The Goring hotel will be known to most as the hotel at which Kate Middleton spent her last night as a pauper before marrying Prince Wills. The hotel boasts 5 stars and has been running for over a hundred years continuously by one family (The Gorings) which seems pretty impressive. When my gentleman companion’s lady friend suggested we go for afternoon tea, we needed no convincing.
We arrived at a rather bright and elegant hotel reception and we were shown to a table in the lounge bar where the afternoon tea takes place. Two options were available: The Goring afternoon tea (£37.50) – which consisted of unlimited tea, finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of desserts or the Bollinger afternoon tea (£47.50) which added a glass of Bollinger champagne with strawberries and cream. We opted for the first.
The room was grand and beautiful yet at the same time not imposing. The atmosphere was just right – not stuffy or awkward. Our waiter was lovely and charming from beginning to end, in fact the whole team were. There was no weak link in the staff – each were courteous and very friendly.
To start proceedings we were presented with an amuse bouche of lobster and crayfish cocktail topped with a chicken consommé. It was absolutely delicious and the perfect introduction.
We decided to try the Goring blend tea which was beautifully light and delicate. I must have drunk gallons of it as they replenished my cup at every possible opportunity.
We were then brought a three tiered dish full of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. It all looked seriously appetising.
We started by munching our way through the sandwiches. The classic egg and cress on white bread tasted lovely as did the smoked salmon on brown – the quality of the salmon being sublime. The crayfish mixed with a light mayonnaise and plenty of dill tasted fresh. But the winner for us was the guinea fowl and mushroom. Strong gamey guinea fowl with the earthy mushrooms was simply a perfect combination.
After ordering another round of sandwiches (because I’m a pig) we moved onto the scones – which were served plain and with raisins. I absolutely loathe raisins so was pleased to be given the choice. I don’t think words could do justice to just how delicious this scone was – it was pure perfection. With the thick clotted cream smeared all over and topped with the raspberry and strawberry jams provided I was in heaven.
Starting to feel a tad full we moved onto the top plate of mini desserts which all looked very elegant. Dividing each pud between three people was a little tricky – they would have gladly brought another plate of them if we wanted but we were just too full to manage any more.
The strawberry sponge with a strawberry mousse topping was a strawberry explosion in my mouth and tasted great. The blueberry macaroon was so good I asked for one more which I devoured. It had a perfectly crunchy outside with a chewy centre.
The raspberry pavlova with a little Smurf-like meringue hat was a creamy delight – simple yet perfectly made. And if all that food wasn’t enough we were brought a little shot of sherry trifle which was an extra treat that we managed (somehow) to wolf down.
What was so lovely about our afternoon tea at The Goring was that we weren’t rushed in any way. They don’t turn the tables like they do for afternoon tea at The Ritz for example. We comfortably (and I mean comfortably) spent 3 1/2 hours eating our way to a possible heart attack – and loved every second of it.
Despite the torrential rain we braved the elements and paid a visit to the veranda which overlooked the beautiful garden. In the summer you can enjoy your afternoon tea out there – which has made us positive we want to return.
As afternoon teas go, this one was faultless and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.