Afternoon tea is an extravagant treat and one of my favourite indulgences so I feel very excited to say that I may have found the best one in Edinburgh! Located just a stone’s throw away from the historic Royal Mile of Edinburgh lies the Colonnades tea room, set within the beautiful Signet Library. There’s a real sense of occasion when you take Afternoon Tea at Colonnades – as you walk through the hall the main room opens up before you with beautiful Corinthian columns towering above diners, and old books lining the walls and galleries, handwoven carpets and mirrored tables reflecting the ceiling detail. It really does feel a very special and awe inspiring place for tea!
The recently opened Colonnades tea salon is part of Heritage Portfolio’s collection of stunning venues. Their afternoon tea will be served year round alongside light lunches and cakes, and the menu will change seasonally depending on what is available, often featuring produce grown by the team in their gardens in Leith.
Starting with the tea – there is a good selection on the menu with their own Signet blend too, not to mention coffee and alcoholic choices too. Fans of last year’s Pommery champagne bar will be relieved to hear there is still a huge choice of champagne and cocktails on the menu. I tried a Lapsang Souchong and as the refills are free I also tried a Russian Caravan blend which smelled like a summer evening by a campfire! The staff were so welcoming and friendly offering suggestions on the teas and patiently explaining every course in detail.
The Colonnades afternoon tea is slightly different to many I have had. They have made as much effort with the savoury course as they have the sweet. Each course is treated as a full course in its own right. The Savoury course arrived all on its own with three tiers, yes all three tiers, of beautifully presented goodies including an Aberdeen Angus mini burger on brioche bun, a flaky hot cheese tart with caramelised onions, fruity mini prawn cocktail with mango salsa and a Shetland Salmon tartare on oatcakes.
I thought it couldn’t get any better after the savouries but then the sweet course arrived with another three tiers of deliciousness! My favourites included an incredible mini lemon meringue tart, a passion fruit éclair and a mille feuille with Perthshire strawberries and grahams organic cream. They really did look and taste perfect! My partner is a chocolate fiend, you cant leave anything in the house and expect it still to be there the next day! He was head over heels in love with the Belgian chocolate and sea salted caramel tart. I always order the fruity puddings but I have to agree that this little treat was something special. If they were available to order I’d be there waiting to collect! The chocolate ganache was rich and creamy, the caramel just salty enough to balance the crunchy pastry tart case – Wow!
To finish we had a lovely little lemon sorbet and an espresso each, plus a little chocolate tart to take away – I think I went on about it a little too much to the waiter!
We can both say with complete honesty that this is the BEST Afternoon tea we have had in Edinburgh!
The Signet Library website – http://www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk/colonnades
The Colonnades is open at 9 am for Breakfast, followed by Lunches. Afternoon Tea bookings can be made from Noon (it’s never too early for Afternoon Tea), Monday to Friday and selected weekend dates in August. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you here is a link to the current Example Menu
You can book online to make your reservation or call 0131 226 1064.