The Merrion Hotel Dublin, Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2
You may remember my Sunday Brunch at The Merrion’s Cellar Bar review. If not have a read of it here and prepare to drool … BUT hold your horses! Before you click away from this post keep on reading and scrolling down because Patrick and I revisited The Merrion a little while ago, this time for their famous Afternoon Tea aptly named Art Tea.
You’ll see why the name is perfect when you read on and I took more drool worthy photo’s of the delicious treats we licked our lips to so you won’t want to go anywhere just yet, well apart from The Merrion that is. (Click to Zoom Photo’s)
Afternoon Tea is held in The Merrions Drawing Rooms which are easy to navigate to, you enter the main door, walk through the lobby and take a right. Once there you’ll be greeted and seated. Like all the Afternoon Tea’s I’ve reviewed here on The Life of Stuff before, you must always book in advance and I am underlining this as it is quite important that you get your preferred date confirmed as early as you can, otherwise you will be disappointed.
We had our table booked for the late sitting on a Sunday, which is 4.30pm. It gave us ample time for a stroll around the city before we settled in for two hours of foodie heaven. I don’t know whether we were a little early or the diners before us had enjoyed their Art Tea experience for longer than anticipated but our table wasn’t ready when we arrived so we were politely asked to wait. We didn’t mind as it was sunny and the gorgeous secluded terrace and garden of The Merrion were calling our name. Katie, one of the waitress’ on duty, set the scene even more when she arrived at our outdoor table with two perfectly chilled glasses of Champagne ‘R’ de Ruinart, oh the bubbles.
When our table was set, so were we and the host for our Art Tea experience was Conor. He did a great job, describing how the Afternoon Tea worked, describing the courses, explaining why it was called ‘Art Tea’ but above all he made us feel at home on the eloquently plush couch in the art adorned drawing-room. The Merrion’s ‘Art Tea’ is called so because the pastries which are normally the pastry masterpieces of any afternoon tea are actual masterpieces. Designed by Executive Pastry Chef, Paul Kelly, who’s also a ‘Great Irish Bake Off’ Judge, each of the three pastries you dine on at ‘Art Tea’ are inspired by world-famous works of art. On each Art Tea sitting, diners are presented with three cards that depict which art pieces they’ll be nibbling on. If that’s not enough, you are given a complimentary book with all of The Merrion Hotels Art, inclusive of the pastry inspired ones and you are advised on which walls you will find them hanging. Excellently executed!
First things first and we both chose what tea we would like. Patrick chose the Smoked China and I, The Merrion Blend, which I read is a ‘superior blend of teas picked from ten renowned tea gardens’, which meant it was bound to be a great brew. Patrick preferred his choice. I preferred mine. I later was recommended an Iced Tea that also went down a treat. Refreshing.
Next up were the ‘Savouries‘; Chicken and Pesto on Sunflower Bread, Oak Smoked Irish Salmon on Brown Soda Bread with Horseradish Cream, Cucumber with Cream Cheese and Chive on Tomato Bread, Bridge Rolls with Egg Mayonnaise and Cress, Rare Irish Roast Beef on White Bread AND the ‘Breads and Cakes‘; Plain and Fruit Scones, Lemon Bread, Portercake, Battenberg, Served with Glenillen Clotted Cream, Raspberry Jam and Lemon Curd. Both courses were served on an elegant silver three-tiered platter. Both courses were absolutely delicious. The Oak Smoked Salmon melted in our mouths. The Bridge Rolls were soft and oozed the creamy egg mayonnaise. The fruit scones were baked to perfection and the Battenberg is the best I have ever tasted. It was perfect.
The finale to a wonderful afternoon were the pastries. From ‘The Merrion Art Tea Pastries‘ selection of nine paintings; Farm Buildings by Stephen McKenna, Roses and Temple by Patrick Hennessy, Shut Eye with Acolyte (Praxis) by John Boyd, Futile Defense (Fabricated Evidence) by John Boyd, Madonna and Child by Mainie Jellet, Frying Pan, Funnel, Eggs & Lemons by William Scott, The Old Fox by John Doherty, Self Portrait 1912 by Saurin Elizabeth Leech and Path Moorea by Pauline Bewick … the chef had chosen the following for us …
Farm Buildings, Stephen McKenna
Hazelnut Gateau with a Coffee Bavarois
Roses and Temple, Patrick Hennessy
Rosewater & Orange Mousse on a White Chocolate Feuilletine
Path Moorea, Pauline Bewick
The pastries that arrived at our table were brilliant. It was evident the paintings were Paul Kelly’s muses and although I felt I was destroying mini masterpieces as my cutlery sliced through them, as I dissected them bit by glorious bit, their taste was just too moreish to have them on the plate for longer than they needed to be … and that wasn’t very long as my senses were crying out for them … The sight of them, the smell of them, the sound of them crunching and cracking, the feel of their texture and the taste of them … perfectly arty!
We couldn’t fault our afternoon tea experience at The Merrion. The food and service was excellent. The Drawing Room did get a little busy towards the end of our sitting as guests made their way from reception to their rooms but it probably bothered the guests more than it did us because they couldn’t help but eye up our delicious treats. The Terrace was so lovely we found ourselves retiring there for a coffee to help digest all we’d enjoyed. Art Tea is a definate recommendation and I look forward to returning.
Art of Tea costs €36.00 per person. With a glass of Champagne R de Ruinart it’s €50.00 and with a glass of Champagne R de Ruinart Brut Rose it’s €56.00 per person.
For more information on Art Tea at The Merrion visit their website here