For someone who follows Slimming World, I didn’t half pack in a lot of cake and scone consumption during 2015. In fact, i’ve developed such an afternoon tea habit that around one in four trips out for food are now dedicated to the consumption of cake, scones and those delightful teeny tiny sandwiches. Oops! One of my most recent dalliances with the floury good stuff was at Matfen Hall, Northumberland.
Despite being in Northumberland, Matfen Hall is actually quite far from me. It’s in a really beautiful hilly location that ordinarily would make for a great drive but on the day I took my mum along to review the afternoon tea at the venue’s invitation, the heavens were bucketing down in the manner our region has recently become accustomed too. Still, there was a little sunshine hiding over the top of the country house hotel when we arrived and the golf course it looks out onto was quite beautiful, rain or not. We took tea in the Library, which really appealed to the literature geek in me. Our visit was just before Christmas, so we got to enjoy the lovely decorations too.
The Library was quite busy with diners enjoying the Sunday Lunch option and all the other food we saw shooting by looked very appealing. While the tablecloth on the table was perhaps a little tired, the service was attentive and the tables were nicely spaced – so much more relaxing than being packed into a standard restaurant.
Looking at the menu it was great to notice regional Ringtons starring once again and I plumped for their coffee rather than a festive tea. Mam expressed some lamentation that we weren’t having the Gentleman’s tea and asked whether Scotch eggs and pork pies really ought to be reserved just for men. I’ve seen a fair few Gentleman’s tea options popping up at places like The Vermont and Bonbar ad I’m not sure how I feel about the suggestion that pie is not for the girls. My love of pie is afterall, very well documented – you may remember my long ago visit to Asda Pie night?
A festive trifle, spiced date cake and ginger cream tart were top of the cake pops on when the cake stand arrived along with scones that came with two types of jam and a good dollop of cream. The scones were just the right size and light and fluffy without the dreaded bi-carb aftertaste. Among the traditional sandwich selection was the best egg sandwich I’ve ever tasted. I don’t usually like egg between bread, no matter how dainty it looks but this filling was creamy and well seasoned and quite frankly I’d like to know the chef’s secret! Did we manage to finish the full selection? Not quite, so we took a few items home in a box for a second sitting on the sofa when Sunday evening came round.
Overall I was very impressed with the quality of the Matfen Hall tea and at £16.95 it comes in around the middle for cost at the higher class establishments in the reason. I’ll be using the fact it’s around an hour away to suggest a stop over at the spa next time we visit and when we do the £22.95 three course Sunday lunch menu is top of my to do list.
Have you already been to the spa or stayed in the hotel? If so, are there any treatments you’d recommend or any rooms I should be requesting?