Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt Regency? Sign me up
Recently my colleague Louise and I were fortunate enough to skip across the road from Visit Birmingham towers to the impressive Hyatt Regency. Our intention? To sample the delights of their British Afternoon Tea, and report forthwith to you - hence the skipping.
We arrived, slowed down to walking pace and entered the opulent but not imposing foyer - we were soon being shown to our table.
The tea was taken? Is that eloquent enough? Received? Well anyway it was devoured, in the Hyatt Regency’s exquisite Aria Bistro – there was no opera singing in progress, but I for one will be singing its praises for some time. Baddum-tish.
The Aria reminded me of an aviary. Imagine the most magnificent greenhouse you’ve ever seen, actually no scratch that image - it doesn’t do the space justice, but large indoor trees, soaring white pillars, dangling lights which looked a lot like wind chimes and water features evoked a very natural space - I was a particular fan of the wingback (another avian reference) chairs with a bird motif - they were gorgeous and perhaps more importantly, comfortable too.
The last time I had been to the Hyatt Regency it was for the opening of their new terraced bar, The Gentleman & Scholar - this had been a night time affair and I was surprised by how different the area looked in daylight.
The secret? The glass roof, which supplies Aria with plenty of natural light. Looking up and out behind me (cricking my neck) I could see the Hyatt’s impressive 24-storey structure, just one number shy of the building’s age - that’s right Rachel Riley - the Hyatt Regency has just celebrated its 25th birthday.
The only pitfall of these surrounds was the water feature which I was sat next to; I’m convinced I would have made 50% less toilet trips where it not for the admittedly relaxing sounds of trickling water. The pleasing mix of light greens, blues and whites also added to a calming ambience.
Anyway, to the task in hand, Afternoon Tea. There are three options available - Traditional Afternoon Tea (as you would expect), Champagne Afternoon Tea for special occasions and for (I guess) extreme special occasions you can go one tier further to Rose Champagne Afternoon Tea (you devil). We opted for the Champagne Afternoon Tea option. We would not regret our decision.
There are 10 choices of tea on offer with exotic names such as Mint Marrakesh, Green Sencha, Strawberry and Cream and Birds of Paradise – (there’s that theme again). I chose a Latte. But then I’ve never been that in to tea.
To save face, Louise had erm... English Breakfast. Adventurous or what?
The level of service was fantastic – our waiter was attentive and personable, but not intrusive. Here is the fine fellow himself serving us some champers. Thank god for him.
We didn’t have to wait long for the booty to arrive but whilst doing so, do check out the first page of the menu, it makes for interesting reading and explains the origins of Afternoon Tea. According to the blurb it was invented in England in 1840 by a ravenous Duchess called Anna. Peckish between her lunch and eight o’ clock dinner( ?), she introduced a mid way snack to tide her over – hence afternoon tea was born – it should be taken at 4 – I checked my watch... 4 huzzah - we were bang on mode.
And then, it arrived...here it is in all its splendour...what a magnificent sight to behold...
Working from bottom to top, we worked our way through the fine selection of finger sandwiches – 6 variations in all, 3 on white and 3 on brown - luckily for me, my favourite of the selection, the Cured Beef, Horseradish and Gherkin was not favoured by Louise so after some short negotiations we agreed a trade. I think I sacrificed my Smoked Salmon and Cress– I could live with that. Other iterations included Ham, English Mustard and Rocket, Cheddar Cheese and Cucumber and Tuna mayonnaise and Tomato.
Next up scones, two types and a wonderful pot of delicious clotted cream. The scones were warm which was a nice touch and duly noted.
Now for the crowning glory, perhaps that’s why they put in on top - 3 types of delicious cake – the eye catching Pistachio Mousse, my personal favourite the mango sphere and according to the menu a Strawberry macaroon, but in my opinion this had been replaced by a kind of miniature Eton mess? This was Louise’s pick of the three.
And then we were content, and all was good with the world. We left, too full to skip, but we certainly had a stride in our step.
Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt Regency is served Monday-Saturday - 12:00 noon - 5:00pm and 12:30pm - 5:00pm on Sundays
Traditional Afternoon Tea is priced at £19.00 per person, £28.00 per person for the Champagne Afternoon Tea or £30.00 for the Rose Champagne Afternoon Tea
And for any gents reading this, Afternoon Tea is not just for ladies who lunch; whilst en route to one of my water feature (pictured below) induced toilet visits, I saw a couple of businessmen enjoying a cake stand of delights. I think they were musing over who would have the last Pistachio Mousse - undoubtedly much more pressing than the latest company projections!
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