Down Hall hotel in Hertfordshire offers an altogether more traditional, three-tiered affair, with classic sandwiches and creative cakes in its Allotment Afternoon Tea. Using seasonal ingredients from the property's 110 acres of gardens and woodland, it includes buttermilk scones, carrot cake, and chocolate soil cheesecake. It starts at just £21.50 or £28.50 with Champagne.
Head chef Matt Hill explained that afternoon tea can be a great extra revenue stream for businesses, at the same time as giving chefs an outlet for creativity. He said: "The flair comes out. You can really play around with the cakes and the setting, and that’s really well received by our customers, and is a social talking point. You can't reinvent the wheel, but I try to play around with the classics and keep things interesting. I ask myself, if I sat down and ate this, would I be happy? And for our afternoon tea, the answer for me is yes."
On the subject of afternoon tea becoming ever more in demand, he added: "It’s has always been popular, but without a doubt, the Great British Bake Off has made everyone far more interested in baking, cakes, and cooking. It does inspire people and make them more interested, and I think that has an impact on people going to different places and eating that. I think it does strike a chord. It gives our customers a different option, as they might not want something as formal as lunch or dinner, and it bridges the gap."