I’ve been writing online for over eleven years now, my first blog (which I wrote for ten years) was a parenting and lifestyle blog. Quite often I’d be invited to experience something in return for a feature. On one such occasion I’d been invited for afternoon tea, I decided to take my mother in law as a treat. Long story short, it was a bit of a disaster. The place we were visiting was just getting started in the afternoon tea business and it just wasn’t very good, in fact it was very poor. Of course this has been a semi-regular topic of conversation whenever afternoon tea is mentioned, so when I was invited to Prestonfield House, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to right a wrong, and hopefully bury any memories of that other afternoon tea.
Naturally I was a little nervous as we drove up, I didn’t want another bad experience. Nobody wants to be getting on the wrong side of their mother in law (although I have to say, I got lucky with mine).
It was a beautiful day and I relaxed when I saw how well kept the grounds were. Surely they would have paid as much attention to the afternoon tea?
Prestonfield House is opulent, words can’t really do justice to the decor, you really need to go and experience it yourself – it’s a feast for the eyes.
We were taken to an upstairs room for our afternoon tea where we were presented with menus.
Afternoon Tea is £25, or you can have the Champagne Afternoon Tea for £35. We were booked in for the Champagne Afternoon Tea, and said champagne was quick to arrive.
We were invited to choose our tea from a wide selection. There was a beautiful box on the table with all the different options which allowed us to smell before we tried. This was a really interactive touch and added to the overall experience.
Talking of experience, that’s really what a good afternoon is all about. Of course nice sandwiches and homemade cakes are important, but it’s the overall experience upon which you can judge a good afternoon tea, and it’s on this point where I feel Prestonfield House really excels. The grounds are impressive and immaculately kept. The house itself is grand and the interior is something you probably haven’t experienced before. The service is five star – the waiting staff arrive to assist at the appropriate times and have the right balance of professional and friendly, you can be sure you and your guest will be made to feel very comfortable. In the words of one of our Facebook followers, you feel like royalty when you’re there – and I’m inclined to agree with her – and really, when you’re booking an afternoon tea, that’s the experience you’re looking for because you’re nearly always there to celebrate a special occasion. Prestonfield House get that, and they pull out all the stops.
Back to that tea, and inspired by the opportunity to smell, we opted for Rose Tea which was delicious.
The food elements of the afternoon tea arrived and covered four areas; hot savouries, tea sandwiches, scones, and cakes.
I think warm elements on an afternoon tea is one of the things that separates your average afternoon tea, from what I would consider a fine dining version. Prestonfield House most certainly qualifies for the latter. The hot savouries were Haggis Bonbons and Goats Cheese and Red Onion Parmiers – both delicious, but the haggis rolled in oatmeal stood out for being the first time I’ve been encouraged to try haggis again since a particularly bad childhood memory. I think I may have been converted.
The tea sandwiches were Honey Roast Ayrshire Ham with Dijon Mustard, Egg Mayonnaise and Cress, and Cucumber with Dill Butter. We passed on the egg mayonnaise as my mother in law has an allergy. The other two options were both tasty, I would say the sandwiches were on the plainer side but I felt this was needed on such a rich afternoon tea. The quality of the ingredients stood out, in particular the ham.
Fruit and Plain Scones had a crunchy exterior and a fluffy light interior – they were served with home-made raspberry jam (which was very obviously home-made due to the superior quality) and real clotted cream. I’m not a fan of the lighter whipped cream, I think scones call for the good stuff, especially ones as good was these – I can’t recall having a better scone than this on any afternoon tea.
Onto the finale, and the highlight for many, the cakes. I’d bet a sizeable sum that Prestonfield House has a very competent patisserie chef working with them. Nothing bought in here, every cakey morsel was expertly crafted and flavoured. The selection included Hazelnut and Vanilla Choux Buns, Caramel and Blackcurrant Macarons, Lemon Drizzle Cake with Orange Marmalade, and Peanut Butter and Lime Brownies. There was not a foot wrong, this is a patisserie selection that leaves you feeling spoilt rotten!
Can’t finish it all? They’ll even box up your leftovers in a lovely little Prestonfield House embossed box to take away with you.
Every detail at Prestonfield House has been meticulously thought through, and the delivery is faultless. For the very reasonable price of £25, this is a slice of luxury that you should experience at least once.
Location: Priestfield Road
Price: Afternoon Tea £25, Champagne Afternoon Tea £35
Good for: Fine dining standard afternoon tea in luxury surroundings