Though I absolutely loved my time at university there was one thing that I hated: exams. Finals meant months of revision, holed up in solitude and surrounded by books, no going for the drinks at the union and definitely no socialising. Even now, years later, I have bad dreams about exams and visions of sitting in the exam room with a blank piece of paper in front of me. Of course, it’s long over for me but my thoughts were very much with my friend Lauren, cramming for her final exams, missing out on fun weekends and longing for them to be over.
With the final papers handed in, it was time for Lauren to have a glass of fizz and finally enjoy summer! The Delaunay in Aldwych was the perfect place for us to indulge in afternoon tea and raise a glass to her finishing her studies and starting work full time. I’ve visited The Delaunay both for breakfast and lunch but this was the first time that I would be trying their intriguing Austrian themed afternoon tea.
The elegant, silver tiered platter that the tea was presented on was very much in fitting with the grand style of the cafe itself. The beautiful brass fittings, dark wood and imposing clock on the wall are the epitome of elegance and have all the majesty of a traditional Viennese cafe.
Now finger sandwich afternoon tea purists might not be too happy about the savoury layer of this tea but Lauren and I loved the open sandwiches which went perfectly with our chilled Pommery champagne.
Lauren has similar taste to me and we both loved the salmon on rye bread, and we were able to get a second one each. We also both really enjoyed the smoked aubergine open sandwich which made a real change to the standard cucumber or egg mayonnaise. The puff pastry and cream cheese morsel was deliciously indulgent where the smoked duck was another great alternative to the usual.
Cakes followed the Austrian theme with a rich chocolate traditional torte with mint cream, mint syrup and tia maria and a cute treble clef to bring Mozart to mind. There’s a beautiful orange blossom and rose water Battenberg with apricot jam which brings a flash of colour to the plate and a creamy mini baked vanilla cheesecake with lingonberry jam on a pastry disc.
Lauren loved the little jam tart, and with hints of cinnamon she thought it tasted like Christmas while a pistachio and poppy seed was topped with tasty creme fraiche and a little strawberry. Our champagne paired beautifully with the savouries and our waitress suggested having the hot drinks with the pastries and we celebrated with our favourites, Earl Grey for Lauren and coffee for me.
Under the silver dome is the ‘scone course’ and we were offered the choice of fruit scones or poppy seed gugelhupf. Of course, when offered a choice during afternoon tea, the only choice is both…I’d actually never had the classic Austrian ring shaped cake but it’s made with poppy seeds and sweetened with shredded pear and served with apricot jam and whipped cream. A great addition to this authentic Viennese tea.
There really is no better way to celebrate the end of exams than with cake and champagne, in a beautiful place with a good friend!
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Our afternoon tea was complimentary.