Fate can be cruel sometimes. Imagine you were just minding your own business at your wife's Christmas party when a bunch of robbers led by an young Severus Snape look-a-like ended up taking everyone hostage and you end up running around in just a vest blowing up half the building before you get to go home, bummer hey. Even worse, you could be miserable at being on a big ship taking you to a new life in America, when you meet a nice artist who draws a pretty picture of your boobs. But then the ship springs a bit of a leak and you end up floating round on a wardrobe door whilst the artist catches a bit of a cold and you end up throwing a necklace in the water, or something. That's pretty unlucky really. So in an incredibly tenuous link we get to the Afternoon Tea at The Grange Manor, there is a link trust me.
You see we went to Afternoon Tea at the Grange Manor the day after our visit to Grand Central for the Rose Afternoon Tea there. So as tragically unfair as it may be, we would of course, spend the whole afternoon comparing the two. Now here is the thing, the Grange Manor actually comes out quite well. I have to say that the Afternoon Tea was good quality, service was effectual enough and it offers pretty good value for money.
We were able to park in the car park at the front of the hotel and walked straight in. We were greeted in reception and when we said we were in for Afternoon Tea we were led through to a table in the restaurant We were sat at a dinner table with high back chairs, but I am sure if we had asked we could have sat on a comfy sofa in the bar. We were quickly offered champagne and pot of tea was brought out. Once we were nicely settled down and drinking the three tier cake stand was presented. It contained a selection of sandwiches, slices of ginger and fruit cake and scones, profiteroles and mini meringues.
The sandwiches were good, the bread fresh and a decent quality bloomer loaf rather than the cheaper pan bread the you get from the supermarket and may have appeared on an afternoon tea very recently... It was a shame that there was only two fillings- ham and egg. Not together, separate. The ham on brown bread was thickly carved and generously layered in before the sandwich was cut into thirds. Likewise there was no shortage of egg mayo filling the white bread.
Onto the cakes and the fruit slice was moist and full of raisins and sultanas, it was slightly crumbly and had a pleasant sweetness to it. The Ginger cake was slightly dry but had a rich ginger taste. The scones were crumbly and a bit of a struggle to put cream and jam on without them falling into lots of little pieces, but they tasted lovely. The profiteroles appeared handmade and were generously dipped in chocolate. The mini meringues were crispy and just a little bit chewy inside, the contrasting cream and fresh slice of strawberry made for a delicious mouthful .
The restaurant was not busy, in fact for the first half of our visit we were the only customers, which is probably why the service was so swift. Attentive, yes. Efficient, definitely. Could it have been a bit friendlier, ummm unfortunately yes. The lady serving us wasn't rude, or impolite, she just left us feeling that we were a bit of a nuisance to her.
We had paid just £16 for our afternoon tea for two via Groupon and as an introduction to the Grange Manor it was a good deal. I, for one, will be returning as a result of it. But even with the glass of Champagne I think the full price of £16.95 per person is a touch steep. Perhaps one more round of a different sandwich and we are spot on price wise.
You see, and this is where fate comes in, when you do get to make the comparison with an Afternoon Tea that costs exactly twice as much you come to realise that the Grange Hotel Afternoon Tea is very good. For half the price you don't get half the tea, sure the cakes aren't as fancy, the tea doesn't have an expensive tag and the plates don't have the name of the hotel printed on them. But I wasn't disappointed by the Grange Manor offering, and it actually demonstrated how over-priced some other offerings are, rather than than leave you thinking you got a second class bargain deal. What you have to remember is that ultimately Afternoon Tea, is some sandwiches, some cakes and a brew. You can choose whether you wish to pay £16 or £35 you'll still get exactly the same, just with a bit more bling. In much the same way whether you paid thousands of pounds for first class, or a few shillings for steerage you still ended up getting your feet wet.