I have previously been at Hotel La Tour to enjoy Future Foodies festival in June and I was amazed at the high quality of this independent hotel in Birmingham. Two months later, I was delighted after being invited to try the new Summer afternoon tea in their Alvar Bar.
The hotel is a very striking, exclusive and trendy place with a nice modern-classic style décor and high class furniture ideal for business meetings, professionals and special occasions. It is conveniently located right in the middle of town, close to the Bullring shopping centre and well communicated by plenty of buses and two train stations.
Walking across the large lobby and going up through a beautiful spiral staircase, you end up in the first floor where Alvar Bar is located, next to the Marcus Wareing inspired Aalto restaurant. The bar area itself is a very comfortable and pleasant space with an array of sofas, oversized lamps and luxury furniture.
Top chart songs turned into piano versions were played as background music, being either very exciting or a real nightmare depending on the person’s opinion but certainly representing the hotel’s modern-classic image.
We were greeted by the maître and lead to our table next to the impressive piano. The new summer menu includes cooler ice tea, a selection of homemade sandwiches, scones and assorted desserts. Special cocktails are offered as a complement.
Cooler teas include ice and fresh summery flavours, like cranberry & orange or raspberry & elderflower among others. I opted for the second, being very nice and perfect to match the food, meanwhile my partner chose an English breakfast cooler tea, quite a bit citrusy to her taste. Classic flavours and coffee were also available.
The individual serving plates were added to the three tier frame one by one meanwhile the waiter described the content in the afternoon tea.
The first layer contained a selection of sans-crust finger sandwiches and a surprising Welsh rarebit with a modern twist served in a pot with crunchy bread sticks that proved to be scrumptious for the palate.
The homemade sandwiches included coronation chicken, ham & tomato, cucumber & mint and smoked salmon with cream cheese. I only tried the tasty salmon sandwich and the refreshing cucumber one, as I don’t like mayonnaise and alternatives offered didn’t show up but my partner said the other ones were nice.
The second layer contained both crumbly plain and fruit scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, which is always the centre of the ceremony.
On the bottom there were impressive assorted little desserts. The selection included a blackberry jammie dodger, lemon sponge with lime butter icing, strawberry macaroon and panacotta, berries & cucumber jelly. I personally loved the macaroon and I think it had a perfect texture, it tasted more like a brownie though, meanwhile the panacotta was a surprisingly good combination using sweet for cucumber. The sponge was superb, far better than I expected, with a very pleasant citrusy flavour.
We also tried their new Royal summer cocktail ‘The Little Prince’, honouring the new Prince George. It is made with gin, passion fruit vodka and syrup and a pasteurised egg white to thicken, all mixed together in a cocktail shaker. The result is an interesting tropical blend very refreshing for the summer.
We spent a lovely afternoon and we ended up stuffed by the end of our tea. I would definitely recommend a visit to Hotel La Tour as an experience to enjoy their magnificent interiors and of course, their superb food. I’m looking forward to going back there again.
* Special offer for British Local Food readers: Try afternoon tea at Hotel La Tour this August 2013, mention this blog and get yourself a free glass of fizz. *
Disclosure: We have been invited by Hotel La Tour to review their new summer afternoon tea.