For my birthday last year, the Brit got me an afternoon tea at the luxury hotel resort Gleneagles. It’s located about 20 mins drive from our house, in Perthshire. I’m obsessed with afternoon tea so it was a perfect gift!
At £45 per person for an afternoon tea, it is a bit dear for the average person (i.e. like us). I’ve never paid more than £35 for an afternoon tea, so I was hoping we weren’t just paying for the brand of the hotel and that the food and experience were going to be worth it. Our expectations were high!
Ahead of our arrival a staff member called me to confirm the time of our booking and to ask if we had any dietary requirements, which I thought was a nice touch!
Our reservation was at 13.30 so we left the house around 12.40 to ensure we’d make it on time (our car is a bit temperamental). We arrived just past the hour and walked around the hotel a little to pass the time. There are luxury shops and cafés, we even peaked into the ballroom as the door was opened. This is how the other half lives.
We finally made our way to the Glendevon room, where they serve afternoon tea. It is almost like a conservatory with its large windows with great views onto the nearby greens. We were sat at a nice comfortable table in the centre of the room, and our coats were taken. Jazz was playing in the background and it was the perfect ambiance.
Our server was great, knowledgeable and attentive. He first asked what tea we wanted. I asked for recommendations and after 1-2 questions he recommended the one I’d been eyeing on the menu, so if that’s not magic, I don’t know what is! I went for White Peony and the Brit for a classic Breakfast tea.
It was made clear as well that if we wanted to change tea, try something new or get a coffee later, it was all okay. I like that because only having the choice of one tea rarely makes me want to try something new in case I don’t like it.
We were first served the amuse-bouche, a mushroom velouté with rosemary oil. I dislike mushroom so it was a hard pass for me and the Brit had both cups. He really enjoyed it!
Then we were served the savoury tray. I always ask for a pescatarian afternoon tea, so they had done two layers one for me and one for the Brit. We both shared some confit shallot and celeriac tarts (delicious!), and an Isle of Mull cheddar stuffed puff pastry.
Then on the lower tiers, we both had salmon, capers and sour cream on crisp bread. It then diverged a little. The Brit enjoyed a haggis bonbon while mine was the veggie version, a wee fried ball of neeps and tatties. Simple and yet so great! Then while the Brit ate a Chicken and truffle stuffed brioche, I raved about my blue cheese brioche. It was so amazing! I made the Brit taste it and we agreed it was the best thing we ate! We will try to recreate at home.
The finger sandwiches were smoked salmon, duck egg mayo, and roast beef (I had roast red pepper and courgette). They were lovely!
At that point we needed a bit of a break. Surprising how 8 bite sized snacks can fill you so much! We just enjoyed our tea while chatting.
Our server brought our sweet tray which we were keen to dig into, but we paced it out a bit more at that point! There were three intricate pastries: a passionfruit and mango éclair with coconut macaron and lime leaf, a chestnut and yuzu cake, and a beetroot and orange tart with kumquats and sea buckthorn.
They were so interesting, and well done, but to me there was too much going on. I struggled with the taste at that point, especially while being already a bit stuffed.
We were then showed with the cakes of the day, a lemon cake, a matcha green tea cake and a Dundee cake. I passed on the Dundee cake, because I don’t believe dried fruit belong in cakes in this day and age. We didn’t end up being able to eat these, so our server was kind enough to box it all up for us and we ate it for breakfast the next day.
We did eat our scones though! There were two kinds, a Dalwhinnie (whisky) soaked apple and sultana scone and a treacle scone, both served with homemade preserves and clotted cream. I loved the first, but the treacle one wasn’t to my taste.
After over two hours we ended up leaving because we thought we were overstaying our welcome, which our server told us wasn’t the case (kind!).
Was it my favourite afternoon tea ever? Controversially, while being the most expensive afternoon tea I’ve had, it was not my favourite. The savoury tray was to die for, but overall I much preferred the Colonnades at the Signet Library in Edinburgh, which I’ve reviewed last year. It also is more affordable, which is always a plus!
But in conclusion, we ended up spending about 3 hours at Gleneagles and I loved the day! The afternoon tea, while having an eye-watering price tag, was a culinary experience that I believe was worth it. It wouldn’t be an afternoon tea I would do on a whim, but I would book it again as a very special treat!
Do you love afternoon tea? Where was your favourite one?xx