REVIEW : Afternoon Tea at The Ivy on the Square

There are three things you notice about the Ivy on the Square.

One, the location. It’s pretty darn near perfect. Located around St Andrews Square, a constant hive of activity in Edinburgh’s East End; their neighbours are the big hard hitting London restaurants who too have settled in Edinburgh – Dishoom, Hawksmoor and The Refinery and it’s within easy walking distance from the trams, Waverley train station and Princes Street.

Two, it’s decor. It’s lavish. The art deco themed decor is grand, with bold geometric lines, pops of bright lush green and extravagant gold. It’s oozes exquisite craftmanship and invites you in.

Three, the staff. Immaculately dressed and friendly enough but with a wee touch of haughtiness (only to the extent that you’d expect from a fine dining restaurant with a reputation such at the Ivy).

We came for Afternoon Tea. Ushered to a booth window seat with views leading down to Princes street, the sun was streaming in the large floor to ceilings windows. Our waiter came over, introduced himself and took our order. There are three Afternoon teas available namely, the Cream Tea (£7.95), the Classic Afternoon Tea(£17.95) and the Champagne Afternoon Tea (£25.95).

Now this is what I would call a teapot. It’s brilliantly polished and very shiny, but also rather heavy and the lid super hot! (you’ll only find this out however, if like me, you like to lift the lid look at your tea). Once you engage your muscles and pick up the pot, it’s a perfect pourer and the tea is brewed to perfection. Tea magic.

Our Classic Afternoon Tea was brought to our table after a slight delay, not that we really noticed too much as we were gabbing away happily. Plates laden with savoury and sweet treats awaited.

As always we start that the bottom with the savoury dishes. This was a lovely and very welcome twist on bog standard sandwiches. A lovely open brioche slice sandwich loaded with truffled chicken.

The brioche bread was soft and spongy and slightly sweet, whilst the chicken was creamy but not overbearingly so, large juicy succulent chunks of chicken with a great big smack of garlic. Heavenly! Unfortunately, there was two of us and two sandwiches (I would happily have eaten both).

The next plate was classic v twist. The cucumber sandwich is quintessentially British Afternoon Tea and the slight sprinkling of dill elevated this otherwise poor boring sandwich.

The salmon with cream cheese on rye bread was pleasant. I do like their open sandwiches.

And now the top tier. A medley of sweets but the decision on which to eat first required much pondering and another cuppa tea.

I thought that putting them all on my plate might help make the decision easier… did a little. I decided to start with the Creme Brulee Doughnut. About the size of a golf ball, it was light and delicate and once you bit into it, the brulee filling oozed out the sides. I really should have eaten it in a one-er but I was trying to be posh!

Up next the Raspberry Cheesecake. This was delightful. The whole tart was amazingly light and airy. Great pops of slightly sweet tartness from the fresh raspberries.

Then it was time for the pièce de résistance and in celebration of Summer, the Nursery Pot or miniature pot plant featuring an indulgent chocolate topping, lavender cream and edible flowers.

The top layer is chocolate soil, then lavender cream, then a chocolate and salted caramel mousse. It’s very soft and the only texture comes from the chocolate soil, so I suggest ‘digging’ deep and making sure each spoonful has a little bit of each layer on it. It’s rich so this mini pot is ample.

Lurking, waiting patiently at the side of the savoury/sweet tower was the smaller cake stand of scones with jam, cream and fresh strawberries.

Two fruit scones each and I’m delighted to report, a very decent sized dollop of clotted cream. The scones were buttery with a golden crust and warmed through. I rarely sandwich my scones but decided to slather the cream on one half, the strawberry preserve on the other with the fresh strawberries inbetween. What a way to finish off Afternoon Tea!

Afternoon Tea at the Ivy is all about a special occasion. It’s decadent, indulgent and utterly extravagant. It’s competitively priced in relation to other Afternoon Tea’s around Edinburgh but it has a certain Joie de vivre or sparkle that you won’t find elsewhere.

Available until 31 August 2018 3pm-5pm daily.

The Ivy on the Square, 6 St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2BD                                              Tel : 0131 5264777

My Spoon Award : Silver 8/10

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