I’ve been to Hotel Du Vin three times. The first time was for a press event (not for Hotel Du Vin) which was great. The second time my friend had an itison or groupon voucher and the service was so appalling we ended up leaving before we even ate. We tried to take it up with the manager, but didn’t get very far.
I’m all for giving places a second chance, so when I was invited to try the Afternoon Tea, it was the perfect opportunity to experience Hotel Du Vin with fresh eyes.
We arrived full of optimism, unfortunately this quickly dissipated as we stood waiting to be greeted as several members of staff passed us by, averting their eyes as they did. It was clear we were waiting to be seen, and I get that restaurants can be busy (it wasn’t at all), and I’m happy to wait, but an acknowledgement is always nice. Instead it felt like staff were doing their utmost to avoid eye contact, and we felt quite unwelcome.
Eventually we were greeted and shown to one of the many available seats. We had the Champagne Afternoon Tea which is £30. Price wise this is towards the upper range for afternoon tea, with only five star hotels like Waldorf Astoria, Fingal, and The Balmoral costing more – hopes were definitely high!
The champagne was delicious, and the afternoon tea from a distance did have a bit of visual presence and theatre, courtesy of two profiteroles stuck on the end of two quite long sticks.
The sandwiches I’m afraid to say were a bit disappointing, they were dry and the fillings just not that tasty. They were merely stomach lining for all the sugary treats.
The scones were much better, served warm with clotted cream AND butter, plus a nice selection of Bonne Maman preserves (a nice French touch which fitted with the hotel). Although we were only served fruit ones, as opposed to the plain and fruit advertised.
The patisserie selection was nice. There were several sponge style cakes in a variety of flavours (chocolate, carrot, vanilla). Much better than the sandwiches, but it did lack a bit of variety, other than the profiteroles.
Afternoon Tea is a treat, it’s indulgent, it’s meant to be an experience. There needs to be fun and a certain amount of wow factor to compete in what is now a very competitive area. This one was fine, but it doesn’t stand out. Had it been a £15-£20 afternoon tea I think it would have been fine, but if you’re charging £60 for two people, you need to provide a bit more than a couple of finger sandwiches and a few sponge cakes – you can get a very decent three course set lunch in the city for this price!
Some of the elements were really good, the scones certainly hit the spot. The rest fell a bit short. I’m afraid to say there are better afternoon teas in Edinburgh, at this price point and cheaper.
To finish on a positive, we loved the Mojitea. Great idea and very tasty.
Find out more about Hotel Du Vin’s Afternoon Tea here.