more corner café than afternoon tea.
There was a scone each, and we had requested in advance one without fruit, and this was pointed out when served. However, it actually contained almost as much fruit as the fruit scone! It was a different shape, and fell apart when cut, so I believe that in error they served a gluten-free scone rather than a fruit-free. Frankly the scones were ok but no more. There were small pots of cream and jam, but not really enough. We didn't see any staff at this stage to ask for more. I was more concerned that at no stage did anyone enquire if everything was to our satisfaction, when the matter could have been raised. We did mention it at the desk when paying, but it seemed of no concern to the desk clerk.
The tea was completed by a small macaroon, a tiny chocolate confection and an Eton Mess in a shot glass. All were extremely tasty. However, overall the offerings were not particularly generous and at no stage were we offered any extra portions.
The Assam tea was good, and we soon drank the pot, refilled it and finished that too. So we ordered another pot as tea was supposed to be unlimited. The 'fresh' pot remained weak and tasteless even after standing, so I can only conclude that the same leaves had just been topped up with more water. Assam tea should be strong and malty! A disappointing end.
The ambience of the Ivy Room was pleasant too, except for the fact that in the adjacent room there was a group of about 8 extremely loud women. Not much that can be done about that, of course, but it made conversation rather difficult!
So would we go again? To the hotel, and for dinner, certainly. But not for afternoon tea; there are better options, I'm afraid.
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