My blog has been sadly bereft of loveliness of late; meals out have been rationed in order to save up the deposit for my new home and I’ve been trying to clamp down on the cake in an effort to fit back into the clothes in my wardrobe. Woe is me! This is truly no way for a food blogger to live. Thankfully, before I fully resigned myself to a flourless life, the folks over at Buyagift got in touch to say they’d like me to try out an afternoon tea for two at one of their venues. As my mum has been doing my washing, ironing and tea making for the last six months I decided to take her along as a bit of a thanks. After taking a look at the Buyagift range here I soon worked out our nearest venue was The Marriott, Metro Centre, so decided to combine the afternoon tea with a little retail therapy.
Booking in my afternoon tea experience, which also included use of the Marriott’s leisure facilities, was a little more
complicated than I’d expected – I don’t think they usually partake in the Buyagift scheme and so they were a little confused about the voucher. That said, they were very accommodating when I did arrive (there was no need to book in the end so those serving my tea weren’t aware that I was carrying out a review).
Ma Berg and I headed straight for the pool where we spent time in the sauna and jacuzzi before she popped off for a massage in the hotel. As it was a Sunday there were 30 per cent off treatments and she took full advantage of the discount with a fully body massage that she declared “one of the better massages” she’s had. That’s high praise indeed from Ma Berg.
We naturally felt a little camera shy in our swimming costumes, so I’ve kept the photographs food based. The afternoon tea itself was served in the hotel’s bar, which is perhaps less decadent than at some of the other venues, however, the staff were friendly and really went the extra mile to make tea an enjoyable experience. The hotel itself is well-positioned for Newcastle airport, which meant the clientele I spotted were a mix of business folk and pilots/air crew on stop over and the restaurant area was quite quiet.
Although a traditional afternoon tea generally involves drinking tea, I opted to drink coffee and left the tea drinking to my dining partner. When the cake stand itself came I was blown away by how lovely everything looked and grew increasingly frustrated at how hard it was to photograph it all in a good light. I made do with the photo above and the slightly better gallery below, which doesn’t do justice to the well-filled sandwiches, perfectly formed cakes and scones.
As I merrily tucked in, I soon noticed my mum wasn’t doing the same and I realised this was because the sandwiches – though my favourite types (salmon, tuna, cheese and pickle) – were not hers. And, in a nasty stroke of non-luck, the scones we were served were also fruit scones, which are one of the few things the usually fuss-free eater doesn’t like. Oops. Ma Berg was all for not making a fuss but after a word with the very accommodating waitress brought out an impressively well filled ham sandwich and a warm cheese scone for her. This of course meant I was required to eat ALL of the sandwiches and ALL of the really juicy jam. You’d think this may have made me struggle to fit in the tiny cakes – a vanilla slice, chocolate eclair and mini roulade. You would be wrong, despite the diet I am still unrivalled when it comes to cake consumption!
We had a lovely afternoon at the Marriott Metro Centre and though we are unlikely to go back to the venue itself, I would check the buyagift site for vouchers when giving gifts in future – as they seem to be an affordable and potentially more reliable alternative to Groupon, which I’ve had a few bad experiences with of late. The service at the Marriott was good too, so I’ll be recommending it to friends looking for somewhere to stop off at en route to my new abode!