Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Champagne, Cake and Caffeine – sounds like the perfect recipe for two busy Mums, right? So, a couple of weeks ago I headed down to The Salt Room to treat my good friend and busy mum-of-two Andrea to a rather special Afternoon Tea. This was to say thank you for hosting such a wonderful baby shower for us, way back before Violet arrived.

I’d seen The Salt Room’s afternoon tea all over Instagram and couldn’t wait to finally get to try it myself, although arranging a time for both of us to get together after reschedules for babies injections, fevers and an outbreak of chicken pox it did take quite considerable time! So, with a date in the diary – it was finally our chance to indulge and give Brighton’s most ‘insta-worthy’ afternoon tea a go.

The Salt Room is located in prime position on Brighton’s iconic seafront – it’s the perfect pitstop if you are visiting the city as it’s so close to the centre of town, shopping areas and the i360 tower. The large, airy mezzanine area has bright sea views of the west pier. Offering lunch, afternoon tea, pre-theatre and dinner – The Salt Room have you covered whatever time of day you plan your visit.

When we first arrived at The Salt Room, we were greeted by the friendly maître d’ who took our coats and showed us to the table. I was a little surprised I was asked to leave Violet’s pushchair by the door as there wouldn’t be space by the table (particularly frustrating as I had to wake her from sleeping and then had to hold a grizzly tired baby when I’d timed our visit for her to nap), although to be fair I hadn’t called in advance to tell them I’d be bringing her, so I do understand.

DRINKS

At our table our waitress enthusiastically gave us the full run down of what the Afternoon Tea included, starting with the drinks. There are four main options for the Afternoon tea:

  • JING Tea or Roasted Bean Co. Coffee
  • JING Flowering Tea
  • East London Liquor Company G&T
  • Taittinger Champagne

Of course, celebrating Violet’s birth we pushed the boat out and went for the Tattinger Champagne! Although I did see the G&T option which looked amazing too but thought better of ordering both after not drinking for over a year – I’d be under the table!

We sat enjoying our champagne looking out across Brighton beach, it was just dreamy and such a lovely way to spend a day of maternity leave! Then came the ‘wow factor‘ as our beautiful afternoon tea had arrived. People were visibly turning around in the restaurant to see what all the fuss was about!

So, let’s explore each layer….

SAVOURY COURSE

Let’s start with the savoury, fish-based first course. It’s certainly an impressive selection of unique and interesting savoury treats -and beats the classic egg and cress sarnie any day!  The savoury course includes the following:  Crab Scotch Egg, Crumpet with Marmite butter, Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Salmon Pastrami & Squid Ink Bun and Aged Beef Tartare & Egg Yolk Jam Sandwich. 

I don’t often eat fish as Vee is highly allergic (to the point I can’t even order it!) so it was a real treat to try some new flavours I wouldn’t normally be able to order. As I’m vegetarian (well, pescatarian if you want to be precise!) they were able to cater to my needs, swapping the Beef Tartare for a Fried Cod Fritter (which was delicious) plus Andrea still got to enjoy the Beef Tartare. Favourites of this course being the Squid Ink Bun with Smoked Salmon – a unique experience! The Salmon was generously piled amongst fresh, cool cream cheese, with the squid ink giving the bun a twang, I can’t quite put my finger on, you’ll have to give it a try to see! I also loved the Crab Meat Scotch egg, as us veggies don’t often get to eat Scotch eggs.

SCONES WITH CLOTTED CREAM & JAM:

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones with clotted cream and jam, it’s a classic! Being a huge fan of the cream tea, this is the bit I get really excited about so on first impressions I thought the scones were slightly on the small side, but there is something oddly filling about Afternoon Tea and looking back they were just the perfect size. The scones are fresh and perfectly baked, served with lashings of dreamy house-made clotted cream and the most gorgeous Strawberry and Elderflower Jam.

At this point we also ordered some extra drinks, switching from the Champers to a good cup of tea (well, you know – I have to be sensible these days!) We now had a new waiter serving our area and I wondered if it may have been his first day as he was quite confused about the options available (and whether the restaurant had any baby changing facilities – it does!). I asked to try the JING Flowering Tea as our previous waitress had described it to us in great detail, explaining that you can literally watch the flower bursting into bloom within your tea so I just had to give it a go! However when he returned, he had brought a cup of plain chamomile tea, stating this made with flowers. I didn’t have the heart to tell him thats not what I meant and we did have a giggle about it afterwards. Bless him, I’ll have to try the Flowering Tea next time!

Excuse the chipped nail polish – washing 10 bottles a day doesn’t bode well with perfect nails!

SWEET TREATS

Onto my favourite part of any meal – the sweet treats! This course is clearly inspired by The Salt Room’s famous ‘Taste of the Pier’ dessert and is certainly the most eye-catching part of the experience! This course includes Chocolate Pebbles, Rhubarb Posset, Chocolate & Praline Teacakes, Kalamansi and White Chocolate Macarons and of course – Candy Floss!  Favourites had to be the chocolate pebbles – rich, velvety and oh so delectable – although so amazingly sweet, even for a chocolate fiend like me couldn’t manage more than one! Plus of course I also loved the Candy Floss – just because! It’s fun and made me feel like a kid again, it really captures the childhood memories of walks on the pier, going on the rides and playing with the 2p machines. The only very slight negative we found that was that the Rhubarb posset had completely melted onto the plate by the time we got to eat it, although thats only a very minor criticism as by this time we got to it we’d been sitting there quite a while, chatting and taking our time – it still tasted zingy and delicious, even if the beautiful shape had gone.

MY THOUGHTS

Overall, I have to say the Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room was probably the best I’ve ever experienced – I absolutely loved every moment of it. The food was quirky, unique and exquisitely created with such attention to detail. The restaurant is one of my favourites in Brighton, it’s sleek, stylish with beautiful seaviews – not to mention the amazingly helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff (flowering tea incident aside!). I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone and would love to go again one day. The Afternoon tea is priced between £24.95-34.95 depending on drinks options, which I think is reasonably priced for such quality.

Although they do welcome children, I think looking back next time I’d try and go without the baby. The team did try to accommodate our pushchair eventually, but there were stairs to the main seating area on the mezzanine and I did feel a little on edge when Violet had a fussy moment as she was disrupting the atmosphere slightly – I worried other guests would get annoyed. Although you can take your children – I’d personally say it’s the perfect place for having some well-deserved ‘me time’ and to leave them at home!

We have also been to The Salt Room for dinner – read our review of that here.

BOOKING

You can book Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room either online or by calling (44)1273 929488. Afternoon Tea is served between 12:30pm – 4:30pm daily. The Salt Room is located on Brighton Seafront by the Hilton Metropole Hotel (106 King’s Rd, Brighton, BN1 2FU).

 

We were kindly offered Afternoon Tea free of charge in return of an honest review – all words, opinions and photography is my own. 

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Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

A couple of weeks ago, we took Violet out for her first official trip out of the house. We headed into Brighton to register Violet’s birth at the Town Hall and to celebrate afterwards, we headed to The Jetty for Afternoon Tea to toast Violet’s birth over tea, cake and prosecco. Plus, with a baby of less than two weeks old at the time – we were in dire need of the caffeine and sugar hit too!

The Jetty is located within the newly refurbished Harbour Hotel, located in prime position on Brighton’s seafront. With gorgeous sea views, The Jetty is the perfect setting for meals and drinks at any time of day – Brunch, Afternoon Tea, Cocktails or dinner with a bottle of wine, they cater for it all. Inside is bright, airy and spacious, with a clean, modern vibe. For a more intimate feel, there is also a cute ‘snug’ area tucked away with comfy sofas and a bit more privacy too.

Registering Violet’s Birth

We opted for the Harbour High Tea (priced at £19.95 per person) which comes with a bottomless selection of Teapigs tea, plus we ordered a glass of prosecco on the side too, as you know it would be rude not to raise a glass to our daughter, even if I did risk falling asleep on the spot from my first sip of alcohol in over a year!

The afternoon tea includes a lovely selection of both sweet and savoury treats, beautifully presented with side serving bowls containing jams and clotted cream for the scones. As we are both vegetarian, they also amended the menu to cater for our requirements, offering a selection of sandwiches with cheese based fillings, rather than chicken/ham/salmon options on the menu, plus a couple of cheese scones (which were SO delicious) and a guacamole and sundried tomato canapes too.

Our sweet treats were my favourite part (of course!). I was pleased to see there were two plump buttermilk scones, which came with plenty of clotted cream and jam on the side, it wouldn’t be afternoon tea without a good old British scone. There were also two dark chocolate praline eclairs, which were utterly divine, a refreshing twist on a classic eclair. The White Chocolate and Passionfruit trifle added a burst of zingy flavour and lastly, the cherry bakewell, another classic and baked to perfection.

I really enjoyed our Afternoon Tea experience at The Jetty, although if I’m honest my favourite part was just great to get out of the house and eat something other than takeaway pizza and wear clothes that weren’t pajamas! We found the staff friendly and accommodating, they changed the menu for us and also gave us a secluded spot with room for the pushchair and privacy as this was my first attempt at breastfeeding in public too.

Whilst we were at The Jetty, I was given an exclusive behind the scenes peek at the new spa that has opened at the hotel. Located in the original regency building cellars, the spa is an absolute hidden gem away from the hustle and bustle of the busy hotel. The Spa offers extensive range of luxurious spa treatments along with everyday beauty needs, including facials, manicures, pedicures and massages. I think as soon as Violet is old enough to be babysat for the day, I might treat myself to a spa day there – what do you think?

The Harbour Hotel is located on the Kings Road Brighton (just on the corner of West Street) – to book Afternoon Tea at The Jetty call 01273 916916 or email brighton.jetty@harbourhotels.co.uk

Post written in collaboration with The Jetty

Review: The Body Fuel Cafe Hove

Although I love my sweet treats – from towering hot chocolate with cream to endless bags of mini-eggs, when it comes down to it I’m quite conscious of nutrition and eat healthily most of the time. I also think being pregnant gives you another perspective on food – with every mouthful of food I’m feeding to our baby too, which naturally makes me so much more aware of everything I put into my system. So, when I was invited down to The Body Fuel Cafe in Hove, I was eager to give it a go as it seemed right up my street. I find when I’m out and about, it’s so easy to eat junk food, with most cafes are just loaded with tempting pastries, cakes and sugary drinks – it’s refreshing to see a place serving fresh, tasty food at reasonable prices too.

Inside the cafe, the seating area is light and airy, with a clean and fresh vibe – although towards the back of the cafe there are more private areas too, which would be perfect for cosy catch-ups, or maybe breastfeeding Mum’s who want a little more privacy.

The cafe is open daily from 8am (9am Saturdays and 11am Sundays) – starting of the day with breakfast options such as wholemeal blueberry pancakes, poached eggs, smoked salmon or smashed avocado. Come lunchtime, their super healthy salad bar is open. Plus, of course could just pop in at any time for a coffee and a (healthy) sweet treat too.

I recently popped in for a spot of lunch with a good friend of mine and healthy food lover, Tash. When we arrived we were instantly drawn to the colourful salad bar and decided to skip brunch and head straight for the lunch menu – so many options and all of the produce looked super fresh too. The menu for the Salad Bar is fully customisable – firstly you choose a protein – they have everything from lemon and dill chicken breast, various steak, fish options such as tuna, grilled salmon and lastly, veggie options of falafel and grilled halloumi. There is quite a selection! I was particularly impressed with this part, being a vegetarian (well, pescatarean technically) I often miss out on the ‘protein’ section or have a limited choice, but this left me spoilt for choice! Next up, is the base of your dish – Rice, Sweet Potato and Quinoa are just a few of the options here. Moving on, we visited the salad bar where you can choose a generous 6 items from the extensive list – you then top your dish with a dressing of your choice. Honestly, there is so much choice you could make about 1000 different combinations with all of the different ingredients and not eat the eat a different dish everyday!

Both Tash and I went for the grilled salmon, which was cooked to perfection and so fresh, we accompanied our meals with a couple of smoothies too. I tried the Tropical Delight (Orange, Honeydew Melon, Mango, Passion Fruit and Lime Juice) which packed a zingy punch and certainly woke my senses up! Tash went for the super healthy Go Green (fresh pineapple, spinach, avocado, lime, fresh ginger and coconut water). As you can see from the pictures below, our meals were absolutely full to the brim with goodness, nutrients and the freshest ingredients-  not an additive or preservative in sight, plus it was all cooked within around 5 minutes too.

As we left I took a couple of sweet treats away to have once I got home – you know, maternity leave means afternoons are mainly spend on the sofa with a coffee and cake, so instead I got a take-away Not Naughty, Definitely Nice Smoothie (almond milk, banana, nut butter, raw cacao powder, vanilla, honey, cinnamon)  and a delicious Date Protein Bar, as I’ve been eating 6 dates a day as it’s meant to help with labour – putting them in a protein bar seemed a perfect excuse to get my daily dose in as I’m getting sick and tired of eating pure dates alone these days!

I would 100% recommend trying the Body Fuel Cafe if you are local to Hove, it is so refreshing to know you are eating pure clean, fresh ingredients, plus it was so delicious it felt like a real treat too. My next meal there will be brunch – I think there are some wholemeal blueberry pancakes with my name on!

The Body Fuel Cafe is located at 123 Church Street, Hove  –  pop for some super tasty, healthy food next time you are passing! 

Review: Indian Summer Brighton turns 15!

I’ve lived in Brighton on and off since I was 18 so I was shocked and surprised I’d managed to let a visit to Indian Summer slip the net, seeing as I am an absolute fiend for Indian food. So a couple of a months ago I excited opened an email to their 15th Birthday party, I jumped at the chance to finally give this elusive restaurant a go, although as I looked at the invitation – we were in Paris that week, doh! I swear this one just keeps getting away from me! However, a few weeks later, as I missed the big shindig, the team kindly asked me in for a meal to finally get my fill of the Indian food I’d been missing all these years! So V and I headed down for a date night and a meal at Indian Summer.

The first thing that I noticed that sets Indian Summers apart, is that the inside the decor is sleek, smart and sophisticated, which is quite different from lots of Indian restaurants I’ve been to before. Low-level lighting sets the mood to an intimate space, perfect for dates and quiet meals with friends, with larger tables at the back adorned with huge chandeliers for bigger groups. Indian Summer has an interesting history – the restaurant was founded in 2001 by Minesh Agnihotri, who gave up a career making medical prosthetics and Byron Swales, whose family was forced to flee Burma in a wooden plane. They both had a mission to bring authentic cooking to Brighton, so they then recruited a team of talented chefs drawn from across various Indian regions to offer truly pan-Indian fine dining and have been going ever since!

The menu is varied and as a vegetarian, I found lots of lovely options to chose from. However, to start with over a delicious homemade Mango Lassi, we had to start with my favourite, Papads and Pickles. 

As our starters arrived, we were both served a little amuse-bouche, which was like a spicy tomato soup, just the perfect amount of spice to make the lips tingle and cleanse the palette. I decided to opt for the Tandoori Salmon, which arrived served in a smoked cumin and orange raita. I’d never tasted salmon and orange together, the combination was just divine! V went for the Onion Aubergine Pakoda which arrived beautifully presented with a tasty coriander chutney and tamarind sauce.

For our mains, I absolutely LOVE a Thali, so I just knew this was the option for me. I think I love it as it’s the opportunity to try so many little ‘mini dishes’ on one plate, the Vegetarian Thali included a mix platter of vaal subzi, sev tomato paneer, aloo subzi and dal, served with pickle, papad, roti and rice. What a mix! There is a little bit of everything on the plate and a whirlwind of flavours, I absolutely loved every mouthful. They also can offer the Thali as a vegan and gluten free option, which is fab too. V had her absolute favourite dish in Indian Cuisine, Shakahari Paneer – a mezze of tandoori paneer, spinach and potato tikki, sev tomato paneer and basmati rice. I was lucky enough to try some of the tandoori paneer and it was so perfectly flavourful and rich – delicious!

We rounded our meal off with a dessert to share as we were SO full from our Indian feast but I am a bad blogger and forgot to photograph it! I think I had a few sips of Gaviscon at this point too! (#pregnancyproblems)

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Indian Summer and I wonder how in 15 years this wonderful place had managed to slip the net. I would certainly consider it in the future for date nights or even special meals out with family and friends. It’s not just your average Indian, it has something special about it so I’d probably save my next visit for a special occasion for a real treat!

Indian Summer is located on East Street, Brighton – You can book a table online or give them a call on 01273 711001.

 

We were invited to Indian Summer for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review – All words and opinions are my own

The Perfect Christmas Hamper

For me, a festive hamper encapsulates Christmas spirit perfectly – festive food and treats, handmade gifts and a personal touch make a hamper ideal present for your family and friends this year. A homemade hamper is one of the most thoughtful, generous gifts you can give as you can tailor it to your friends tastes and dietary requirements, without it costing too much either!

So, when Ryvita got in touch to ask me to create a special festive hamper for a friend including their delicious Ryvita Thins, I couldn’t wait to get to get started, thinking of all the gorgeous festive treats to put together. Also, following on my on my quest to teach myself to cook this year, this was the perfect opportunity to cook my first ever chutney – something I’d never attempted before and quite honestly, could possibly have been quite a festive disaster! (See below for how I got on…..)

When putting together a hamper, my advice is to think of two things – firstly, luxury treats you wouldn’t eat every day and food that is ideal for sharing. You want the recipient to feel spoiled and surprised by the treats inside and be able to share the contents with family and friends over Christmas time too.

I started putting my hamper together by adding my Ryvita Thin’s – these are quite different from the classic ryvita we know and love, with five different flavours they are a fab party snack and the perfect ‘implement‘ for dipping in your homemade festive chutnies. I bought some for myself (well, I had to do a trial run of the chutney!) and they are SO moreish, once I had one I literally couldn’t stop. Before I knew it, I’d watched a Christmas movie and managed to eat nearly a whole box, oops!

Other treats to include were things to share on Christmas Day – Luxury Juices, Spirits or Wine, Festive Hot Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Mix, Truffles and of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional Christmas Pudding. I bought few of my treats from M&S this year – their products are just classic at Christmas time, they never dissapoint! I especially loved their Sparkling Peach and Proscecco Conserve! How amazing would that be as breakfast on Christmas Morning?

I also created some cute handmade crackers, these are packed with cute little surprises, jokes and of course a gold shimmery crown for Christmas Day too.

So, going back to my Chutney… Well, I’m so pleased to say my recipe and first attempts at cooking a chutney went really well! I decided to make a Caramelised Onion Chutney, inspired by the Caramelised Onion Ryvita Thin’s – having a dip of the same flavour was perfect and amplifies such a festive flavour.

SIMPLE CARAMELISED ONION RECIPE

Makes 4-6 jars

8 red onions
1 red chilli
2 bay leaves
25ml olive oil
150ml red wine vinegar
200g brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
150ml red wine vinegar

  1. Cut your onions and chilli into thin slices and put them into a pan with the bay leaves and oil. Cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes.
  2. Once the onions are dark and sticky, add the sugar and the vinegars and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the chutney is thick and dark in colour.
  3. Pour the chutney into your glass jar, it’s best to sterilise your jar and pour in whilst the jar is still warm, to ensure your dip will be kept super fresh.
  4. The longer you leave the Chutney, the more the flavour will develop, so try and make it a little way before Christmas, although don’t worry if you are making a last minute gift, I think it tasted fab straight away!

 

So, when it comes to creating a Christmas Hamper, let your imagination run wild, spoil your friends and family this Christmas and give them a perfectly thoughtful homemade gift!

Post written in collaboration with Ryvita – All words, opinions and photographs are my own