Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian used to be the Edinburgh Princes Street Railway Station. The original station concourse and ticket office are roofed over to provide a bar and lounge area and incorporates the station clock.
I love the story behind Peacock Alley and very Waldorf Astoria has one!
The original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel began as two hotels, the Waldorf and the Astoria, built by feuding cousins William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor IV in 1893 and 1897 respectively. They were located on Fifth Avenue, New York where the Empire State Building stands today.
Peacock Alley salutes the original Waldorf-Astoria, which was the hub of the city’s social life at the turn-of-the-century. The two hotels were joined by a 300-foot long, mirrored corridor, which became the city’s chicest haunt to debut the latest fashions. At both ends of that corridor were very grand restaurants and it became the ‘in’ thing for society’s elite to wander back and forth between the two as a means of showing off their splendor which reminded people of ‘peacocks strutting’. The phrase stuck and the corridor became known as Peacock Alley. When the current hotel was opened in 1931, homage was paid to the Peacock Alley and a hallway off the lobby was created in its name.
And so this was the perfect setting to sample The Caledonians latest offer to Afternoon Tea. They are bringing a taste of summer to the city with the launch of its new summer berries and chocolate-themed Afternoon Tea.
A seasonal twist on the hotel’s classic afternoon tea offering, the limited edition experience includes a number of savoury and sweet treats, including delicious redcurrant choux buns, strawberry tarts, and raspberry and blueberry cupcakes, each laced with the finest Scottish summer fruits, sourced from Blacketyside Farm in Fife. A sumptuous white chocolate and strawberry dome, handcrafted by the Hotel’s Executive Chef Ryan McFarlane, crowns the top tier of the tea stand.
Diners can also opt to enhance the experience with the addition of a chocolate fountain and various dipping accompaniments, plus choose from a selection of more than thirty loose leaf teas and herbal infusions.
The Afternoon Tea is scrumptious and I think it’s best to let the photographs do the talking here!
For Fingers Sandwiches we have:
- Rare Roast Beef, tangy red onion and mustard mayonnaise.
- Black pepper cheddar, apple chutney on fruit and nut bread
- Bitter Chocolate, blue cheese and pear tart
The round tart of bitter chocolate, blue cheese and pear were amazing. The pasty was short and crisp and the combination of these ingredients was inspired!
Finger Sandwiches continued :
- Tandoori Chicken, mango chutney and coriander wrap
- Connage Highland Crowdie and cucumber
- Smoked Salmon and Prawn Marie rose brioche bun
Moving on to the pasties (below) :
- White Chocolate and Strawberry Dome
- Red Current Choux Bun
- Chocolate and Blackberry Slice
- Blacketyside Farm Strawberry Tart
- Raspberry and Blueberry Cupcake
- Dark and White Chocolate Macaroon
Freshly baked scones, plain and milk chocolate served with jam and clotted cream.
They have 33 different teas available including red, white and green tea variations.
At our table we opted for the :
- Women’s Tea – a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, apple, rooibos, ginger, raspberry leaves, fennel, chamomile blossom, alchemilla, clove, orange peel, St. John’s Wort, black pepper, juniper berries and goose grass. Perfect to soothe body and mind.
- Men’s Tea – a blend of apple, rooibos, cinnamon, bean peel, ginger, mistletoe, St. John’s Wort, lemongrass, field eryngo herb, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, lemon peel and ginseng root. This infusion is invigorating and stimulating
- Vanilla Chai – a spicy blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pink pepper and organic rooibos. To soften these warm spices, we add vanilla and cornflowers. A mouth-watering combination.
- Wild Berries The richness of blackcurrants, blueberries, elderberries, strawberry & raspberry pieces is complemented with soft papaya pieces and hibiscus blossom.
You can of course opt for Champagne or a cocktail or two. We won’t judge!
The summer berries & chocolate afternoon tea is available until 31 August and is served from 12-5pm, Monday to Friday and 12-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. They also have vegan and gluten free Afternoon Tea options too.
Prices start at £35 per person. To book, call 0131 222 8945.
The Waldorf Astoria, The Caledonian, Princes Street. www.waldorfastoriaedinburgh.com
My Spoon Award : Gold