We have had a lot of reviews about our Afternoon Tea in our Brighton tea shop, Metrodeco.
And, although nearly all are very favourable, one or two have questioned whether the sandwiches are traditional enough (“too big” apparently!).
Yet, we can see the reason for these questions: a traditional English Afternoon Tea is served with tiny soft bread sandwiches – no crusts please! – and very traditional fillings such as egg and cress and ham and mustard.
Bite sized is best and this applies right through to the scones and fancies. Cakes should be English such as lemon drizzle and Battenburg.
These days, however, there are many possible variations – and some of them can add a sprinkle of fun and pezaz.
So how do we do Afternoon Tea in Brighton…and what traditions are not open for debate?
Certain elements are an absolute must – bone china tea cups for example. But do they have to be vintage or can they be modern? We prefer cups and saucers from the glamorous 1930s and 40s, like the set in the picture below taken at Metrodeco.
As for the tea itself, few would dispute that it should always be loose leaf. But is it sacrilege to offer infusions which, by definition, don’t contain any tea at all? They’re herbs, fruit and flowers all the way. Is that uncouth?
Of course, a traditional Afternoon Tea can’t be served on anything other than three tiered cake stands…but which tier should each of the delicacies be placed on? What is the etiquette?
We’re clear: our Afternoon Tea, from the bottom, is sandwiches, then scones, then cakes. There is absolutely no excuse for anything else other than clotted cream with the scones – that’s a must! – but can you veer away from strawberry jam and go for perhaps blackcurrant or even plum and rosemary instead? We do.
As for the scones themselves, raisin or plain? Now there’s a contentious question – we do both.
And back to the sandwiches – open sandwiches are becoming popular and we serve them on request at Metrodeco. They delight the eyes as well as the taste buds and our customers love them.
We use mini rolls rather than sliced bread and, although they are a move away from tradition, they are delightfully petite.
We serve traditional fillings and toppings but have sometimes introduced alternatives such as Swiss cheese with sundried tomato, chicken with pesto and even avocado with rocket.
We do not only use English cakes. We use petit fours and macaroons. Mini éclairs and delectable little chocolate mousses and not a Victoria sponge in sight. Is this a crime? I suppose that’s up to you to decide.
Here’s what we think. If the food looks good and tastes good and you are in good company then don’t worry about what is right and wrong…there are more important things to talk about.
Like who does this Lady Grey think she is – flouncing around in her 50 pairs of shades? That’s definitely not traditional!
Follow this link to book Afternoon Tea at Metrodeco at £18 per person or £16 during the week. Bubbles/Champagne available!