Happy New Year everyone! It’s started off on a rather sweet note for me thanks to Hilton Cardiff Hotel (start as you mean to go on they say…). It seems rather fitting to finish the festive season this way, in late November my Christmas spirit surfaced after sampling the Festive Afternoon Tea at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.
So what did I make of my first dining experience inside this stylish hotel? Read on for my review with some local insight for those of you considering a trip here in 2016.
Eight Enchanting Experiences in Cardiff (click to view).
The Hilton Cardiff hotel is positioned on Kingsway in the centre of Cardiff. It’s ideally located across the road from Cardiff Castle and a stones throw from Queens Arcade shopping centre, the New Theatre and National Museum and Art Gallery.
The Afternoon Tea experience takes place in the Razzi restaurant everyday between 2pm-6pm, just to the right of the reception and bar area.
Warmly welcomed in by the staff and the delicate music of a harpist, I was guided to a table overlooking the impressive fortress walls of Cardiff Castle.
Even with the imposing views of the city from the floor to ceiling windows, the atmosphere felt very relaxing and intimate, more-so when the light outside fell away.
To begin, I was asked if I had any dietary requirements and presented with a box containing fourteen different teas to enjoy my food with. As tempting as some of them sounded I stuck with a traditional English Breakfast tea.
Tea fans will love the options that include spicy rooibos, chai, Persian pomegranate and dragonwell green.
The Hilton hotel is trendy and modern, so it’s no surprise the traditional cake tier stand has been transformed into a stylish wooden structure.
Besides the pots of jam and cream there are twenty four pieces of tempting treats tucked into these cubes (or twelve per person). I found it to be well proportioned but if you’re struggling you can request a box to takeaway leftovers.
The four finger sandwiches were very generously sized with three layers of granary or seeded bread. I really liked this element as afternoon tea can sometimes be heavy on sweets and light on savoury.
Being part of the festive menu one sandwich contained roasted turkey with a sweet cranberry jelly.
There was more traditional fillings in the other three; Welsh cheddar cheese and tomato, Severn and Wye smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise and chive.
My sweet tooth thoroughly enjoyed the bitesize treats that followed, especially the welsh cake with a seasonal hint of gingerbread.
Building on the warm and spicy flavours was the most daintiest of mince pies I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. Before I continued eating my way through the rest of the sweet nibbles I wanted to make sure I had room for the scone.
I was really pleased by the light and crumbly texture of the buttermilk and sultana scone as this is often the part I struggle to finish. By the time I had got round to coating it generously with strawberry jam and clotted cream it had lost it’s warmth, but still very enjoyable.
With the teapot topped up it was the best accompaniment to sit back for a while, enjoy the harpist’s music and people watch.
The handmade chocolate truffles were delightful with a smooth chocolate and hazelnut centre. Each person also has two shot glass portions of fruit jelly with a custardy topping. The one I tried was very sweet but not too daunting in size to finish off.
The Christmas afternoon tea comes with the option of Prosecco or mulled wine. Although this festive version won’t be available until next Christmas, you can still enjoy a similar experience throughout the year at the Razzi Restaurant for £28 for two people during the week (or you can upgrade to Champagne).
I was a paying customer at Hilton Hotel’s Razzi Restaurant and all opinions are my own. Prices correct at time of reviewing.