Now, y'all know by now that when an invitation for afternoon tea drops into my inbox, I won't be saying no. That's how I found myself at the Hilton Level8 Sky bar this week, with a group of lovely local bloggers, ready to try out their festive afternoon tea.
Nestled on the eighth floor of Bournemouth's new Hilton hotel, the Level8 Sky Bar has been something of a talking point in town. It's by far the fanciest bar we've been graced with in Bournemouth, and with panoramic views of the town, it's certainly a gorgeous spot to hang out.
We were settled in to a velvet sofa booth next to a suitably festive Christmas tree just in time to see the sun dip beneath the skyline, with a glass of prosecco in hand. We were left to peruse the menu + our surroundings, whilst the super attentive staff went to prepare our tea.
I'm no stranger to Hilton Sky Bar's, back in London we lived on the same road as one and it became our local, a go to for any celebrations (normally making it through another week at uni), but the Bournemouth location really is something special. They've put a lot of thought into the decor, it's tasteful but suitably fancy, and certainly feels like the sort of place to be raising a glass of champagne.
There were a few different tea options but I stuck with a good ol' English Breakfast - is it even an afternoon tea if you don't have English Breakfast? I drank mine black with a tiny sugar - despite the gorgeous milk bottles!, It was delicious, the perfect temperature with a slight fruity hint. I'm always super pleased when the tea supplied is loose leaf, I think it tastes so much better!
A round of tea and it was time for the main event! A platter of goodies appeared in front of us, and the waitress theatrically dusted icing sugar over the confections - a nice suitably festive touch! This is certainly one of the more generous afternoon teas I've had, with four types of sandwich, two scones and four desserts, you're rather unlikely to leave hungry!
Starting with sandwiches we had beef and horseradish, salmon and cream cheese, turkey + cranberry and then a veggie ratatouille option. The staff were super knowledgeable and explained how with a little advance warning they can create totally veggie or even vegan options - which is good to know!
The desserts were the real star of the show here! Freshly baked pain and cranberry scones were cooked to perfection, slightly crumbly but not dry (a pet peeve of mine). They were served with jars of From Dorset With Love jam + lemon curd which were AMAZING, plus a generous serving of clotted cream. I've never had lemon curd on scones before but this certainly won't be the last time.
I skipped the Christmas Pudding & Redcurrant Verrine not being much of a Christmas Pudding fan, but I was reliably informed it was delicious, pretty much like a Christmas Pudding Trifle. I went straight in with a cranberry and fresh fruit meringue, a pretty bubblegum pink and blue confection filled with fresh cream - a totally delicious sweet treat.
I loved the Chocolate Orange Dome, a festive take on teacake, orange mousse covered a little chocolate mousse on a cakey base, topped in a crisp layer of milk chocolate. Very reminiscent of Terry's Chocolate Oranges! The Apple and Raisin Tart Gourmand went down well with EVERYONE, sweet crisp pastry filled with cinnamon spiced apple and raisins, delicious!
Our afternoon tea at the Hilton Level8 Sky Bar was such a wonderful treat, I can't wait to return soon, hopefully with my mum and sister in tow for a girly afternoon! The Christmas afternoon tea will be finishing soon but I hear their regular afternoon tea is just as good! Thank you so much to the Sky Bar for having us, and to the lovely Emma of the Bournemouth Bloggers group for organising the occasion!
Are you a fan of afternoon tea?