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Novelty at Chester Grosvenor

Simon Binns enjoys an The Extravagant Gentleman's Afternoon Tea

Written by . Published on September 6th 2010.


Novelty at Chester Grosvenor

AFTERNOON tea normally conjures up images of elderly ladies eating finger sandwiches and sipping Darjeeling from fine bone china cups.

It’s a typically British activity, like standing in queues and moaning about the weather.

Scones are not a manly enough way to finish afternoon tea of course, which is why the male menu rounds off with a bottle of hoppy, mellow Eastgate Ale.

When all around them are losing their heads, the British will drink tea. And possibly a gin and tonic - which is the first course on the Chester Grosvenor’s Extravagant Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea.

Genteel meets macho for the hotel’s new testosterone-fuelled feast. It’s a beast, served up in sterling silver and porcelain.

The Chester Grosvenor is a fine setting for afternoon tea – all dark wood, brass light fittings and dapper waiting staff. It exudes the right sort of elegant calm required for stuffing your face with more sandwiches, cakes, pastries and sugar than you’d normally take on during a weekend break at Willy Wonka’s gaff.

As I sipped my starter, my partner, opting for the Ladies’ Extravagant Afternoon Tea, was presented with a perfectly chilled glass of champagne. These were both accompanied by fresh, zingy strawberries and thick, delicious clotted cream.

This is the last time you will see such vitamins for almost two hours.

On came the tea –Early Grey for her, Assam and a splash of milk for me – and the three-tiered stand that defines an afternoon tea.

The Gentleman’s offering was stacked with two whopping sandwiches – pink and perky beef with horseradish and a delightfully moist and sweet ham and tomato, both on doorstep bloomers. These were joined by two generous wedges of nutty Cheshire cheese and a bowl of chunky chips.

On the middle of the tray, sat temptingly between the carbs, were a proper chocolate éclair and a hearty slice of chewy fruit cake. I say proper éclair because it was filled with crème patissiere, which splurged forth enthusiastically after a gentle prodding with a small silver fork.

For the lady, it was an eye-closingly good chocolate-mousse cheesecake and a pistachio, jam and cream slice, delicately sized compared to the monster-sized man portions on the other side of the table.

Three warm and delicate scones were also produced to keep us busy – with strawberry jam and more of that clotted cream – just to make sure there wasn’t a well-hidden quarter cubic inch of our stomach linings that had somehow avoided being filled with food.

Scones are not a manly enough way to finish afternoon tea of course, which is why the male menu rounds off with a bottle of hoppy, mellow Eastgate Ale.

My companion noted that this was ‘proper afternoon tea, not a hotel pretending to do it by dishing out some half-stale finger sandwiches’. It kept us busy for two hours, which you might expect for £32.50 a head.

Forget cupcakes, afternoon tea is the new frontier.

For people who like a nice sit down and a pot of Darjeeling.


Rating: 16.5/20
Breakdown: 7.5/10 food
5/5 service
4/5 atmosphere
Address: Chester Grosvenor Hotel and Spa
Eastgate
Chester
CH1 1LT

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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Latest Rants

Prof. Chucklebutty

This sounds like it will be a very popular event. Although personally, I would prefer my dinner…

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Knowlegeable

Please refer to the sentence up the top about one or two glaring omissions...

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Anonymous

Leaf, Leaf and more Leaf probably the best brekkie place in all liverpool, and second in my opinon…

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Tracy Ryan

I feel ill. The history of the building will be entirely lost.

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