Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever

Monkey Island Hotel

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Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire, SL6 2EE.   (View on map)

Monkey Island Hotel is on an island, you drive into the car park and then cross a bridge to get to the hotel and grounds. The day we went there was a mini heatwave so it was baking hot and the cool breeze from the river as we crossed the bridge was most welcome.

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There was a private party in the grounds so it was busy outside, we sat inside in a room lined with wood panels. It wasn’t as hot as outside, but it was still very warm. We asked for some jugs of tap water as the journey had been long and hot. Though there were five of us, two of the party were too hot to eat much, so we ordered four afternoon teas between five.

There were four sandwiches per afternoon tea, one each of: ham; salmon; cream cheese and cucumber; and egg and cress. An odd touch was the crisps in between the sandwiches and my first reaction was that we were at a children’s party. They were ready salted and the day was so hot we did wonder if they had been added just to make sure no one keeled over from the heat. We enjoyed them – though I think we would have been less impressed if the weather had been colder.

The other strange twist were the scones. When the tiers of food were first brought there was some confusion as to why we had profiteroles instead of scones, or maybe we had both? On closer inspection we just had scones, but it looked like they had been backed in a shallow bun tin rather than a flat baking tray and so they were very round with a tin line across the side. It made them extremely crunchy.

The cakes made up for the scones and crisps as there were so many different ones and one of each variety for each afternoon tea: chocolate brownie; fruit tart; ginger cake with ginger snap on top; mini bakewell tart; cheesecake; chocolate eclair; and strawberries dipped in chocolate.

We had the usual problem of running out of milk and running out of jam (one tiny pot per afternoon tea, though there were four mini scones per afternoon tea).

SH noticed some more people enjoying afternoon tea as we left, only they had mini macaroons. We were jealous, especially as they were in many different colours, but were too full to go and ask for some.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No, but Twinings teabag. Very limited black tea choice of English Breakfast and Earl Grey, the rest were fruit or herbal.
Milk jug? Yes, but we had to ask for refills twice.
Price? £14.95 for each afternoon tea.
Cake? Yes! All tiny.
Go again? It’s a good place to go if you’re already relatively near, but the scones mean I wouldn’t make a special effort.

Author: tealeaves

I like tea and if possible, I'd like it to be loose leaf rooibos in a pot served with milk in a little jug. I'll try and find the places that do this and I'll tell you what they're like. Let me know if you can think of any cafes I haven't covered, I'll get to them if I can.

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