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Food review: Afternoon tea, Assembly House, Norwich

The Assembly House's Peter Pan themed afternoon tea. Photo: Steve Adams
The Assembly House's Peter Pan themed afternoon tea. Photo: Steve Adams

The Assembly House, Norwich

Every Assembly House afternoon tea is a marvel and a wonder - the exquisite cakes, the perfect scones, the delicious sandwiches, the inspired savouries, the impressive range of teas, the glorious setting and the delightful staff.

In the unlikely event all this is not quite magical enough, then the glittering icing on the sparkling cake is the chance to add a glass of bubbly or specially-designed cocktail.

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy afternoon tea at some of the glitziest establishments in the country and never met a match for the Assembly House.

Several times a year the Norwich restaurant releases a specially themed version of its much-loved tea. This summer’s Peter Pan tea is magical in a myriad of ways. Firstly there is the magic of a story alive with fairies, mermaids and a boy who can fly. Then a donation from every tea goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital (as author JM Barrie donated the book’s copyright to the hospital.)

And the dainty food itself must be the work of a magician. A tiny gateau is made from multiple layers of prettily coloured sponge and cherry buttercream. There is a parmesan biscuit shaped like a pirate’s hat, a pineapple fairy cake with a tiny edible treasure map, a jelly crocodile on a trifle and gold dust on a star-shaped chocolate and an apple and elderflower macaron.

When the three tiers of edible art arrive the confection of sweet treats on top can be admired for the longest. First there are the sandwiches – and what sandwiches! A relative reckons these are her favourite part. I’m not sure I believe that, mum, think of the scones and clotted cream, the savoury tier including sausage roll and tiny cheese and tomato toastie. But they are splendid, with four fillings per person, plus appropriate adaptations for different diets.

You could even have more sandwiches, and more tea, from the huge range of teas offered. The warm, light scones arrive separately, one cheese (and chive and mustard) and one fruit apiece. And so to the top tier

The beautiful menu sheet with city skyline and island map, includes the Peter Pan quote: ‘Would you like to have an adventure now or would you like to have your tea first?’

At the Assembly House, have both, have your cake and eat it, with the indulgent adventure of its Peter Pan afternoon tea, served until September 17.



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