The Tea Files - The Sanderson

It's now an annual (as well as monthly) tradition of mine to attend an afternoon tea around the Christmas period with my mama. Although we do make a habit of going quite a lot for this segment of the blog, it's even more special around the Christmas period where we can have a browse of the shops before sitting down for a good old fashion cake fest. This time, we visited The Sanderson where I have only been once before for a blogging event. This one was recommended by so many of you so I thought it was only right to put it on the list!
If you didn't know, The Sanderson Hotel do a special Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, and being one of those people who is obsessed with Alice in Wonderland I was really excited. 

Upon arrival we were told we could go and sit at the bar, where we asked the barman if it would be possible to have our cocktail (which was included in the afternoon tea) there. However, it appeared he couldn't speak any English at all as he was very confused by what we were asking, before he walked off...unfortunately this wasn't the best start.

We instead asked to be seated at our table, which was a bloggers dream; white marble. 

There was also a gorgeous selection of tea leaves stored in magical glass bottles. 

One of my favourite things had to be the menu. It was printed inside a vintage copy of Black Beauty, one of my favourite books as a child, so I absolutely loved this! 

I have to say, the whole aesthetic was gorgeous. The china was lovely and quirky, I loved the idea of the books and the table was gorgeous. 

The cocktail soon arrived and I gave mine to my mama of course, because I don't drink. 

I, of course, ordered hot chocolate which was pleasant enough but not the best I'd ever tasted. 

The tea was served in a King of Hearts teapot, complete with crown. Loved this design but they didn't pour the tea for I just being picky here? 

The first course of sandwiches arrived which included a smoked salmon, quail egg and caviar scotch egg, ham and applewood croque-monsieur, a crab and herb eclair and cucumber and cream cheese on lime bread. The scotch egg and cucumber sandwich were absolutely lovely and some of the best I've tasted! The croque-monsieur had really nice flavours but it wasn't as warm as it could have been when it arrived so the cheese had some what solidified. And I have to say the crab eclair was just a poorly executed idea. The filling was absolutely delicious and would have been perfect in just a normal sandwich, but the choux pastry they had decided to put it in was rock hard and flavourless. We mentioned this to the waitress who apologised but it wasn't mentioned further. 

Now, before I continue, I have to say that I'm always 100% honest in my reviews and I absolutely hate writing negative ones. Some people do question why I even put negative reviews up for The Tea Files, but the whole point of the series is to give a broad view of as many afternoon teas as I can. So, with that in mind I really hope you understand that I'm not trying to be mean or viscious with this review, I just have to be honest. 

Continuing on from the sandwiches, we were not offered any extra and they simply moved on to the next course. Considering this afternoon tea was £48 per person I thought this was a little stingy. 

Soon, the cakes and pastries arrived on a gorgeous display, with a grassy tea cup topping it off! All of the desserts were presented beautifully with gorgeous, vibrant colours. 

There was even a 'Drink Me' bottle which was absolutely adorable! It contained passionfruit, mango mousse and coconut panna cotta. It was delicious but unfortunately the mixture was quite thick so you couldn't get all of it out through the straw. 

The cakes were adorable, including an oreo playing card, coffee macaron, butterfly banana bread and red velvet ladybirds. 

Unfortunately all of the cakes were fairly average when it came to flavour and many of them were very dry. They tasted as though they had possibly been made the day before and then been stored in the fridge as they weren't fresh which was a real shame as they looked lovely. 

The scones were served with clotted cream and jam and they really weren't very good. They were rock hard and flavourless. Again, it felt as though they weren't fresh. 

Ugh, I really hate writing bad reviews! Once the plates had been cleared, we were asked how everything was, to which we replied it wasn't great and certainly not the best afternoon tea we've ever had. The waiter proceeded to say "Oh really?" and laughed. Of course we were presented with our bill at full price and nothing further was mentioned about it. 

We were given a cute little flower pot ice cream for afters which again, was absolutely beautiful, but just didn't taste great. 

So, we promptly paid and left. I hope I gave credit where credit was due in this review, because the theme and the aesthetic of the entire tea was lovely. Honestly, everything was beautifully presented and really gave a gorgeous vibe, but the service and food itself was such a let down. For £48 per person as well, I expected so much more. I'm wondering whether or not it was due to the fact that they were very busy and it was the Christmas period that they had let their standards slip? The restaurant was full when we were there so this could have been the reason. 

Our Tea Files Rating is 3/10. 

It was such a huge disappointment, especially as it was meant to be our Christmas special and since so many people had recommended it to me previously. I feel like I haven't had the best luck with Alice in Wonderland afternoon teas! 

Let me know where we should visit next in the comments!

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