The ‘Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea’ at The Attrium Lounge, The Westin Dublin in Ireland
The word peculiar can conjuror up connotations for whatever in question could go awfully wrong or surprisingly well. An afternoon tea entitled ‘A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea’ in this case could go either way.
Whilst staying at The Westin Dublin for a long weekend break we booked to try this tea menu within the hotel’s grand Attrium Lounge found within the core of the property. A glass roof exposing daylight from above and filling the space with natural light, we take our place in some soft velvet armchairs and at a small round table. A safe bet, we order two glasses of prosecco to start before being handed the ‘peculiar menu’.
Mirrored by the Traditional Afternoon Tea menu to the right hand side, of cucumber, egg, rocket, salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, scones and a selection of sponges that you would expect to fit the bill, this menu does tempt more of a traditional means. Aside from convention we follow thorough.
Nodding along to the narrative of Alice in Wonderland, aside from our flutes the said ‘peculiar’ menu is washed down with a Victorian Mojito served in a tea pot to share. Having not come across or even being aware that Mojitos have a Victorian heritage, this minty concoction is a mix of Hendrick’s gin, mint, lime and ‘freshly pressed churched apple juice.’ We are surprised by the smooth sweet cocktail and which goes down better than the bad memories of past homemade Mojitos.
Savoury to start, the peculiar menu is strikingly more sophisticated than slapdash. Presented to us on a layers of slate plates, starting from the top we work our way downwards. An elegant start: confit of pork cheek with truffle parmesan aioli, devilled crayfish mayonnaise in a charcoal wafer cone (something of a miniature savoury ice cream cone), roast turkey, arugula, spiced avocado and tomato involtine, salmon gravadlax, wasabi caviar (‘peculiar’ yes), dill cream cheese on a beetroot waffle and finally; honeyed goat’s cheese dipper with Kalamanta olive and tomato tapenade served in small jars which proved a favourite.
An interlude set aside solely for banana and walnut bread with maple and cinnamon butter, I am instantly reminded of overcooked banana bread from school days. I state that I doubt mine will be finished and my guests greedy eyes proceed to widen. I am surprised – sweet, soft and yes moist, I finish off my portion and even now could have more. Recommended ‘peculiar’ or not.
Further down, cookies attempt to obscure themselves as ‘cat tongues’ with white chocolate and saffron ganache; marshmallows are laden with popping candy, panacotta is given a toffee popcorn twist that works remarkably well and a chocolate mousse served in a mini tea cup with chocolate soil. A strawberry bakewell tart is given an attempt of difference with the faint addition of frangipane.
On reflection, ‘peculiar’ on this occasion resulted in a pleasant surprise. Well thought out ingredients with a fun panache thrown in, it’s only the word ‘peculiar’ that arguably gives this menu a negative connotation. The Peculiar Afternoon Tea is available at €36 per head (tea pot included) whilst for those playing it safe, the ‘Traditional’ is priced at €34 with the choice of a €16 supplement for champagne or €8 prosecco.
Address: The Westin Dublin, Dublin, D02 HR67, Ireland, Phone: +353 1 645 1000, thewestindublin.com