Sunday, 10 June 2018

Harvey Nichols x Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea

I write this the day after World Gin Day. What a beautiful thing to celebrate. I love gin. I don't care how ubiquitous it has become, I don't care if it's on its way out and rum/whisky/sherry/whatever are the next new thing. I'll still be enjoying a cool, refreshing G&T or a crisp, clear martini.

The popularity of gin means there's some nonsense out there as companies try and cash in. Unicorn Tears and the current fad for 'pink gin' I'm looking at you. But I've spent my time researching and I know what I like, I know what's quality and has been carefully produced. Edinburgh Gin fits into this category, even as they keep expanding and bringing out more liqueurs and styles of gin. I visited their distillery last time I was in Edinburgh and was able to try several of their products. Their Seaside gin is my absolute favourite, I loved the Christmas one too and their liqueurs are delicious, without being sickly or sticky.

So a Harvey Nichols Afternoon Tea inspired by Edinburgh Gin was always going to be fantastic.

It launched last week, in honour of World Gin Day, and runs until the end of July, giving you plenty of time to book in. Which, if you're a fan of Afternoon Tea and/or gin, you must. It's £22 per person, or £30 with a cocktail, which is in line with other good quality establishments in the city.

You'll be sat in the stylish restaurant at Harvey Nichols, with its fashionable marble and gold colouring. Have unlimited tea or coffee and pick a cocktail from their list, all made with Edinburgh Gin of course.

When I tried a preview of the Afternoon Tea, I had a couple of cocktails too. They've cleverly stuck to long drinks, like spritzes, prosecco with liqueurs and gin and tonics, allowing you to sip your drink throughout your meal.

We weren't served tea or coffee so I'm not sure how the tea selection is. I like a light tea, such as jasmine or lemon verbena with my Afternoon Tea.

Onto the food! The head chef came to speak to us to explain that it's not just the cocktails that contain Edinburgh Gin. He visited their distillery and tried their range, using the botanicals and flavours to come up with a beautiful selection of savoury and sweet treats, but sticking to the spirit of Afternoon Tea.

First up, savoury. I don't care too much for standard finger sandwiches, so I'm always happy to see a roll, a wrap, some kind of dip. Harvey Nichols have gone a step beyond that with a beautiful variety of canape-like treats.

Little fish bites were coated in a Seaside gin and tonic batter and popped in a cone alongside rosemary string fries, such a fun idea. A vanilla and plum duck croquette was excellent quality, with the vanilla adding a little surprise twist. I loved these. The goats cheese and vegetable terrine satisfied my cheese cravings and finally, an artichoke and courgette wrap was a refreshing end to the savourites.

I moved onto the scones next, which were excellent, though purists would probably say they weren't crumbly enough. Plain scones and raspberry and white chocolate scones were served alongside plenty of jam and clotted cream. The white chocolate and raspberry were really beautiful.

You can put your jam or cream on first, it will still be delicious.

Onto the final layer: the sweet treats. I like a small, sweet burst of flavour from the sweet layer, nothing too heavy or cakey. These were great: cucumber candy floss made by local company Sweet Cheeks really did taste like cucumber. I would have liked a little more though (at Hotel Du Vin you get a whole stick!) The pastry on the rhubarb and ginger tart had a good bite to it. The panacotta was a little too sweet for me.

Overall, this new Afternoon Tea is high quality and very clever. I love the scones and the savoury bites particularly. I'll look forward to seeing the other Afternoon Teas Harvey Nichols produce.

Harvey Nichols Birmingham

Edinburgh Gin

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.

Photos my own. 

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