How does the expert rate an afternoon tea?

With so much competition in the afternoon tea market, hotels and restaurants are all vying for our attention and raising the stakes with their standards. Afternoon tea popularity has increased too in the past five years meaning that not only five star hotels are offering it on their menu. It is popping up in the high street in bars and restaurants, all putting their own spin on the traditional offering. With so much choice, I am sharing how I judge and rate all afternoon tea with my simple review system. Here’s how it works:

Food quality

The first and most important aspect of the review for me is the quality of the food and the tea. The sandwiches have to be fresh with delicious fillings. Scones that pass the scone test (more of that later!) with soft clotted cream and at least a choice of two jams. Then the pastries, there should be four between two people, which I think is perfectly adequate amount of food. Flavours need to be strong with nothing crumbling or spilling off the plate. 

Dietary requirements also should be catered for and I recommend that you inform the venue in advance to make sure that they are taken into consideration and the chefs can prepare things for you accordingly.

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The service can make or break any venue. No matter how much effort pastry chefs put into the food, it can all be whisked away (no pun intended) in an instant if the waiting staff don’t deliver. Service charge is sometimes added as standard in many venues so don’t be afraid to point out any issues you are having either to your own waiter or to the main manager.  I have had experiences, on special occasions, where the services has been poor which can really put a dampener on the day.


When I say ‘atmosphere’ I mean how you feel when you walk in. From the greeting you have, the décor, the comfort of your seat and the general ambience. All these things combined should give you with a happy, relaxed feeling that lets you enjoy your afternoon tea.  This might sound a bit strange but I always notice the state of the loos! It makes me think if this the cleanliness presented to customers what is going on in the kitchen….

Value for money

The cost of afternoon tea varies widely and can be priced anywhere between £19.50 right up to a whopping £65. Obviously these are on totally opposite sides of the scale but you can still assess how good something is based on the price.

The perfect tea

All these headings added together can make, what I consider to be, the perfect afternoon tea. If one is lacking then it impacts on the whole experience of your experience.  I’ll be talking about these topics in more detail so make sure you sign up to the newsletter to be kept informed of our future.