greeted with a cold glass of ruinart rose champagne, we chatted amongst ourselves whilst eyeing up the beautifully laid table. when was it going to be adorned with afternoon tea treats?
with the nice touch of a personalised menu to whet our appetites, we were offered a choice of english breakfast, earl grey or peppermint tea. i went for earl grey, and incidentally found myself with three different drinks (tea, bubbles, water) dutifully topped up all night.
joking aside, when it comes to afternoon tea, the tea options are really important for me. english breakfast and earl grey are a given, but i've been to places before where they quite literally offer up a treasure chest of tea which embraces the likes of lady grey, assam and russian caravan. i realise they are just dipping their toes in the water at the moment and this is forgiven, but if they'd had lady grey i would have been really impressed.
next up was the potted shrimp and crisp breads, swiftly followed by trays of perfectly presented sandwiches. we all agreed it was fantastic that they had provided a gluten free bread option for one of the bloggers - always a sign of great attention to detail.
the potted shrimp was easily my favourite part of the savoury course; a smooth buttery topping with fresh and vibrant potted shrimp beneath. the brittle crisp breads had an earthy, savoury flavour which made them ideal for dipping. boyds, this has got to be a keeper.
the excitement of the first half of the savoury course and chatting away to each other meant that these very photogenic sandwiches had sadly started to go dry. this seemed a real shame as the fillings were well executed. to avoid this, i wouldn't have minded waiting as my sandwiches were prepared fresh just before coming out. after all, afternoon tea is a very leisurely affair.
smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese was a particular favourite of mine, seconded by the mellow and creamy egg mayonnaise. the salt beef was more of an acquired taste, with a real sharp hit of dijon mustard and zing of gherkin that would divide the crowd. if i had it my way, i would have chosen a rare beef and horseradish combination.
i'm sure if you've been for afternoon tea you'll know what comes next. cue cake stand filled with sweet treats and those infamous scones. for me, the scones were the winner. i also enjoyed that on a table full of foodies, the discussion of, "do you pronounce it scon or scooone?" can easily be sustained for a good half an hour.
freshly baked? check. devonshire clotted cream? check. lashings of sweet strawberry jam? check. there weren't even enough to go round - the perfect excuse to bring out a new tray of warm ones. you just can't have afternoon tea without them.
my thoughts on the evening? i loved every minute of meeting new blogger faces and chatting about food to my heart's content. square meal did a tip top job of organising the event and boyds were absolutely excellent hosts.
on the afternoon tea? as you can see, boyds already do most of the elements really well and the victorian heritage of the building simply oozes the elegance to go with it. however, i think there's definitely room for improvement here and there. then, perhaps even the queen will be pottering down from the palace and give it a try?
boyd's brasserie and lounge
8 northumberland ave
8 northumberland ave
nearest tube: charing cross
nearby landmarks: trafalgar square, buckingham palace
note: we were invited for complimentary afternoon tea as part of a blogger event. all opinions are honest and my own.