It’s always a treat to visit Celtic Manor on any occasion and especially to visit the Mulberry Bar, when we were invited to try out their new afternoon tea we were very excited and couldn’t wait to go!
If you haven’t seen the Mulberry Bar before you can see our previous visit here, the decor is stunning and sitting there feels like a completely different world. On this occasion the weather was awful outside and it had been a whirlwind of a few weeks for us, so it felt like taking a brief holiday from the hustle and bustle of real life and transporting ourselves to a different world.
On arrival we were asked to choose a tea from the menu and there was an impressive selection as you can see in the image below. I went for the classic English Breakfast but the Apple Strudel and Spiced Orange also sounded wonderful and I’d love to go back to try more of the various flavours. After this the first course arrived…
To begin we were served a verrine of cauliflower cheese and welsh rarebit. This was an unexpected addition and if I’m honest, one I’m not sure on. It tasted fantastic, it was warm, cheesy and moreish and the welsh rarebit was great (I naturally wanted more!). I very much enjoyed it, it felt a bit odd to be starting an afternoon tea with it but no complaint from me!
After this course the savouries arrived! There’s a great selection of savoury treats including roast beef in Yorkshire pudding with horseradish snow, Beetroot macaroon with smoked salmon and cream cheese (yes a macaroon!), Parmesan shortbread with sun-dried tomato and pesto, and warm leek and pork Wellington with London sauce. The sandwiches included egg and truffle, cream cheese and cucumber, coronation chicken and crab.
The savouries were definitely an interesting selection. The leek and pork Wellington was tasty if a little boring, and unfortunately for me the Yorkshire pudding was a little dry and hard so I didn’t enjoy that one as much.
The beetroot macaroon was a confusing experience, I enjoyed the taste of it but it was a complete mind boggle biting into a pink macaroon and having it taste of salmon! It was a strong salmon taste so not for the faint hearted but it was a welcome change.
My favourite had to be the Parmesan shortbread with sun-dried tomato and pesto, the shortbread was perfect and you really cannot go wrong combining that with classic flavours like tomato and pesto.
For me the sandwiches were a little disappointing, the fillings were great options as they were classic with a twist. The egg and cucumber options were ok but there wasn’t much filling and with all of the indulgence of the other options it was noticeable. I was disappointed with the crab option as it was a flavour I was most looking forward to but it had so much coriander and chilli in it that you couldn’t taste the crab itself after the first few seconds of the first bite.
It was a shame as I’m sure it would have been my favourite, but the chicken won the battle of the sandwiches for me as it was well filled, the bread was fresh and the filling rich and moreish.
Hitting another level of indulgence, between the savoury and sweet courses you are requested to choose a cocktail from their menu. There are currently two options, a Tea Collins containing raspberry liquorice and lavender tea, Gordon’s sloe gin, Beefeater gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, or the Jaffa Cake, containing Chase orange gin, Chase marmalade vodka, Cointreau, white cacao liqueur, fresh orange juice and a spoon of marmalade. We chose one of each to give them both a try!
These cocktails were both outstanding, the Tea Collins was exactly the type of drink I normally choose from a menu. The lavender tea and sloe gin were a great combination and went perfectly with the afternoon tea.
The Jaffa Cake is super indulgent, I absolutely loved it being a fan of chocolate orange flavours. It was very strong alcohol wise but possibly one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. The flavours were spot on and I loved the chocolate around the rim of the glass too. If either of these cocktails take your fancy you won’t be disappointed.
Then the sweet treats arrived! Look at these absolutely pristine and perfect pastries:
In the top left you can see the elderflower and champagne delice with strawberry foam and meringue drop, on the right of that is the green tea, apple and ginger tartlet. Bottom left is the white chocolate shortbread truffle cake, and to the right of that is the candied hazelnut choux puff with vanilla and praline creme.
First of all, let’s just appreciate how absolutely beautiful they are. The colours, the different shapes and finishes and the details. I couldn’t stop staring at them!
I can’t find any criticisms to say about any of these, for each one I picked up and tried the next one was equally as amazing if not more. I didn’t want them to end (even though I was probably very full at this point!)
The elderflower and champagne delice was surprisingly strong but the chocolate helped with that. The green tea, ginger and apple tartlet was the only option without chocolate in and it was a great addition, it was delicately flavoured with the green tea and the ginger and apple combination was warming. I really liked it.
The hazelnut choux puff with vanilla and praline creme was as fantastic and chocolatey as it sounds. It was thick and creamy and I could probably eat a bowl of it if it was the only option on the table.
Lastly the white chocolate shortbread truffle cake was delicious. The white chocolate melted away to reveal the truffle inside, it was slightly pink so there must have been some raspberry involved. The entire thing just melted in my mouth and was divine, the shortbread was great but the truffle stole the show.
We then finished with homemade raisin scones with clotted cream and assorted jam. I’m a jam first and cream on top kind of girl, what is your preference?? These were lovely and fluffy and the cream and jam on top was perfect. You can never go wrong with great scones!
We had a great time and would definitely recommend anyone thinking of going to do so, it’s a great treat and worthy of trying out. The food was a bit slow at the beginning and this is probably because we were at the end of the afternoon tea slots but the service itself was great and the staff were very attentive. The only disappointment would be the sandwiches, but with all of these other treats available will you really miss them??
L and M xxx