Afternoon tea has made something of a comeback and it is such a lovely, quintessential British tradition I have to wonder why it ever went out of fashion. There are plenty of places offering a fine selection of sandwiches, cakes and tea, but I can highly recommend the afternoon tea available within the shopping complex that is Grand Central. I have just spent the loveliest hour with my husband enjoying the afternoon tea at Caffe Concerto located on the upper floor of Grand Central.
We arrived at 3pm and ordered our tea. I had a Jasmin Green tea, Mr. Red had English breakfast tea and we were asked to choose a table and our tea would be bought over. If you have never had afternoon tea before, it traditionally consists of a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, warm scones served with clotted cream & jam and a selection of cakes.
Starting from the bottom of the cake stand our finger sandwiches were salmon & cream cheese, cheese & tomato relish, egg, cucumber & cream cheese. The sandwiches were fresh and full of lovely ingredients, the tomato relish accompanying the cheese and tomato was fresh, fruity and zesty, the smoked salmon was generous and in perfect proportions to compliment the cream cheese, I skipped the cucumber and cream cheese as I know just how filling this innocent plate of goodies is. Mr. Red. Said it was lovely crisp cucumber with the right amount of cream cheese.
Our teas arrived and I was very surprised to get two and a half cups from my pot, the pots look small but they are very deceptive. My Jasmin tea was light and hot, just the way I love it. Mr. Red enjoyed his pot of English breakfast tea so much he had to order a second pot to help wash his sandwiches down.
On to the next tier of our pretty cake stand, the scones. With the choice of plain and fruit scones on our stand, I plumped for just one, the plain. Mr. Red took his role as quality controller very seriously and had both plain and fruit. Served with a little pot of clotted cream and the cutest tiny jar of strawberry jam.
The scones were one item we agreed to disagree. It’s a big deal, and I mean a really big deal, does the jam go on first or does the jam go on top of the cream? Devon and Cornwall have almost fought wars over which way is correct. For myself, I put the cream on first and just a small amount of jam smeared on top of the lovely thick cream. Mr. Red is a jam first type of man. Our scones arrived warm and smelled divine, I think the scones are my favourite part of a proper traditional afternoon tea and ours were super, fresh, soft and light.
The top tier of our afternoon tea had a selection of four desserts. Sadly after our sandwiches and scones we only managed to eat three of these. I had the strawberry cheesecake which was lovely, very fruity, light and not overly sweet. Mr. Red had the pistachio and white chocolate mousse which had a real hit of white chocolate, was sprinkled with pistachios and served in a shot glass. Then on to the star of the show, the chocolate cheesecake, oh my! This is one seriously grown up and sophisticated dessert. Rich and dark chocolate with just a subtle hint of sweetness, it was perfect to share as it was just so very rich I really couldn’t manage much more than a few tiny bites.
Mr. Red and I were having such a nice time we decided to have another drink, as I said earlier Mr. Red had a second pot of tea and I opted for a glass of wine, the Pinot Grigio I had was great value at £5.85 and served very cold it had a wonderful aroma of bananas and for me was the perfect finish for my lovely afternoon tea. It was a good size for a large glass too, and served in a really nice glass.
As well as being a really nice spot to call in for a cup of tea Caffe Concerto also have a splendid selection of cakes and pastries available, ice creams and sandwiches. The cakes are particularly beautiful as well as being really tasty, you will be spoilt for choice.
This Black Forest Gataux definitely caught my eye, it looks far too pretty to cut. The selection of cakes very much reminded me of the patisseries I saw on my last visit to Paris.
Afternoon tea at Caffe Concerto is a very affordable treat. It’s a great option if you want to have something a little special, and somewhere I’d love to take a visitor to Birmingham. Full afternoon tea costs £11.95
But if you don’t have an hour to spare you can get a sandwich, drink and crisps for £5.95 and I also noticed the cocktails were advertised as a happy hour special Monday to Friday 5pm-8pm the deal being you buy one, you get a second drink for half price. Our service was impeccable and very polite. Caffe Concerto is a lovely space, under the dome that is Grand Central it’s light, bright, airy and vibrant. With dark wood tables adorned with a brass lamp it is certainly upmarket enough for a lovely afternoon date.
Although I was invited to attend Caffe Concerto at no cost to myself, this is my honestly held view. I was invited along for afternoon tea and I bought my own wine as I was having such a nice time eating my desserts.
let me know if you have any thoughts as to which way the cream and jam should be on the scones.