Sandwiched between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea is a crafty way of treating yourself in between meals that I wholly approve of.
So after hours of trying on dresses and hats for Summer weddings, my mum and I gratefully sank into a calm and comfortable booth at The Balcony in Selfridges to try their new afternoon tea.
Shown to our table and given water straight away by Samantha, our waitress then took our drinks orders. As you would expect from a champagne bar the choice of bubbles, cocktails and wines were extensive, but less so on the beverages, so we opted for standard green tea and a flat white.
Here comes a spoiler alert! Our spirits were raised when a jolly orange Searcy’s hatbox was brought to the table, opening to reveal three layers of finger sandwiches, scones and macarons plus desserts.
Straight from the fridge the sandwiches were not quite at room temperature, but the colourful trio were tasty enough if not over generous on the filings. Beef and mustard on tomato bread, cucumber and cream cheese on spinach bread and salmon and crème frâiche on brown bread were all light and fresh.
We then moved onto the floury mini scones, which were gone in two bites.
I have been told by a patisserie chef that macarons are deceptively time consuming to make. If you adopt the ‘French Meringue’ method you could be straining egg whites for up to 48 hours in advance and sifting the flour up to three times to get that smooth shiny finish. I hope that the chef hadn’t gone to all that effort to create our mixed berry macarons as, even with a pause to admire the creamy vanilla centre, they were gone in seconds!
Dinky choux buns piped with creamy lemon curd had a pleasing zest and the dusting of crushed pistachio nuts is a nice touch.
Next we tried the strawberry jam tart topped with clotted cream, with a pastry base.
We saved the best until last. The blackcurrant slice wasn’t a delice with mousse or a millefeuille with razor-thin pastry, so we pondered on this while we enjoyed layers of moist almond-flavoured sponge topped with a glossy dark chocolate layer.
Pretty and dainty is the order of the day here for The Balcony’s afternoon tea, which takes favourite desserts from the main menu and creates miniature versions with eyecatching presentation.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 3pm to 7pm and costs £36 for two people. That includes a selection of seasonal sandwiches, classic scones, clotted cream and jam as well a selection of mini cakes.
Value for money: 3/5
The Balcony, 4th floor, Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham http://www.thebalcony.co.uk
The Balcony is offering Midlands Gourmet Girl readers a chance to win afternoon tea for two!
- The prize is afternoon tea for two people at The Balcony, Selfridges, Birmingham.
- To enter the prize draw, entrants must retweet one of the Midlands Gourmet Girl Twitter posts.
- The competition will run on Twitter from Monday 11 July to Sunday 17 July 2016.
- There will be one winner, chosen at random when the competition closes.
- The winner will be announced on Twitter, and further contact details may be requested in order to arrange the prize.
- The Balcony serves afternoon tea from 3pm until 7pm daily, with limited availability and booking required on weekends.
- The prize excludes Saturdays and must be redeemed within one month.
- The exact time and date will be subject to availability and must be booked directly with The Balcony 0121 600 6869.
- The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered.