Aztec Hotel & Spa afternoon tea: Review

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I love a good afternoon tea. But the issue for me, generally, is that they’re too focused on the sweet, and not enough on the savoury…I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’d prefer fewer cakes and more savoury bites?

At the Aztec Hotel & Spa in Almondsbury, they’re now offering options to suit both palates.

Alongside their Classic Afternoon Tea, they’re also offering a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea: a substantial, more savoury-focused eat that’s a world away from the quintessentially British option. Priced at £19.95 each and served from 2pm to 5pm daily, we were keen to see what both were all about…

We couldn’t have been happier with the setting. Walking through the bright and airy restaurant, we were seated on the outdoor terrace, with views of lush greenery and a choice of shaded or sunny seating. We were pleasantly surprised.

There was no tea menu to choose from, but we placed our orders and were brought a large pot of tea and oversized cup and saucer each slightly afterwards – and the hot water was topped up when requested throughout. One early niggle, though, was that both of our cups and saucers were filthy – staff were very apologetic and replaced them immediately when we asked for cleaner alternatives…

 

Aztec Hotel Afternoon Tea - Dirty Mug

 

We ordered one each of the Aztec Hotel afternoon tea options to share – and when they arrived, we realised that it’s not just the choice of food that’s different, it’s the way they’re served too. While the classic afternoon tea was served to look dainty and delicate on a three-tiered stand, the gentleman’s afternoon tea arrived on a solid wooden board – it’s clear that there’s a gender difference in their target audiences, and not just because of the names!

We started with the classic afternoon tea, which certainly offered plenty of variety on a visual level.

 

Aztec Hotel Afternoon Tea - Classic Afternoon Tea

 

We started with the savouries – a dense, chewy bagel topped with whipped cream cheese, a generous portion of smoked salmon and a sprinkling of chives; a slightly clumsy yet refreshing cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwich; a mini brioche roll whose sweetness contrasted with the filling of thick, salty ham and tangy beer mustard; and a “mature” Cheddar and piccalilli sandwich that tasted more mild than mature, the cheese only filling half the sandwich but the tangy, crunchy and vinegary pickle adding plenty of flavour.

We fared better with the scone, with a good crust and quite dense, but delicious and packed with plenty of fruit. The individual jar of Tiptree jam was just enough, and we were amazed at the amount of clotted cream offered for just one scone – we felt that we could have coped with half the amount and avoided so much wastage.

 

Aztec Hotel Afternoon Tea - Scone

 

The five sweet treats were mostly delicious. Our favourite was the chocolate coffee mousse cake, with a light sponge, thin wafer, a rich chocolate mousse and topped with a coffee bean. The raspberry tart’s pastry was a little floppy but lovely and delicate, filled with an airy creme pat and topped with a tart raspberry.

These were joined by a well-made macaron with a berry filling, plus a pineapple and passion fruit mini pavlova with a meringue so chewy (not a bad thing) it stuck to the plate, sweet cream, and the tang of the tropical fruit and freeze dried raspberry pieces.

We weren’t as impressed, though, with the passion fruit-based dessert that filled the shot glass: unsweetened cream with fresh passion fruit and curd, and an odd, grainy, biscuity liquid at the bottom that wasn’t too pleasant.

 

Aztec Hotel Afternoon Tea - Cakes

 

The Aztec Hotel gentleman’s afternoon tea is perfect for those looking for a big, savoury eat! It was supposed to be served with half a pint of Thwaites Original ale, which didn’t materialise, but we were pretty impressed with the presentation nonetheless.

 

Aztec Hotel Afternoon Tea - Gentleman's Afternoon Tea

 

On the board, we had another smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, sitting alongside a steak bookmaker sandwich – the meat with a lovely chargrilled flavour and served succulently pink, with sweet onion marmalade and thick, lightly toasted sourdough. The mini beer battered haddock and chips was a mixed bag – we loved how the fish was cooked and its non-greasy, crisp batter, but the chips were a little floury in texture and the homemade tartare sauce was disappointing.

We loved the sausage roll, with its good flaky pastry and generous filling with a good smokey, salty flavour, served with a rich, tangy and sweet Bramley apple sauce. The roast baby pear topped with Bath Blue, honey and a savoury walnut crumble was tasty enough but a little too sweet, while the chicken liver parfait had a lovely rich flavour but could have done with being a little less smooth…and needed more than the two thin slivers of melba toast it came with for the quantity provided!

The gentleman’s afternoon tea also includes a scone, clotted cream and jam for something sweet at the end of so much savoury…

All in all, our afternoon teas were a bit of a mixed bag. They were both great value for money – and on balance, we preferred the gentleman’s version to the classic afternoon tea. There were a few things that weren’t quite right about both, but with a few small changes, the Aztec Hotel & Spa afternoon tea offering could be truly fantastic.

 

Please note: our meal was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

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