One Square is fast gaining a reputation of being the place to go to discover gin. Not only does it have its own in house gin, but they have more than 60 different brands that their knowledgeable gin concierges can advise upon. So it makes perfect sense that a gin themed afternoon tea should feature.
It was a graduation day. Hundreds of students streamed out of the Usher Hall with their proud families. Some were celebrating with afternoon tea. We joined them.
Our attentive waiter suggested bringing us cocktails whilst the tea was freshly prepared. My gin cocktail featuring Caorunn Gin was particularly refreshing on such a hot day! My companion L had a non-alcoholic pina colada which was lightly, creamy and delicious.
We spent several minutes opening the beautifully presented jars of tea presented to us in a box, and smelling each in turn. This was a perfect way to choose the tea we’d drink with our food. L declared she wasn’t too keen on fruity teas usually, but ended up choosing the Elderflower and Blossom Darjeeling and thoroughly enjoyed it.
To start an amuse bouche. A refreshing jelly to start our adventure.
Our three tiered tray of goodies was delivered. The bottom tier would later be swapped out for scones.
The savoury layer was enticing. No sandwiches here but Crowdie cheese on a bridge roll, chicken rillette on foccacia and beetroot cured Loch Duart salmon on pumpernickel bread. I was particularly happy to see the sausage roll – as far as I am concerned something that should be on afternoon tea plates more often.
The bottom plate was whisked away and scones appeared. In another departure from tradition, two of the scones were flavoured and coloured: Cranberry orange and chocolate and served with apple redcurrant jam. I am a traditionalist at heart when it comes to scones. I prefer mine scones plain or perhaps with raisins with raspberry or strawberry jam.
We continued up to the next tier. Here we discovered Dandelion and Burdock Turkish Delight – this was like a posh fruit pastille and a gin and tonic mousse which was delicately flavoured and particularly pretty with its stripey layers and blue Borage flower on top. We relished the hit of chocolate from the chocolate and juniper truffle. A lovely touch included edible One Square chocolate squares.
On the top layer the gin theme was encapsulated in a rose macaron into which you injected gin. Alas for me this also squirted in my direction – I ducked! This layer also included our two favourite items of the tea. (Hard to choose, but we felt we had to). The raspberry and lemon burnt cream was gorgeous. The filo pastry crisp and the filling had just the right amount of tartness. The orange and hazelnut Paris Brest was very special with praline orange flavours. At this stage we were trying very hard to finish all of it (after all we’ve been brought up never to leave food on the plate), but we were just about defeated.
My only regret? Much as I loved the gin fizz cocktail, I would loved to have tasted the Caorunn gin on its own. It is small batch gin created in Scotland using foraged botanicals. I’ll just have to go back!
The gin afternoon tea is £25 per person.
Edinburgh Foody dined at the invitation of One Square.
1 Festival Square
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Telephone: 0131 221 6422