Restaurant review: Afternoon Tea at Bel and The Dragon, Windsor

Bel & the Dragon Windsor Afternoon Tea
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Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.
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What is more British than the institution of Afternoon Tea? Throw in a descendent of George Cadbury, the founder of the British chocolate company and you’ve got good beginnings for Afternoon Tea. Bel & The Dragon in Windsor, co-owned by Joel Cadbury, recently show cased its Afternoon Tea offering, so we obliged a visit to try out their offering.

Location

Bel & The Dragon in Windsor is (literally) a moment’s walk from the Windsor & Eton Riverside station, so is an ideal location to stop either at the beginning or at the end of a day trip to the royal town. Afternoon tea is available Monday – Friday 2:30pm – 5pm according to their website, although we managed to enjoy it on a Saturday; it would be foolish to discriminate against weekend visitors.

With low beams and wooden panelling, you do immediately sense the history of the venue as you enter. Scrubbed wooden tables and a rustic interior provide a no-fuss backdrop to the food. We surprisingly found service a little slow initially during the mid-afternoon slump, but this was soon corrected and suspect it was a one-off blip rather than anything of concern.

Bel & the Dragon Windsor Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea menu

The menu for Afternoon Tea (£26 for two) comprises a traditional offering of cucumber, smoked salmon, and egg and cress sandwiches, with scones (served with Jersey clotted cream and jam) and freshly baked carrot cake and a chocolate brownie. There are a handful of tea options, we chose the Earl Grey and the fresh mint teas. Afternoon Tea can be upgraded to include a Sipsmith London Cup cocktail or a glass (or bottle) of Laurent-Perrier Rosé champagne (£46 includes a glass of champagne each), which we opted for.

The presentation of the Afternoon Tea on only two tiers was initially rather haphazard with the jam and cream for the scones being served on the same tier as the savoury items. This two-tiered approach did also give a rather meagre impression; however Bel & The Dragon countered this with larger portion sizes, we can confirm there is a sufficient amount of food. The more typical three tiers – the bottom tier for savoury items, middle tier for scones and top tier for desserts, would allow for better presentation.

Bel & the Dragon Windsor Afternoon Tea

The cucumber sandwiches were substantially over salted, but the smoked salmon and egg and cress sandwiches were well balance and presented. The scones were light and well baked, served with Jersey clotted cream and jam, but where were the raisin scones? Again, the third tier would have allowed space for them.
For dessert, very generous portions of carrot cake and chocolate brownie were served. Both were very moist, rich and exactly what was needed to round off Afternoon Tea.

Overall impressions

Bel & The Dragon boasts a prime location in Windsor, so it will be difficult to overlook this venue. The Laurent-Perrier Rosé champagne is an exquisite choice to offer a touch of sophistication to Afternoon Tea. The menu offers good quality products at good value; however it is let down by presentation. Smaller portions and more items would be preferable. If you can overlook these minor foibles, we recommend a visit.

To book, visit belandthedragon-windsor.co.uk or call 01753 866056.

Bel & The Dragon is located at 1 Datchet Road, Windsor, SL4 1QB

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