We were treated this week to a 'posh afternoon tea' at Lewtrenchard Manor Hotel. In the middle of stunning Devon countryside (bordering on Cornwall) that feels like it's miles from anywhere, this is an oak-panelled Jacobean mansion with a roaring log fire that was just right for a cold winter's day.
The ten of us were celebrating my Dad's birthday and we had a huge circular table in a panelled room to ourselves. The children were determined to run around and around the outside of the table. So they did. We were brought out freshly baked (sultana) scones and small bowls of clotted cream and jam. Rather embarrassingly (they didn't know about our distended Christmas bellies) we had to ask for more cream and they brought us a cereal bowl full. The finger sandwiches weren't dainty, but the smoked salmon and cucumber ones were tasty. Too much mustard on the ham version.
We ate all the chocolate cake, most of the lemon cake and only one piece of the seeded carrot cake. We're that kind of family. Shall I mention the member of our party who brought out their freezer bags and pocketed the remaining cakes to take home.....? (wasn't me!)
Top marks for the scones - difficult to get right, superb when they are; sandwiches pretty good and the cakes were good, but could have been smaller and a little more....elegant... to fit in with the surroundings, rather than hefty big rectangles that looked straight out of a tray bake.
A lovely afternoon with family - thanks, Mum!
Lewtrenchard have the interestingly named 'Purple Carrot' experience where up to eight diners sit in a row and watch their meal prepared for them on flat screen monitors in front of them.
Chef's commentary is apparently optional. Wouldn't be my first choice of a gourmet night out, but I suppose if I was getting bored of my dining companion, or needed something different, eating gourmet food whilst watching a kitchen on CCTV cameras might be a fun way to spend some time...