When you work in Belfast’s top luxury hotel, you see a LOT of afternoon tea, and sometimes even get to eat it if you play your cards right. However, one thing I hadn’t ticked off my list until this weekend was the ‘Asian Fusion’ Afternoon Tea. I love Asian food, I love cake – sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Allow me to present to you Solo Kitchen and Bar – which was previously Maze Restaurant for anyone who remembers that little gem!
On arrival were seated in one of the cosy little booths and presented with two glasses of Prosecco, something that I think may have been a blogger’s perk but could definitely be arranged on request to make your day extra special, or if like me you are not a tea drinker!
As for the afternoon tea itself, it was everything I love about traditional afternoon tea, with some added Asian twists and a whole layer of hot food, making it a little more like lunch than regular afternoon teas. It might have been best to start with the sandwiches, like a starter, work through to the hot food and then tackle the cakes and scones as desserts, but instead we worked from bottom to top, and enjoyed every single bite.
When it came to hot food, it was more a question of what to eat first than how to share the food, so we quickly split the plate in three and sampled a little bit of everything. My personal favourite was the pulled pork slider, probably because I have a long term love affair going on with pulled pork, but the warm breaded brie and samosa weren’t far behind. Whilst each of these items were listed with an individual sauce, like Cumberland sauce or mango chutney, these came in their own little ramekins, meaning that you could mix and match, as well as keeping a little behind to dip your crusts in later!
Next up were the sandwiches, and due to the fact that I’m a bit of a fusspot, I was glad of the variety since my mum and I split the selection based on our preferences. I made a beeline for the Coronation Chicken sandwiches on the softest granary bread I have tasted in a long while; and mum enjoyed the open salmon sandwiches, since I’m not a fan of seafood but she absolutely loves it. Her only tiny suggestion would have been a wedge of lemon for her salmon, but enjoyed it regardless.
But without a doubt the stand out item on this plate – and maybe the whole tray – was the bruschetta, made with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, red onion and pesto, served on incredibly moreish focaccia bread. Normally, this wouldn’t be my first choice, but the fresh flavours of the tomato, combined with garlic and pesto worked amazingly, and almost cleansed our palate for dessert in an unexpected way. Before the bruschetta, both of us were struggling to make it to the sweet section of our treats, but after this we had found our second wind.
Finally, it was time for dessert, and despite having almost satisfied our appetites before we got this far, we rallied and had a taste of everything. By far the most traditional element of the Afternoon Tea ( as even the sandwiches had been given an Eastern twist) the top plate contained three elements: a slice of creamy chocolate cake, an incredibly moist cake that I couldn’t quite identify but loved all the same, and a scone served with cream and strawberry jam. These three sweet treats are total crowd pleasers, and something that everyone will definitely enjoy, but as more of a Victoria Sponge than chocolate cake kinda girl, the other two items were my final favourites.
After sitting over our treats for around an hour and a half, we left Solo with full bellies and incredibly happy faces, ready for an afternoon of shopping. I would without a doubt recommend it to anyone, as not only is it delicious for a girly treat with your mum or some friends, but it is perfectly located in the City Centre (if you’re facing the City Hall from Royal Avenue, it’s just a short walk to the right!) to make a day of it!
Fusion Afternoon Tea at Solo Kitchen and Bar is £18 per person, with a supplementary £5 if you would like a glass of Prosecco. And if my descriptions didn’t cut the mustard, you can view the menu here.
*I received a complimentary afternoon tea at Solo Kitchen and Bar for review, and much as I love a freebie, all of my reviews are 100% honest!