“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Henry James – The Portrait of a Lady
In that, I am inclined to agree.
Initially established as a private social event for ladies who climbed the echelons of society – (evidently based on my current attire I would have fitted right in…note to self don’t answer the door to the Amazon delivery guy wearing a pair of pink sheep pyjama bottoms!) It was only when Queen Victoria discovered the Afternoon Tea ritual, that it became more of a formal occasion on a much larger scale.
Thankfully, ‘the ritual’ appears to have moved on a bit over the decades, and in my case is more of an indulgence, left for special occasions. It’s certainly not as ceremonious now; some even going so far as to give you the option to ditch the tea completely, in favour of a sophisticated glass of bubbly…the less sophisticated bottomless Prosecco (it was never going to end well!)…or vintage teapots filled not with loose leaf, but gin – to be honest, sounds more my ‘cup of G & tea’.
While Laguna’s Hendricks Afternoon Tea is still firmly on my radar, on this occasion it was their exclusive pink themed tea that sang out to my sweet tooth. Kicking my cake cravings into full swing, the fact it coincided with my Mum’s birthday celebration, provided the perfect opportunity to make a reservation.
With tea dresses left firmly in the closet (and more reluctantly pink pyjamas – although in keeping with the theme of the afternoon, they would have been perfect), we donned our glad rags, and headed into Cardiff. Located in the Park Plaza Hotel on Greyfriars Road, I have previously visited Laguna on a number of occasions. A spacious and contemporary style restaurant offering Modern British Cuisine, as well as afternoon tea, I can also highly recommend their à la carte offering.
Anyway…back to those cakes.
Aside from our own celebration, this was in fact a special afternoon tea. Every October, and in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Laguna Kitchen host an exclusive themed Afternoon Tea, where 10% from every Pink Afternoon Tea purchased is donated to Breast Cancer Care Cymru. An incredible charity both in Wales, and the UK – it was fantastic to see the restaurant raising awareness of their amazing work.
Opting for the traditional tea, as opposed to the Champagne option, there were a range of choices to accompany our delights; from the usual English Breakfast and Earl Grey, to White Peach Blossom, Peppermint Rooibos and Chinese Oolong tea – Iron Goddess of Mercy.
A selection of delicate finger sandwiches included tasty fillings of Severn and Wye Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Dill, Cucumber and Crème Fraiche, Free Range Egg Mayonnaise and Cress, and Home Roasted Ham. With no crusts to negotiate (quite frankly my hair is curly enough!), and a choice of granary and white, the bread was beautifully soft and fresh.
Tier two took us a step up onto the sweeter treats; with a traditional warm Welsh cake and a sultana scone each; they were freshly baked, and accompanied with butter, Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.
I’m not sure about anyone else, but every time I have afternoon tea, I always have an inner argument with myself, as to the age old scone dilemma of ‘is it jam, or cream first?’ One voice cheers for the Cornish approach of preserve first, while the other chants nooo…must do it Devon-style…cream first, cream first! Aside from the fact, that I am evidently losing the plot, and that I’ll probably get blasted for saying this, I believe that both taste equally as delicious…others may disagree! Needless, to say I did cheat on my Devonshire clotted cream by going Cornish – I am sorry, it wasn’t you…it was me!
The view from the top tier of delicacies, provided a spectacular pink hue of deliciousness. Strawberry cupcakes with an indulgent, butter cream topping, were accompanied on the plate by baby pink butter cream sponges, mini tarts with a stunning strawberry compote and meringue filling, and champagne and strawberry jelly with Chantilly cream.
Evoking memories of childhood birthday parties (ok, just the strawberry jelly…before you think, ‘what type of parties did she get invited to!’) – the addition of Champagne ensured the ‘grown up’ version was more a treat on the tastebuds. Add to that, a large dollop of Chantilly cream, and I could have done with Gregg Wallace’s bigger spoon!
- A truly indulgent experience in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere; made even more perfect in the knowledge that in some small way, you were helping to support such a wonderful charity.
- Why not take a seat in the Laguna Bar afterwards, and try some of the wonderful cocktails on offer.
- You can never have enough cake. Ok…I’ll revise that slightly, you can never have enough cake; but ensure you are wearing pink pyjamas with an elasticated waistband – ha ha! Also take into consideration your activities afterwards, including checking public transport times, so you don’t have to sprint the length of Cardiff Central platform to catch your train. Argh!
Would I recommend Afternoon Tea at the Laguna Kitchen & Bar?
While the pink themed tea only runs throughout the month of October, Laguna Kitchen also offers a Traditional Afternoon Tea, a Gentleman’s Tea, the aforementioned Hendricks Gin Tea. and as I type a Festive Afternoon Tea (running throughout December).
So if you fancy a break from all that Christmas shopping, I would highly recommend taking a few hours out for a spot of tea. You can make a reservation on Laguna Kitchen’s website, or contact them directly.
Traditional Afternoon Festive Tea
Mon-Fri | £19.95 and Sat-Sun | £22.95
Champagne Afternoon Tea including a Glass of Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne
Mon-Fri | £26.95 and Sat-Sun | £29.95
Address | Park Plaza Hotel, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL
Telephone: 02920 111 103