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Working with Corus Hotels (owner of Burnham Beeches Hotel) was a clever business move not just for Laura Ashley but for consumers of Afternoon Tea too, it turns out. Burnham Beeches Hotel has recently renovated one its dining rooms entirely with Laura Ashley soft furnishings. The result: an elegant space perfectly presented for Afternoon Tea.
Burnham Beeches Hotel
The hotel has started a complete renovation with a dining room, which has now become the Laura Ashley Tea Room. Burnham Beeches plans to continue in 2019 with the remaining public areas, and then rooms with the same Laura Ashley interior. Taking a tour we definitely noticed the dated interiors are in desperate need. However as a setting for an Afternoon Tea, this venue, 40 minutes’ by train from central London is an ideal location for a glass (or two) of bubbles, tea, sandwiches warm scones and patisserie.
Laura Ashley Tea Room
The Tea Room is decorated in signature Laura Ashley style featuring products from Laura Ashley’s accessories, furnishing and decorating ranges. Beautiful floral prints in muted colours including Baroque Pale Grape floral wallpaper are complemented by Pale Steel painted walls with a Grape colour feature wall. The bright and airy space with high ceiling and large windows, complemented by classic architectural features, makes for a striking backdrop against which to showcase Laura Ashley soft furnishings and decorative items including mirrors, ornaments and a small selection of vintage teapots.
Guests can expect a selection of freshly made finger sandwiches, which include a cucumber with cream cheese and dill on granary bread; Wiltshire ham with grain mustard on onion bread; egg mayonnaise on a brioche bun, and Loch Duart smoked salmon and lemon butter open on rye bread. We found the bread a little dry for our sandwiches, but all well filled and presented. We’re informed that the menu will rotate with the seasons, so a turkey one will be available during winter.
Service includes warm, freshly baked fruit and plain scones with artisan jam and Cornish clotted cream including a selection of teas. We gladly found sufficient of both jam and cream that we didn’t have to ask for more. The abhorrent practice of scanting on clotted cream is thankfully not present at Burnham Beeches Hotel. A selection of eight teas are available to choose, as well as coffee for those who prefer it.
The patisserie selection changes regularly, all produced using seasonal produce by Head Pastry Chef, Laura Zilio. On our visit, these included a a chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell, a raspberry bavarois, a rosemary sponge with buttercream, and a mini apple and cinnamon tart. Particular favourite were the bavarois and apple tart, both superbly put together although the latter could have been jazzed up with a lot more edible glitter. We always carry some around at Vada, for just such zhooshing up necessities.
This tradition Afternoon Tea costs £24 per person, and for those wanting to add a glass bubbles can do so in the form of Prosecco, Champagne or Hattingley Valley English Sparkling Wine, which brings the price range from £29 to £34.
The investment in the refurbishment of the Laura Ashley Tea Room at Burnham Beeches has created an elegant setting for Afternoon Tea. The food service itself was well presented, and shows creativity and quality. Combined with the very reasonable price point, this is definitely a location to consider for the next indulgent afternoon out of the city.
Burnham Beeches Hotel is located on Grove Road, Burnham, Slough, SL1 8DP
The Laura Ashley Tea Room at Burnham Beeches Hotel is open from midday to 6pm, with three sittings available. To book, visit lauraashleythetearoom.com or call 01628 429955.