For our first afternoon tea of 2015, we stayed fairly close to home and visited Moor Hall Hotel in the Four Oaks suburb of Birmingham. We hadn’t been to the hotel before and liked the look of it from the web site.
I phoned to make a booking a few days before, and was impressed by the politeness and professionalism of the staff. They didn’t push the champagne option either, which was good.
The hotel building, and its grounds, looked picturesque but sadly it was a little too cold to explore.
Once inside, we were greeted by another polite receptionist who directed us to the rooms where afternoon tea was being served. However, we had to attract the attention of one of the staff in order to be shown to our seats. Once seated, the service was good, with polite staff who were happy to refill the pots of teas, and checked with us at the half way point to make sure that there were no problems.
The room where we were seated looked to be decorated in a late Victorian style, with lots of wood panelling and patterned wallpaper and curtains. There were several other parties also enjoying afternoon tea and the hotel looked to be enjoying a brisk trade.
There was a choice of about 6 different teas, including the Hotel’s own blend. Three were black teas, one green and two fruit-based. I opted for the Hotel’s own blend, which was a subtle, smooth breakfast tea. Jay went for the Earl Grey. Both teas were loose leaf and arrived with a strainer each. A detail which some venues miss. There was a little too much tea in both pots, which resulted in some very strong tastes at the bottom, but the quality of the teas were good.
The food was served on a traditional 3 tier stand, with the top two tiers given a dusting of icing sugar. This was fine on the cakes, but less so on the lid of the jam jar.
There were five different flavours of finger sandwiches: ham, egg mayonnaise, charred cucumber, smoked salmon and grated cheese. All tasted good, with the charred cucumber being a hit with both of us. In addition, the sandwiches were garnished with a salad and accompanied by another speciality of the Hotel: The Brummie scone. This was a light buttery bacon scone, like a Brummie bacon cake but smoother and lighter. We both liked the scone very much and may well bake a batch for ourselves at some point.
On the next tier up were miniature cupcakes, macarons and chocolate éclairs. The macaron was sadly a bit of a disappointment as it was a little too dense in texture and was lacking in flavour, as well as having only a meagre amount of filling. The éclair was far better, with a delicious cream filling and light choux pastry. The cupcakes too were good quality, with a cream cheese flavoured icing and a filling of lemon jam inside the cake itself.
On the top tier were the scones and seasonal fruit tarts. Seasonal in this case was mincemeat, which of course brought back memories of Christmas and felt incongruous so soon after the end of the festive season. It was ok, but there should really have been a different flavour of fruit tart. The scones were much better, just the right size and held together well when they were split. They were accompanied by clotted cream and a small jar of tiptree strawberry jam.
Portion sizes were about right, and we left feeling pleasantly full. The price, at £16 each, was perfectly reasonable so we are happy to recommend the hotel to anyone considering a visit.