While top hats and corsets are thankfully consigned to history, the Victorian tradition of afternoon tea is here to stay. Brighton has some particularly enticing options that are perfect for a Mother’s Day treat, on or around March 27.
The Traditional One: The Grand
If you’d prefer a heritage setting for a classic afternoon tea in Brighton look no further than the Victoria Terrace & Lounge of seafront hotel The Grand. The venue may be traditional but there’s ample creative flair involved. Savouries include a mini kedgeree, while the likes of chocolate and raspberry éclair and lemon meringue tart feature in the patisserie selection. Choose from a wide choice of teas, or upgrade to a Brighton Gin or glass of Möet. As a bonus, there’s a discount for teas served Monday to Thursday.
The Glamorous One: The Ivy in The Lanes
If you want a sense of occasion without a hint of stuffiness The Ivy is the place. Think velvet banquets and linen tablecloths teamed with colourful contemporary prints and tropical wallpaper. There’s even a giant octopus fresco on one of the ceilings! The tea also has some fun twists, like mini berry smoothies nestled among the scones, cakes and macarons. It’s served up daily and can be washed down with a choice of teas and coffees or a glass of fizz. Don’t miss visiting the loos, which are surely the plushest in Brighton.
The Sea View One: West Beach Bar & Kitchen at BAi360
The views are the star when you take your afternoon tea i360 style. You’ll be dining within a pebble’s throw of the beach and can round off your sea view afternoon tea with a flight in the pod to see right across the city to the South Downs. The tea itself swaps sandwiches for mini brisket or tofu sliders and a classic prawn cocktail. The indulgence continues with lemon posset and a dark chocolate brownie, besides, naturally, scones with jam and cream. Tea or coffee is bottomless, or why not swap in hot chocolate or local Nyetimber sparkling wine? There’s a handy smaller tea for children and you can go a little lighter yourself with a flight and cream tea.
The Tea lover’s One: Metro Deco
A classic afternoon tea is served from vintage stands at Metro Deco in Kemptown. Expect savoury creations, cake and scones plus other sweet treats like macrons or tarts with locally sourced ingredients. Tea lovers are particularly well served, with a range of around 30 from Assam and Darjeeling, to exotic infusions with Maca (Peruvian ginseng) and Genmaicha (Japanese green tea with roasted rice). And, because afternoon tea comes with bottomless brews, you can top up or try something different. The café’s also licenced, and private parties can hire a musician or even a drag act.
The Harbourside One: Malmaison
You can watch the comings and goings of yachts at Brighton Marina when you take tea at the cool Malmaison hotel brasserie. There’s even a deck for fine weather. Besides the classic afternoon tea finger sandwiches, scones and cupcakes are interesting savouries like beef or beetroot sliders and sticky Thai wraps. Naturally, there’s tea, Prosecco or champagne on offer but to up the party atmosphere, you can opt for a cocktail accompaniment. Not feeling like a full blowout? Downsize to a classic cream tea, which will still include a scone, carrot cake and cheesecake.
The Fun One: Brighton Harbour Hotel
There’s a firm nod to the nearby Palace Pier in the Funfair Favourites Afternoon Tea at Brighton Harbour Hotel. This one includes fish finger sandwiches, doughnut balls, marshmallow lollipos and even candyfloss, all arranged on a Ferris wheel-shaped stand. Mini popcorn cartons, cheeseburgers and milkshakes also add to the fun. This seaview afternoon tea is served in the hotel’s Harbour Kitchen & Bar from 15.00 to 17.00 daily and includes a bottomless tea selection, or, to push the boat out, upgrade with a glass of Möet.
The Veggie One: Terre à Terre
While most Brighton restaurants can swap in veggie or vegan options, Terre à Terre is the home of plant-based feasting. Its afternoon tea – available Wednesday to Friday and Sunday, has some interesting Asian twists. A bao bun, for instance, comes stuffed with Szechuan-marinated halloumi or tofu, with a side of kimchi and lapsang souchong-pickled watermelon and cucumber. The creativity continues with sweet treats decorated with flowers, among them orange and almond polenta cake with clementine sorbet and pomegranate molasses. You can also go gluten-free or upgrade with fizz, liquors or pudding cocktails.
The Pop-Up One: Tart by Sugardough at Shelter Hall
While Hove bakery Sugardough has a residency at Shelter Hall, it is laying on a full Seaside Afternoon Tea on selected dates, including this Mother’s Day. You’ll kick off with mini brioche rolls and savoury mini puff tarts, with fillings like cauliflower cheese, spinach and truffle oil. Then, move on to sweet treats including Belgian chocolate rum balls, twice-baked croissants and a cup of hot chocolate. This seaview afternoon tea is served on the mezzanine level, so you can book a separate table.