It’s the kind of place where they don’t judge you for ordering three lots of sandwiches and extra bowls of clotted cream because you’re fully committed the ‘go hard or go home’ approach to afternoon tea. Which is exactly what we did on Sunday. Thank god for elasticated waistbands.
The traditional afternoon tea features everything you’d expect from a really, really good venue. We had crust-free miniature sandwiches filled with egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cucumber and chicken, a heaped platter of plain and fruit scones and a selection of delicate pastries and desserts that were almost too good to eat.
I have no idea what they put in the chicken sandwiches, but we all agreed it was some sort of food crack as the delicate herbs and chunky chicken meant that we made our way through three plates of these. #ihavenoregrets
The gluten-free people also did incredibly well with freshly made scones, open sandwiches on gluten free bread and a selection of macarons and gluten free patisserie that looked divine. There was also a choice of around 20 different teas to choose from – I went for trusty Green Tea with Mint but the others sampled Very Berry, South Lodge Blend and Chocolate tea to name a few.
We all agreed that the scones were some of the best we’d tried (even the gluten free ones!) – still slightly warm, with a rich, buttery crust and a slight spring inside. After the obvious debates about whether the jam or cream goes on first, we kind of decided it didn’t matter so long as you had enough clotted cream to leave teeth marks.
As it was a sunny day, we ended up sat outside on their terrace which was lovely, and although it got a bit chilly later on in the afternoon, they had some decent patio heaters to stop us from getting too cold. A cheeky bottle of sparkling Nyetimer wine also didn’t go amiss; turns out England’s version of champagne is really rather good!
The best bit of the South Lodge experience is that even after you’ve stuffed yourself senseless on all the delicious treats, they then give you an extra slice of cake in a box to take home. Yup, more cake. Because everyone gets hungry at 8pm and wishes they had more cake. Or alternatively, your boyfriend eats it for you instead as you’re still in a clotted cream related coma 5 hours later.
If you’re on the hunt for a special afternoon tea in the South East, I’d definitely recommend a visit to South Lodge. It costs £29.50 per person (including refills) and can be booked directly through their website.
Where’s your favourite spot for afternoon tea?