Until last month, the last time I visited The Ivy Clifton Brasserie for afternoon tea was back in 2017. Recently, though, I won a voucher for a Champagne afternoon tea for two on Instagram, so it made sense to revisit the Clifton brasserie before we left the Bristol area for good!
Their afternoon tea menu is offered across the majority of The Ivy’s venues – choose from a selection of teas, and add Champagne if you fancy it for an even more decadent experience. Since our visit, the menu has changed slightly, with a new Dream Afternoon Tea being served up for Afternoon Tea Week this August.
After being seated by the window with a view of their small garden area, the two glasses of bubbly arrived and the food itself not long after.
We did have to remind the server when they brought over the food that we hadn’t yet ordered our tea…and when we did, we were surprised that we weren’t offered lemon with the Earl Grey. The tea arrived in beautiful silver pots though: attractive, but difficult to pour as the handles retained the heat!
The five-year-old was impressed with the presentation of the afternoon tea at The Ivy Clifton: not only how delicately attractively it was laid out on the tiered stand, but also the fact that the teacup on the top tier was used to create a cloud of smoke that enveloped the stand for a bit of theatre at the table.
Every time I go for afternoon tea I wish the ratio of savoury to sweet was reversed – I’d much prefer to ditch some of the sweeter stuff for more savoury options, but I guess that’s just personal choice! All three of the sandwiches here were delicious with incredibly delicate flavours.
My favourite was probably the grilled chicken and truffle mayo on a sweet brioche bun, the truffle just enough to lightly perfume the tender chicken. The flavours of the pickled courgette, cucumber and dill sandwich on white bread were a little overpowered by the huge amount of butter on the bread, but I loved the way they’d done the smoked salmon and chive cream cheese sandwich, with slivers of smoked salmon on the top and a blend of herbs, cream cheese and chopped smoked salmon in between the two slices of brown bread.
The four fruit scones were generously dusted with sugar and a good golden colour…there wasn’t enough cream or jam, but I find that’s often the case with an afternoon tea. While the crust was decently crisp, the interior was a little dry compared to others I’ve had.
The sweets were where The Ivy really excelled themselves. I loved the idea of a mango and coconut smoothie as part of an afternoon tea: the smoothie thin but creamy, the coconut the dominant flavour.
The almond and Black Bee honey macaron was a perfect example of the sweet treat, the two flavours combined reminiscent of nougat. My son’s favourite was the honeycomb and dark chocolate plant pot. Topped with edible flowers, dill and mint, it contained a rich chocolate mousse which hid a big chunk of crunchy honeycomb and liquid honey at the bottom of the pot – as well as the delight of popping candy.
My favourite was probably the red velvet raspberry cake. After digging through the ridiculously smooth, silky sweet icing on top we uncovered a lovely moist sponge – more orange-brown than red, but delicious. The sweet and tangy raspberry jam hidden in the middle was an added bonus.
At £39.95 per person for a Champagne afternoon tea, The Ivy Clifton Brasserie is at the more expensive end when it comes to afternoon teas in Bristol. There’s no denying, though, that it’s a beautiful place that feels like a decadent treat.