Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House
We were invited to Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House this week. Read our thoughts on this option available at this luxurious venue.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James
A quick history.
Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon.
At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.
Later friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.”
Other social hostesses quickly picked up on the idea and the practice became respectable enough to move it into the drawing room. Before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
The here and now.
Here we are in modern day society and it’s as popular as ever. While some choose a bottomless brunch, others choose an afternoon tea and from my own experiences find this to be a much more relaxing, social and enjoyable experience.
This week we were lucky enough to be invited to try out the afternoon tea at the luxurious Jesmond Dene House and partake in this custom.
Set in the Fern dining room and a kitchen led by Eddie Saint, former senior sous chef at Jesmond Dene House who took over from Danny Parker as executive head chef at the famous eatery, now oversees all events at the house as well as Fern Dining Room & Bar. (Read more)
We were welcomed and sat in a lovely bright room accompanied with colourful paintings on the walls around.
Many venues are available to choose when you search and this may come up as one of the more expensive experiences you will see, however there is a reason for that. It’s the quality of the food, the ambience, surroundings and experience as a whole. We sampled the standard version with no alcohol and is priced at £32.50 for refillable tea and cafetière.
We started bottom plate up. Sandwiches first. Smoked Salmon & Chive Cream Cheese on White Bread was my first bite and with a generous portion of quality salmon this certainly wet the tastebuds. Onto the Roast Chicken & Tarragon Mayonnaise on White Bread was what was expected, as was the Egg Mayonnaise & Cress on Brown Bread.
Something else you don’t normally see in addition was the Cumberland Sausage Roll with Pancetta and it was beautiful. Crisp, light and wrapped with thin layer of batter, it surrounded the meat and this was my favourite bit so far.
Scones had been baked lovely and we really enjoyed the cheese scones in particular. Fresh and tasting just right, I cut in half and proceeded to add my clotted cream and then raspberry jam on top. (Yes I state cream then jam! But I’m sure we could argue all day over the proper order of this, as it’s a long ongoing debate!)
To end, our options of Patisserie. Not only did they look and present fabulously on the plate, they tasted fantastic. Every single one gave a taste sensation of different flavours, and it was here that you knew you were dining in a venue with high standards and quality. We made our way through the Strawberry Tart with Candied Pistachio, Blueberry Macaron, Peach Melba Battenburg and Lemon Meringue Éclair with the latter being my favourite surprisingly.
Now admittedly the only thing that was a let down was me, as I don’t actually like tea and so made may way through the coffee cafetière which washed down the food as I went. Due to this I’m not able to work my way through the selection to tell you about. My wife is a classic English Breakfast girl and complimented just how nice it was.
If tea is your thing, then the range that is on offer will leave you with many options. With a selection of 23 different teas there is plenty of options to explore and what better time and place to experience them. Red Teas, Black Teas, Green Teas and Fruit Infusions will have you wondering where to start.
Staff leave you to your own pace and aren’t overbearing or intrusive. You are left to enjoy the surroundings, relax in conversation and enjoy the wonderful food presented.
Once finished how better to finish off your visit than to take a walk around the grounds or sit in the garden area as we did with the sunshine beaming down and a pint of lager or glass of wine!
Perfect for a gift, date or something new to experience Jesmond Dene House is a venue that you should consider. I myself will look to visit again for sure and maybe expand out to the normal evening menu or even a stay overnight to experience the venue in full.
For more information or to book please visit: https://jesmonddenehouse.co.uk/dining/afternoon-tea-2
With 48 hours notice, they can cater for any guests who require a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free menu.
Unfortunately they are unable to cater for any other dietary requirements or amendments to the menu, including adaptations to sandwiches. The Afternoon Tea Menu is set.
Guests are welcome to keep their table for up to 2 hours.
Afternoon Tea is available Wednesday – Sunday, 1pm – 4pm