It’s always a good sign when a food display makes you go ‘wow’ and this was our reaction when we entered Sarab Tea Lounge at the St Regis and saw the beautiful display for afternoon tea
We had booked for 2.30pm and it was obvious when we arrived the staff were very busy with 2 large groups as well as a variety of couples and families. As a result the service was not as good as I would have expected as we had to wait to be seated, were then left unattended so had to catch the servers attention to ask for a menu and then to order. I was a bit concerned as the menu we were given didn’t include any reference to afternoon tea as I wanted to use my Entertainer Voucher but we were assured that the voucher could be used for the afternoon tea buffet which is available on a Saturday. Once we ordered tea – a pot of English breakfast for me and a pot of mint infused water for Rachel – off we went to fill our faces plates.
The presentation of the food added to the appeal. It was laid out on a large, central table and decorated vintage style with flowers, miss matched cake stands, fresh fruit, jars of sweeties, and a wide range of sandwiches and desserts. I liked the concept of a buffet as I actually prefer savoury food so I could select more sandwiches and Rachel could satisfy her sweet tooth with cakes, macrons, tarts, scones and éclairs. It also meant less food waste as you only choose what you like and could actually eat – much to Greg’s disappointment I didn’t end up bringing a bag of desserts home that I didn’t like!
The food itself was good, everything was fresh and replenished regularly, I particularly liked the feta and watermelon ‘sandwich’ and the lemon curd biscuits. The service also improved throughout the afternoon and we were offered a top up on our tea or a coffee instead, the staff were friendly and offered recommendations on what to try. I do think it would have been helpful to have more labels on the food to help people with allergies; very few of the desserts were labelled so it was a bit of a guessing game, it would also be useful to have spare cutlery nearby so you can help yourself. The lounge had a lovely, relaxing atmosphere with very comfortable furniture and the sound of the harpist playing; it is designed to feel spacious yet cosy at the same time.
The bill for 2 people was 195QR as I used my Entertainer voucher which I thought was excellent value and I will be using my other vouchers before 2015 is out!