Regular readers will remember that way back before Christmas, I visited the new Ivy Brasserie in Bath to try their evening menu, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the food lives up to that phenomenal reputation. I have to admit though, even then, what I most wanted to try was their afternoon tea – something about that elegant, polished interior, the starched white tablecloths and gently tinkling music and hush-voiced staff, turns the mind immediately to cake stands and silver teapots. And with Mother’s Day coming up – surely the official holiday of afternoon tea? – I thought it was only right to finally check it out…
|The restaurant interior, bursting with colour and stylish, original touches|
The interior of the Ivy Bath Brasserie is full of gorgeous details throughout, but my absolute favourite part is the front section that’s open during the daytime – arched windows flanked by tall palms let the sunlight pour in, sparkling off the handsome chandelier hanging from that beautiful moulded ceiling in white and powder blue. The atmosphere is still very refined, but things feel a little more relaxed – you could easily sink back into the soft, deep blue leather banquettes and while away an afternoon over tea.
We needed only the briefest glimpse of the menu to decide on the full champagne afternoon tea (even with all the trimmings, it’s a bit of a steal at £25.95, or just £17.95 without the champagne), and started, of course, with the savouries – a brioche roll filled with watercress and chicken in truffle mayonnaise, an open sandwich with salmon, cream cheese and dill on dark rye bread, and the classic cucumber finger sandwich (no crusts, natch). For me, the brioche roll was the standout – I thought the truffled chicken was fabulously delicious – but my dining companion made a strong case for the salmon, which was also scrumptious and very, very pretty. Having washed it all down with a glass of crisp house champagne, we ordered pots of the Ivy’s own afternoon tea blend and moved on to the sweets.
|Pretty little finger sandwiches|
Although cake is a staple of afternoon tea, there actually isn’t any on the menu at the Ivy – but don’t worry, because what they’ve chosen instead is more than worthy of inclusion. In little espresso cups branded with the famous ivy leaf were salted caramel chocolate mousses, topped with milk foam and grated chocolate to resemble miniature cappuccinos, and flanked with raspberry tarts and bite-sized golden crème-brûlée doughnuts. The mousses were absolutely mouth-watering, but the doughnuts were the stand-out for me, light and fluffy with a creamy custard filling – I can’t believe I’ve never encountered a crème brûlée doughnut before when the concept works so well. Finally, we moved on to the scones, presented on their own special silver stand. I must admit that they were the only slightly disappointing element for me – they were just a little dry – but I loved that they were served not only with the classic jam and clotted cream but fresh strawberries too.
|Tea always tastes best from a silver teapot|
Whether you’re looking for a way to treat Mum and finally cement your status as the favourite child this Mother’s Day, or you just want to treat yourself, the afternoon tea menu at the Ivy Bath Brasserie would make an excellent choice. The fabulous setting (which adds so much to the experience), the delicious menu peppered with elegant and creative touches, and the very reasonable price all mean that I’ll be recommending this one plenty. And I’ll definitely be back for more of those doughnuts…