Afternoon Tea is just such a quintessentially British activity and it is definitely a favourite of mine. Finger sandwiches, tea (although mint/fruit for me, I’m a bad Brit and hate tea), warm scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes, and the odd side of Champagne. What isn’t there to love about it? I recently tried out the afternoon tea at the Bel & Dragon in Windsor. The historic restaurant and tea room has been serving food and drink since the 11th Century and is just a stone’s throw away from the gates of Windsor Castle and situated just a hop across the footbridge from Eton. It really is in the loveliest of spots. And in fact direct descendants of the 7th Duchess of Bedord and George Cadbury (creator of Drinking Chocolate) are involved in the business, which aspires to bring you the very best English Afternoon Tea. The 7th Duchess of Bedford,1840, is the Creator of Afternoon Tea. The tradition of afternoon tea is said to have been started by Duchess Anna Maria in the 1840’s as she felt that it was a long time
between lunch & dinner and that taking tea, delicate sandwiches, cakes and biscuits at 5 o’clock helped to bridge the gap…and tbh I couldn’t agree more. What a genius.
The Bel & The Dragon Afternoon Tea menu remains faithful to the classic combination of finger sandwiches, scones served warm, and sweet pastries. They use ingredients that are locally sourced, skilfully prepared and served fresh each day. You can take Afternoon Tea at the Bel & The Dragon Monday to Friday between 2:30pm – 5pm.
The day that we decided to test out this afternoon tea was actually my mums birthday, so after we had been handed the menus and had a peruse, we decided to go all out and order the Champagne Afternoon Tea, which is priced at £46 for 2 people, which is very good value. The Traditional Afternoon Tea is priced at £26 for 2 people, and the Sipsmith London Cup Afternoon Tea at £36 for 2 people. All their Afternoon Teas are fairly priced and include a selection of hand-cut sandwiches (traditional cucumber, Scottish smoked salmon & farmhouse egg & local cress), freshly baked scones with Jersey clotted cream & homemade strawberry jam, freshly baked carrot cake & chocolate brownie. And of course a pot of loose leaf tea. You can choose from a wide selection of teas, including ; East Indian Afternoon Blend, English Breakfast or Earl Grey, Rose of the Orient, Green Tea, Pai Mu Tan White Tea, Lemongrass & Ginger or Fresh Mint, Chamomile, Forest Berries and Rooibos. I went for the fresh mint tea, and my mum went for the forest berries. Neither of us are traditional tea drinkers but we like the odd herbal tea, and of course, we love Champagne. Our lovely afternoon tea came with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, perfect.
We loved the afternoon tea, the sandwiches tasted fresh, the scones were HUGE and done just how I love them, slightly crunchy on the outside and nice and warm and fluffy inside. Because of my nut allergy I didn’t try the carrot cake, but my mum assures me it was delicious, and so was the brownie! The tea room is set at the front of the restaurant and is nice and airy. The decor wasn’t super decadent but it was lovely and warm and homely, which is what I prefer for an afternoon tea setting as it makes it feel more relaxed and cosy, which is just what we need at this time of year!
All in all we had a lovely afternoon tea at the Bel & The Dragon in Windsor, and it was a lovely way to spend my mums birthday. If you’re in the area, definitely make sure to pop in, whether it’s just for just a simple Cream Tea for £6pp, or going all out for the Traditional, Sipsmith Or Champagne options. If you’re local to Berkshire there are a few of the Bel & The Dragon’s dotted about, including Reading, Churt, Cookham, Godalming, Kingsclere, Odiham and Windsor.