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Bistro Du Vin - An everyday indulgence
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Our afternoon tea at Hotel du Vin Bistro got off to a shaky start! Nothing serious, just a wobbly cake stand, which actually added to the charm of our visit. We passed on the cocktails and fizz, heading straight to the Bird and Blend teas; who could pass up such delights as Nearly Nirvana - a white blend with jasmine and spearmint (my cuppa of choice), delightfully fresh and fragrant, while his nibs went for the Earl Grey Crème, which I was sceptical about, but did taste like a floral brûlée.

It's so nice to have savouries that are devoid of dry-edged, curled up finger sandwiches ... boring ... instead having smoked salmon draped over cream cheese on a dark rye bread.  Although the fish wasn't Scottish, it was lightly smoked, succulently sweet, a refined match to the malty bread. Egg and cress is de rigueur for AT and I'm always pleased with finger rolls, or in this case, brioche sub - sheer elegance.

Next to hit my plate was the heritage tomato and tapenade galette; a flaky olive pinwheel with a robust tomato topping, yellow and red cherry toms with twee micro herbs. A very umami morsel gone in two bites, followed by a mini croissant stuffed with thick salty ham and delectably nutty Gruyère. Bringing up the rear (I always save the best till last) a darling of a quiche. A crumbly cheese pastry shell filled with a rich, indulgent goat's cheese custard with a thin layer of spinach. I could have eaten half a dozen of these beauties.

It's interesting to watch how others devour their stand of goodies - everyone always starts with savoury, that's easy but what about the sweet layer? Do you have the scones first or last? Cream or jam first? With me it's the latter in both cases! I hit the pistachio roulade, heady with nuts and rich buttery filling. Black Forest next; a hefty hit of chocolate and cherry with a kick of kirsch. A tutti-frutti speckled macaron hiding candied pineapple and orange dissolved like highland mist. The rhubarb and custard tart, although dainty, was a little disappointing, the pastry too soft with not nearly enough punch from the rhubarb.

Now the crowning glory - the scones! They were perfect (and I should know!) coming with three jams and a good dollop of clotted cream. Like the tea, I was in nirvana! (L.Harris)




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