An Afternoon in the Grand Central Hotel

On Monday past, I spent the afternoon at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast for afternoon tea, and is there a better way to spend a Monday? Let’s be real. There isn’t.

In the Grand Central, there are two places to have afternoon tea. In the Observatory, which boasts gorgeous views of all of Belfast. But that is definitely subjective to how beautiful you think Belfast is! This afternoon tea costs £40 per person. Or you can enjoy your tea in the Seahorse Lounge (which is slightly cheaper at £30 a head).

We had our afternoon tea in the Observatory for my Auntie’s 40th birthday celebration (if I don’t get a slap for dropping her age, I’ll be shocked). It was so lovely! And it should be, really, for 40 quid.

We first were asked which teas or coffees we would like to try. We were told that this was unlimited so we could be quite adventurous and try different types of tea if we would like. I, of course, had to give all the different tea leaves a great big sniff, then ultimately chose the Hastings Signature Loose Leaf Blend. Because I’m as bland as a rich tea biscuit.

Then we got our food.

We started with an amuse bouche (which didn’t really amuse my bouche, but I’m just not a big cheese fan) and some big glasses of Prosecco (of course!). The amuse bouche consisted of goat’s cheese and balsamic vinegar caviar, all presented lovely inside a pink ice-cream cone. It was really quite lovely to look at but the flavour just about turned me inside out.

The Amuse Bouche

Next came the savouries. We had a selection of 4 finger sandwiches; Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese with Pickled Cucumber on Guinness Bread; Tomato & Goat’s Cheese on Black Olive Bread; Free Range Egg Mayonnaise & Cress on White Bread; and Roast Irish Chicken, Lemon & Thyme Mayonnaise with Baby Gem on Granary Bread. Not too shabby for a selection of sandwiches!

The sandwich selection

But finally, the star of the hour was presented. The tiered platter of delicious treats just asking to be torn into! We were given; Plain and Fruit Scones; Warm Ginger Cakes; Éclairs with Chocolate & Praline; Elderflower and Rhubarb Panna Cottas; Lemon Meringue Tarts; Macaroons; and Blackberry and Star Anise Friands. It was truly quite the selection and so much more than what we could fit into our bellies by this point. And we took a good crack at it.

The heavenly tiered platter of deliciousness!

After the treats and tea were finished, I decided I just HAD to try a cocktail. I went with the Botanical Gardens. All the cocktails in the Grand Central are named after prominent Belfast landmarks, such as, City Hall, Harland’s Wolff and The Albert. The cocktail was just what the doctor ordered, but the £17 price tag definitely wasn’t!

The £17 cocktail that must contain some sort of gold?

All in all, it was a super day! The afternoon tea, albeit pretty pricy, was definitely an enjoyable experience and I’m glad I’ve tried it.

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