Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic, ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ turned 150 last year.
‘I give myself good advice, but I seldom follow it’. For years the book has delighted and amused me in equal measures so an invitation to experience a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at One Square at the Sheraton, Edinburgh was for once, good advice I was going to follow.
I was also ‘curiouser and curiouser’ as to how they would execute the tea experience for an adult audience as four years earlier, my very talented Brazilian sister-in-law had created the same themed party for my niece’s 2nd birthday. With so much attention to detail that had been months in the planning, it was the best children’s party I have ever been to, enjoyed by the kids and adults alike.
I wasn’t disappointed. The Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea was a theatre of wonderful finishing touches, like miniature playing cards in the tea strainer and White Rabbit shaped linen napkins and with a table with an amazing backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, we couldn’t help but be delighted.
We also had added entertainment from a group of very able bodied 20-somethings executing ‘parkour‘ in Festival Square, using the urban environment to perform death defying stunts.
Our waiter brought us the leather tea caddy from which to select our teas and explained the way the afternoon would unfold. With 12 different teas to choose from, I opted for the ‘Superfruity’.
The teas are freshly prepared at your table, with a Twinings tea timer, depending on your selection, to ensure its brewed to its optimum strength.
Afternoon tea offerings can sometimes be hit or miss, with not enough balance between savoury and sweet but the Sheraton have completely hit the nail on the head.
The amuse bouche starter of pea panna cotta, lemon cream and cheese bread, was sublime, silky and smooth and a wonderful introduction to what was to follow. I’m still salivating over the the warm Humpty Dumpty rabbit and quail scotch egg which is possibly one of the tastiest bites I’ve ever eaten.
With a seafood allergy, the team kindly substituted the smoked salmon, creme fraiche on rye bread with a fennel pollen macaron, for a double helping of chicken, bacon, cream cheese and pickled cucumber on a delicate crouton.
A top hat of freshly-made miniature beetroot and chocolate, green tea and mint and plain scones was also on offer, served with unsalted butter, Devonshire clotted cream and rhubarb compote.
And for the finale, the sweet selection consisted of a checker board praline eclair, a shortbread playing card, a raspberry coconut heart, and my favourites being a white rabbit lemon and vanilla pocket watch macaron, a coffee and chocolate cup, and a bright purple chocolate Cheshire cat, which grinned at us from the plate, willing us to ‘eat me’.
There was also the ‘drink me’ berry milkshake, which was beautifully tart with a smooth consistency.
To quote the King in Alice, who said ‘Begin at the beginning . . and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’ We did!
Rather embarrassingly, we managed to do justice too well to all the food and didn’t require a ‘doggy bag’ to take home, unlike some of the other tables.
Make sure you arrive with a good appetite (perhaps forgo lunch) and a sense of ‘If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.’
I will be back. This fun and wonderful culinary treat is available daily, in One Square, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm throughout April and May 2016 and at £27 per person, is great value.
One Square at the Sheraton
1 Festival Square
Edinburgh EH3 9SR
Telephone: 0131 221 6422
Kerry dined at the invitation of One Square at the Sheraton, Edinburgh