I absolutely adore afternoon tea, and whilst there are many places offering it in Birmingham, I have yet to try out the majority of them, as I have fallen in love with the afternoon tea experience at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Brindley Place. I can honestly say that I have been 5 times throughout 2015. Yes, five times! ^^; This was actually the place I first had afternoon tea, as I took my friend who was visiting from Japan who wanted to experience it, but ever since that afternoon I've been addicted! Whenever I arrange to have afternoon tea, I ALWAYS end up going back here, because I've always had such a great experience every time I've been, and I think the price is very reasonable!
The booking process is super simple, you just go on the website and make a reservation through the online calendar system. The afternoon tea takes places daily between 2:30 pm to 5pm, in the “City Café Restaurant” and whilst it may not be the ~fanciest~ of tea rooms, and doesn't play music, it's comfortable, clean and cozy, which is all you really need. Especially for me because I want to chat with my friends, and not always fight to be heard over music. It costs £15.95, but I have a Brindley Place loyalty card, which gets me a further discount! :D Giving away all my secrets in this post! Shhh! ;) Haha!
They do offer a wide choice of tea, however the teas are just brewed from tea bags, so if you’re more of a loose leaf tea kind of person, and want tea of a higher quality this will probably disappoint you. There’s standard choices like Assam (my fave!) and English breakfast, to more interesting types like lemon & ginger and rooibos. In my experience they will replenish your tea as often as you’d like, and you’re welcome to try any of the teas that are available. I once took 2 of my Korean friends here, and they honestly tried every single tea on the menu, but the staff really didn't seem to mind.
SandwichesIn my opinion the finger sandwiches are always delicious, and the bread is always soft. You get a variety of fillings, and 4 finger sandwiches each. They’re also happy to accommodate different dietary requirements, as I have been with friends who needed a pure vegetarian selection, and Muslim friends who received a pescatarian afternoon tea. (Halal meat is not available)
The scones are my absolute favourite, they usually come out hot, warm and fresh, and you get a plain scone and fruit scone each. There’s also plenty of cream and strawberry jam available. I've never had to ask for extra cream or jam, but if you needed it, I’m sure they’d provide it.
Look at that scrummy scone!
Then there's the adorable petits fours. I'm always happy with what I've received. Every time I've been there’s a chocolate éclair, and lately I've noticed a macaron is always included too. The macaron's aren't Laduree standard, but they aren't the worst I've ever had either, they are still tasty and enjoyable. Behold 3 different petits fours I have happily consumed!*Note: I've read online that they offer 2 cakes, so I’m not sure if they've changed their menu slightly, or if the information online is incorrect/old.
Staff & extra
The staff are friendly and attentive, and are always happy to replenish your tea. Sometimes I've arrived earlier or later than expected, and it has never been a problem for the staff. Once my friends and I were enjoying ourselves too much and were still there way past the ending time, yet the staff did not rush us or ask us to leave, which I really appreciated. If you have food left, that you simply can’t finish, the staff will happily box it up for you, so you can take it home! You can wear pretty much whatever you want. I've worn jeans before and it wasn't an issue. There’s a car park literally 5 minutes away from the hotel, so finding somewhere to park shouldn't be a major problem.
Overall the Hilton Garden Inn has a lovely, casual and relaxed afternoon tea experience, which I think is reasonably priced, and I will happily visit again, but I’ve told myself I will try more locations in 2016, because I’m sure there are other places that also do an excellent afternoon tea, and I want to try them all!
Thanks for reading!