Afternoon Tea at The Ivy on the Square with Life & Style Edinburgh
It's not every Tuesday you spend a few hours enjoying afternoon tea somewhere as special as The Ivy on the Square - so to do just that earlier this week was a real treat. I was kindly invited along to celebrate the launch of Life & Style, which you can read more about here.
Ahead of Life & Style, which takes place on May 5 and 6, I was joined by a group of gorgeous bloggers, including Hayley, Joy and Susie, to talk about the upcoming event and enjoy The Ivy's incredible afternoon tea spread. We were also joined by fashion designer and author Lynne McCrossan, who'll be compering the catwalk show at Life & Style, and the lovely Gillian, who's leading a photography workshop in collaboration with John Lewis. And lovely Susie is compering the main event - the Lifestyle Stage, where some of the country's most in-demand experts will be coming to Edinburgh to present one-off masterclasses showing off the tips and techniques that keep them on the A-list speed dial. I'm particularly excited about Jason Collier (VB's hairdresser - he knows his stuff) and Meghan Markle's facialist, former supermodel Charlotte Connoley. Who wouldn't want to learn how to get that glow?! You can grab tickets to the Lifestyle Stage when you buy your ticket, but spaces are limited and demand is bound to be through the roof...
But back to the afternoon tea. You all know that I love The Ivy on the Square and will happily accept any invitation to visit, so I was doubly excited to be invited along to sample their Champagne afternoon tea for the first time. Seated on the first floor, beside the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, we enjoyed beautiful views out over St Andrew Square in glorious sunshine and were looked after so well throughout the visit - the service here is just always spot-on.
Afternoon tea started with - you guessed it - a nice cup of tea, but we were also treated to a glass of The Ivy's own deliciously crisp Champagne, the perfect tipple on a sunny afternoon. And then we could make a start on the stands piled high in front of us, heaped with tasty savouries and dangerously tempting patisserie too.
Everything on the menu at The Ivy's afternoon tea is elevated beyond the ordinary. No plain egg'n'cress sandwiches here; I started with a truffled chicken brioche roll, and moved on to the Scandi-style smoked salmon on dark rye. Even the cucumber sandwiches have been given a little bit of glitz, marinated with dill to pack a flavour punch.
My favourite part of afternoon tea is always the scones (I don't care how you say it, just eat it!), and they were just heavenly here. Warm and fruity (hello), smothered in strawberry jam and dolloped with thick clotted cream and a couple of fresh strawberries - who could possibly ask for more? I was euphoric.
Sweet teeth have even more treats in store when you work your way over to the cake tier of your tea stand. There's a zingy little raspberry cheesecake tartlet, a seriously indulgent chocolate and salted caramel mousse (with a layer of utterly delightful caramel sauce at the bottom!) and to finish, a miniature creme brulee doughnut which I adored, and which some of my companions were raving about.
Afternoon tea at The Ivy on the Square is very reasonable too; from £7.95 for the cream tea option, to £17.95 for the afternoon tea and £25.95 for the Champagne version, it's competitively priced for such a high-end experience. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, and they'll cater for your diet with ease; our group was served vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan versions of the afternoon tea to suit.
If you're planning on heading along to Life & Style with the girls next month, I'd highly recommend booking a table for afternoon tea at The Ivy on the Square afterwards; it's the perfect way to finish off a stylish day out. Hope to see you there - I'll be in the window seat with a plate of scones...