Oh it was a driech day. The rain was pelting it down and everyone walking in the door was drenched only to be met with some of the friendliest waiting staff I have come across in Edinburgh.
We were afternoon tea-ing at Patisserie Valerie on North Bridge. It does have a slight Parisian parlour feel to it, with waiting staff dressed the part and glass cabinets overflowing with elaborate cakes, super shiny mirror glazes and tarts stuffed with rainbow coloured fruit delights.
Coats off and seated, we both went straight for an order of Hot Chocolate and went for the full on version with cream. For me this is how I remember hot chocolate as a kid, before we had all the flavoured versions, the skinny versions or the super sugared up versions. A bitter sweet hot chocolate with whipped cream but only if you had been good!
With Afternoon Tea for two ordered, we sat back and people watched. I was amazed at how varied the guests were; young guys tucking into cream cakes and coffee, older ladies jabbering away over lunch, a family in enjoying the Afternoon Tea and groups of tourists all ‘oooo-ing’ and ‘ahhh-ing’ at the cake counters and pointing at cakes they wanted to take away on a walk up the Royal Mile.
The Afternoon Tea is substantial for two people. There is an abundance of food and all for £25 for two.
As you can see there are three tiers overflowing with savoury, patisserie and scones.
The best way to do this is tier by tier. First up the patisserie. This was filled with a mini Victoria sandwich, mini chocolate éclairs, mini carrot & walnut cake slice, a mini mixed berry mousse slice and a mini double chocolate mousse slice.
The double choc mousse slice was my favourite here with stunning chocolate curl shavings. It was decadent, rich, soft and utterly melt in your mouth.
My afternoon tea partner nominated the carrot and walnut slice as her favourite. This was moist with lovely small chunks of walnut and possibly candied fruit.
Middle tier was dedicated to the savoury palate with 5 types of finger sandwiches and a vegetable quiche.
A rainbow of sandwiches starting with Cucumber on white bread; Ham, spinach and mustard on white bread; Egg mayonnaise and cress on brown bread; Smoked salmon and cream cheese on brown bread and the one that didn’t quite make it into the photo as we’d already eaten them, the Chicken, pesto and sunblazed tomatoes on brown bread. All beautifully uniform, precise and fresh. The bread was soft and the fillings generous.
You’ll find very tasty Vegetable Quiches on this platter too. This was super yummy. The pastry was short and crumbly and the filling was quite light and slightly creamy. It felt quite good to eat a few vegetables in the middle of this feast.
Onto the bottom tier which for me is the best part. I love scones with jam and cream and butter. All the bad but really good stuff.
Two plain scones and two fruit scones! PLUS a large bowl of clotted cream (little did they know that leaving a bowl of clotted cream on my table means no more clotted cream for anyone else!) and the most delightful wee jars of a variety of jams from Bonne Maman. Flavours were raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrent and honey.
I tried a wee bit of everything and couldn’t decide on my favourite – blackcurrent or raspberry???!?! (see what I mean about the cream? more cream than scone).
The scones had a hint of vanilla, light and pulled apart easily creating the perfect vehicle for mouthfuls of heavenly flavour combos to be delivered straight into your belly.
I had never tried honey with scones and cream before but I had to think it through first. My usual scone build is – scone, a light smear of butter, jam and then a big dollop of cream but there was no way cream would stay on top of runny hunny. So I had to change my natural order here – scone, butter, CREAM then honey. Gosh was it good. The honey was only slightly sweet but lovely and runny and gooey!
After working our way through everything I was still in the mood for more cake and ever since Christmas I had been craving a Black Forest Gateau. Our lovely waitress Amelia brought one over. I just wanted one bite to see if it was what I was after all these months.
O my gosh! It hit the spot. Lush layers of soft chocolate sponge, thin layers of tart, rich cherry filling topped with thick whipped cream icing and repeated! My fork slide through the layers like a hot knife through butter. Ahhh this is what cake heaven tastes like!
And back….. !
I have to say that the staff here are a real credit to Patisserie Valerie North Bridge. They are all so friendly and full of great banter which is what is needed in a very busy tourist spot like this. Our waitress Amelia was fantastic and looked after not only us, but all the other customers amazingly well. Special treatment is available to everyone!
Thanks to Patisserie Valerie for a truly wonderful, fun, eyes are officially bigger than my belly afternoon tea.
Patisserie Valerie, North Bridge, Edinburgh. Tel : 0131 5571533
My Spoon Award : Gold 9/10