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Review: The Pump Room Afternoon Tea

Our Lifestyle Editor Emily Griffin was invited to taste the new Afternoon Tea menu at Bath's iconic Pump Room. Here's how she got on...

There are some things in Bath that you must do; and visiting the Roman Baths and Pump Room should be top of your list.

The Pump Room is the epitome of Bath, it’s stylish, sophisticated and wonderfully unique. There really isn’t an experience like it. From the immaculately uniformed waiting staff, to the abundance of crystal chandeliers and the classical trio, the Pump Room reintroduces the refined elegance of Bath’s rich history.

Situated in the courtyard of the Abbey, it’s the perfect venue for afternoon tea with friends, family or to celebrate a very special occasion.

On entering the Pump Room your eyes are immediately drawn to the impressive architecture and the elaborately decorated tall ceilings; its grandeur is unmissable. Once you’ve absorbed the breath-taking décor, you’re met with warm and friendly smiles from the Pump Room staff.

We were shown to our table, and provided with our menu and a wonderful glass of chilled pink prosecco.  Our waiter for the afternoon was Michael - and he couldn’t have been better. He was attentive, polite and extremely engaging. We chose our teas from the impressive selection, Earl Grey for me and English Breakfast for my guests.

We opted for the Pump Room Tea; a beautifully created high tea tower adorned with sweet and savoury treats. The menu description didn’t do the selection justice; when the food was delivered to our table we had to take a minute to just admire the edible masterpiece.

Our tea was served in large tea pot, with loose leaf tea, and an extra pot of hot water. As a bit of a tea fanatic, this is exactly the best way to serve it.

Each plate on the stand was adorned with delicately formed savoury bites, sticky sweet patisseries, crust-less sandwiches, freshly baked scones and even more mouth-watering morsels.

We decided on a very traditional approach and started with the sandwiches. The bread was soft and light and they were well filled with a selection of Honey Roast Ham, Egg Mayonnaise with Mustard Cress, and my personal favourite Cucumber. You could tell they had been freshly made as although crust-less, the bread wasn’t dry at all.  Amongst the savoury shelf were miniature Chedder Scones with Tomato and Chive Cream Cheese and a Poached Salmon Shot with Crisp Breads.

I’m not a huge fan of fish, so the Salmon Shot was passed along to one of my guests. However, I could have eaten about five of the mini cheddar scones – they were scrumptiously moreish. Light in texture but heavy on flavour.

Whilst we dined we enjoyed the wonderful music being played live by a trio of musicians. The calming sounds of their strings and the low chatter in the room made for a lovely atmosphere. 

After we’d consumed the entire middle shelf, we moved on to the warm scones. There were two each which I thought was extremely generous. I’m not pro-sharing my jam and cream, so it was very pleasing to have my own pots and unsparingly top my scone with the thick clotted cream and sweet strawberry jam. 

We finished our afternoon tea with the sophisticated looking patisseries that ornamented the final tier. They almost looked too good to eat – almost but not quite! We enjoyed a charming fresh Strawberry Tart, a lavishly rich Chocolate and Coffee Opera Cake, and the most delicate Raspberry Chox topped with icing and freeze dried raspberry pieces, and of course, crisp macaroons.

Throughout the afternoon, our service from Michael was outstanding. For me, the Pump Room will always be a place of wonder and indulgence as I was taken their by my Grandmother as a small child. So, it was only fair that I returned the favour and took her back as my very special guest. That’s what the Pump Room does, it makes you feel special.

My Grandmother has been visiting the Pump Room for over 50 years, but due to ill health it had been a good 15 years since her last visit. She was overjoyed to visit again, and when Michael kindly took her musical request to the musicians, the ambience and the memories brought a tear to her eye. Over the years the Pump Room has managed to maintain its magic and elegance, and if anything the experience has just got better, even my Grandmother agreed. It’s not just a place to dine, it’s a place to indulge in great food and create wonderful memories.

The Pump Room Tea is £21pp, for more information or to make a reservation call 01225 444477 or email [email protected].

The Pump Room Restaurant

The Roman Baths , Abbey Church Yard , Bath , Somerset, BA1 1LZ

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