I was a little surprised when I saw Ishka had introduced an afternoon tea, it didn’t strike me as an afternoon tea kind of place. It has a bar vibe, and is very modern inside, it’s not exactly a tea room in a hotel. That said, afternoon tea has become super popular and it seems that everywhere is offering one, so why not…
Given the kind of place it was, and despite me enjoying my previous visit to sample the menu at Ishka, I must admit my expectations were moderate. This is a place that I imagined would not have a big patisserie section, and I wondered (regretfully now) if there was anyone in house that could do justice to a completely homemade afternoon tea. Also, at £15 per person, it was priced so that even if this wasn’t a perfectly executed afternoon tea, you’d get away with a few missed notes.
We took our seats in the window and were presented the menu which sounded really promising.
We chose some tea and I ordered a very nice cocktail, Dawn Chorus, it had a number of ingredients I liked and absolutely lived up to its description – Daffy’s Gin, Sake, Plum & Mint Syrup, Malic Acid, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe Mist.
Did you know Peychaud’s Bitters is where cocktail making began, originally developed as a medicinal, it was the core ingredient in the world’s first cocktail, the Sazerac which is also on the menu at Ishka. A nice nod to the heritage of cocktail making and a sign that the mixologist knows his/her stuff. If you enjoy grown up cocktails I can recommend Ishka and you should definitely upgrade and enjoy a cocktail alongside your afternoon tea.
The tea arrived, disappointingly, in a cup rather than a teapot. This is a detail they are working on as Head Chef, Claire is trying to source the right teapots to complement the rest of the presentation.
Talking of presentation, afternoon tea arrives on a generous slate stand. It was more than we had hoped for, and you could see that care had gone into each element as well as the overall presentation. Afternoon tea by its nature is indulgent and very much a treat, a point which Claire completely understands, she has ensured her version has the wow factor – albeit with a modern twist to suit the rest of the decor at Ishka.
The savoury selection including a good variety: a roll, sandwhiches and a crostini. Our favourites were the White Corn Fed Chicken with Parmesan Mayonnaise and Rocket, and the Brown Scottish Dunlop Cheddar and Caramelised Red Onion Sandwich.
The Blueberry Scones were freshly baked that day and the best scones I’ve had on an afternoon tea. Served with clotted cream and homemade jam, you may need to ask for more of the jam as we did!
The patisserie section did not disappoint either. Every element was homemade in house to a very high standard, which exceeded the cost. There was a macaron, a loaf, a sponge, a slice, a brownie and a jelly. It’s quite a feat to get everything right, but Claire’s passion came through and her attention to detail was definitely on display and we enjoyed every mouthful.
In terms of cost against quality, this is the best value afternoon tea I’ve had in Edinburgh.
Location: 83 Morrison Street
Price: Afternoon Tea £15 per person