When I spied a Groupon offer for Afternoon Tea at St David’s Hotel & Spa it was definitely going in my shopping basket. The landmark hotel of Cardiff Bay was opened in 1999 as I left Cardiff, and it’s somewhere I had only managed to attend due to a conference rather than enjoy its wonderful location and reputation.
Afternoon Tea with the girls is a new habit, the perfect treat when nights out are no longer an option (nor repercussions welcomed). And so, more than a few weeks ago, four of us arranged to meet to treat ourselves before one of us became a mum to three.
I’ll be honest, my expectations weren’t high, I tried to book, and rearrange my booking outside of working hours, it was a nightmare. My bookings were constantly non-existent, regardless of online confirmations, and this was only due to me pursuing the frustrating round-circuit of pressing buttons on my phone to constantly end up back where I started.
On arrival, the service was warm and we were provided with a walk-through of the teas we could choose. As someone who likes to read a menu and then have my fingers sprawled like twister as I attempt to narrow down my choices, I was a bit off kilter as I tried to remember each one to make my choice, fortunately I managed to choose well. As well as a variety of black teas, the choice of Novus teas extends to green teas and infusions. The Persian Pomegranate was my choice, a blend of hibiscus, apple, blackberry leaves, orange peel, liquorice, pomegranate and rose petals, it really was a wonderful choice.
Tides Restaurant prides itself on its antique mismatching fine bone china, and whilst this is definitely a love of mine, I couldn’t help but think it felt out-of-place in such a contemporary setting. And I may have got a little frustrated with the mismatched tea leaves and teapot, which seemed to chime with a gap in service, the need for a teapot which didn’t stop the tea pouring as our fusion crammed in the spout became a little contentious.
Apart from the seeming clash of cultures, the afternoon tea itself was fantastic, alongside the beautiful tea was the most delicious sandwiches and pastries.
I really do need to figure out how I pace myself if Afternoon Tea is to become a habit. In addition to the stand was, of course, scones with jam and cream, and I could only admit defeat.
The sandwiches with individual breads and fillings were absolutely perfect, and at the time of eating, seemingly light. The desserts were divine, and absolutely worth each bite, albeit there soon came a point where defeat was declared.
And does it go without saying, it was the perfect accompaniment, to the conversation, of excitement, disbelief, laughter, outrage, and slight shriekings of hysteria (well, one of us was heavily pregnant, and another [in a non-related incident] is about to become an aunty).
As life marches on, afternoon tea has become the perfect alternative to a night out, where conversation becomes the focal point, making sure everything is ok, the therapy of life, that whatever is going on, you’re not alone. That you’re sane, your reactions are balanced, really.
I loved the setting of St David’s Hotel & Spa, I am sure the view over the Marina is my zen, a city life combined with the peace of the coast.
Accompanied with the best of company. Life really is good.