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Mimi’s Beforenoon Tea - Is it just breakfast?
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Mimi’s Bakehouse
63 Shore,
0131 555 5908

Last year, a friend made the rather excellent New Year’s resolution to go for afternoon tea once a month. This is my kind of resolution. After all, there is little to fault with afternoon tea. It's all the best bits of eating, rolled into one. Lots of tiny cakes, so you can effectively try all the deserts on the menu. Little sandwiches with delicate fillings, and the crusts cut off (because, let's be honest, they are better that way). Warm scones, with cream (cream!) and jam. And now, with the proliferation of afternoon teas, you're not even limited to a pot of Earl Grey to wash it down: prosecco, champagne, cocktails, coffee and hot chocolate are all possibilities. And with this, comfortable chairs, cute china cups, and the laziness of an afternoon being well fed.

So it's difficult to think of ways to improve afternoon tea. But that's never stopped people from trying, and in my opinion, there’s been a recent winner. Mimi's Bakehouse has been offering 'before noon teas' at the weekends, and they are rather fabulous. Bacon rolls replace sandwiches, little pots of compote and granola in lieu of mousses or trifles, and mini waffles with toffee sauce, muffins and cinnamon pastries are cakes by another name. The scones remain as scones, but oh so lovely.

As a more cynical friend pointed out, isn’t that just breakfast? It may be, but it’s presented on a three-tier cake stand. A gimmick? he suggested. Possibly (he is cynical), but it's an awfully good one. It somehow makes brunching with friends feel even more Sex and the City than brunching with friends! And of course, being a good idea, it's already begun to be copied: I predict by the end of 2018, morning teas will be a lot more common.

So where does afternoon tea go from here? It could try other meals, but high tea already fills the evening meal slot. A cocktail tea could be worth exploring. I’m seeing a mirrored tray tower with a tier of olives, charcuterie and nuts, followed by some elegant canapes, and then boozy truffles, washed down with martinis and bellinis. 

Whatever its future and form, I will always have time for any-time-of-day tea. And that’s one resolution I know I will keep. (R. Edwards) 

Mimi's Beforenoon Tea is available 9-12, Saturday and Sunday, at the Shore location, £15 or £17 with fresh fruit juice.

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