I was impressed with the restaurant initially. The decor, location and service were beautiful but this experience quickly turned sour.
I bought the tea party package as a discounted voucher via Amazon Local as a treat for my girlfriend who is a massive Alice fan. We tried searching both Amazon, the Bistro's and Tripadvisor's website but couldn't find any trace of a sample menu. This didn't seem to matter at the time because the theme promised to be so fantastic.
When we arrived the table was already set, albeit garishly with haphazard hand painted crockery (like you would expect in a nursery). We were seated intimately close to other diners, despite the rest of the restaurant being empty. The menu we were presented with still didn't give much information regarding the food - "magic mushrooms", were actually scotch eggs.
There could have been some nice touches but unfortunately the waitress added food dye to our Prosecco in plain sight, ruining the quirky coloured effect. We did get offered a selection of teas to smell which were lovely, but they weren't labelled so we didn't know what to ask for. The server also seemed to get a bit confused when we pointed to our choice. Again, the server went behind a curtain and pulled the teabag from a massive cardboard box, which was a bit off-putting.
The 'tea party' selection came out fairly quickly, on a tiered platter. The selection of sandwiches were actually 4 small triangles of white bread with pretty basic fillings. There was 1 oatcake with with pate each and half a scotch egg. The half scone already had jam and 'funky' cream (cream with food dye) added to it, instead of being served separately as you would expect for afternoon tea. There were only 2 cakes, which was either a salted chocolate square (awful) or pecan cupcake that looked like it had been bought from the local Tesco. We had a pot of orange coloured jelly that was overpowered by a strange aniseed taste. The only redeeming factor, were the espresso cups filled with fruit smoothie to which you could add a side of popping candy. Unfortunately, as we had not seen the menu beforehand, my girlfriend struggled to eat the majority of food. Although this was due to preference and not dietary requirements, we probably wouldn't have purchased the deal if the site had stipulated the food selection.
Half way through, I noticed the paint from the cup had transferred to my fingers so decided to pull the Manager to one side to express my disappointment. His reaction was one of defence and was quite hostile, stating 'I wasn't holding the cup properly'. Very quickly, an offer of partial refund was made but I didn't feel like he was listening to the points I was raising (all of the above). I wanted to give the restaurant a chance to redeem themselves rather than writing this review, but his reaction caused my girlfriend to feel uncomfortable as the confrontation was noticed by other diners despite trying to make the 'discussion' as discreet as possible.
Overall, this seemed like a very tacky/gimmicky ploy to get customers into an otherwise empty restaurant. I would also like to add, that Amazon Local states that the regular price of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party is £100, although on arrival we noticed it was advertised on the restaurant window as £49 for 2 people. So what I initially thought was a saving of £61, was actually a mere £10.
*Please note, this review is solely for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party experience.
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