Afternoon tea at the Westbury Hotel costs €45 (that’s excluding champagne which will run you an extra €10.) What you get for your money is mostly disappointing, but I’ll come to that...
The seating and decor in the hotel’s dining area-cum-foyer is grand and gilded. High ceilings and lavish decor add to the sense of circumstance that you associate with afternoon tea and scones. Chandeliers, table spreads and delph are also suitably delicate and pleasing to the eye. The look of the tea service is striking as well, multi-tiered and intricately detailed the sandwiches, cakes and scones look almost too good to eat. And that’s the rub, for the most part the food’s substance can’t compare to its good looks.
The sandwiches are the best part of the menu: salmon, chicken, egg mayonnaise and ham on a selection of breads (with crusts removed) all tasty and filling. One tier up and the scones and sweet-breads don’t fare as well. Plain scones with jam, cream and butter win out over the apple- cinnamon bread and fruit scones; both are too busy with flavour and the fruit scone was too crumbly making it hard to eat or enjoy.
Unfortunately, things only get worse with the dessert selection: fruity moose, chocolate eclairs and tarts. Everything on the dessert menu is not as it appears to be hiding some fatal secret flavouring that takes away from the item’s overall taste. To my mind, the biggest offender is the chocolate eclair which features a strong citrus flavour through its cream filling it came out of nowhere and I felt as if I was eating sour cream. Each subsequent dessert contained a similar “gotcha” ingredient, good for a party prank but not for a cap to an already disappointing meal.
Although the food can’t live up to its aesthetics or the Westbury’s impressive interior - the quality of service and unlimited tea save the experience from being a complete wash. Servers were always helpful and observant and they even wrapped up some uneaten desserts to be inflicted on others later in the day! A good time if you stick to the sandwiches and tea.
Situated just off Dublin's Grafton St, between Trinity College and St Stephen's Green, The Westbury Hotel is perfectly located to explore the City's most fashionable retail and cultural quarter. Designer stores, cool cafés and traditional bars abound, while Dublin's premier theatres, museums and art galleries are all within easy walking distance. (words taken from website www.doylecollection.com/)