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One Square - Orchard Afternoon Tea
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One Square
The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa,
1 Festival Square,
0131 221 6422
available, Daily, in One Square, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm, throughout October and November
To book, please call or visit www.OneSquareEdinburgh.co.uk for more details.

 On one of Edinburgh's many rainy Friday afternoons, I settled in to a window seat at the One Square to sample their Orchard afternoon tea. Themed around fruits of the orchard and embracing the autumn season, the menu promised locally sourced luxury.

Afternoon Tea is £25, but in a twist from the norm, this includes a cocktail. It doesn't, however, include tea. But we were enticed by the caddy of loose leaf teas placed on our table with the invitation to sniff those on offer. With choices such as caramel rooibos and mint with rose, the extra £3.85 for a pot was well worth it. Cocktails were based on local Thistly Cross cider mixed with gin, and set the tone for what could have become quite a boozy afternoon had we not been visiting in a professional capacity. 

Fortunately the food arrived before things got too messy, and there was certainly plenty to counter the cider. Star savouries included a pear and stilton tart with walnut crumble, and slow cooked duck and sweet cherry compote on toasted thyme brioche. Onto the sweets, of which there were seven to choose from: an excess of puddings that ranged from apricot fool to cherry and walnut cake. Apple sorbet balls dipped in white chocolate were the star for me and my companion, the Contessa di Cake, but the pear and dark chocolate crisp pecan sandwich also deserves a very honourable mention. Three different scones, with lashings of cream and jam, awaited us but we were near defeat. The Mull cheddar and wholegrain mustard variety was the favourite, although the kirsch-soaked cherry version was delicious too.

Our only criticism, if it can be called such, was that it was too much. The Contessa has been known to eat a bag of Maltesers - the sharing size - for lunch and wash it down with a king size Milky Way. Even she struggled, and half an afternoon tea was packed up for later.

With the drinks included, this is perhaps more one for an afternoon with the girls than your parents' golden anniversary. But as the rain poured down on Festival Square and a rainbow burst forth over the Castle, cup of tea in one hand and cocktail in the other, there was nowhere I'd rather have been. (R. Edwards) 

This indulgent culinary treat is available, daily, in One Square, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm, throughout October and November, and costs £25 per person including a gin cocktail (add £3.85 to include a choice of enveloped or loose leaf tea, traditionally prepared at the table). To book, please call 0131 221 6422 or visit www.OneSquareEdinburgh.co.uk for more details.


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