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The Colonnades at the Signet Library - Books, bakes and barristers
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The Colonnades
The Signet Library, Parliament Square,
Royal Mile,
Edinburgh,
Midlothian,
EH1 1RF
0131 225 0651

Seated in a nook of The Signet Library I look at the books behind me which contain the parliamentary debates of the House of Common in the 1920s.  This is the former advocates’ library, a sedate and historical setting for the ritual of Afternoon Tea. Especially as it is a mere stone’s throw away from the brouhaha of the Royal Mile.  

I am here for Afternoon Tea with my friend Shawna who runs the Instagram feed Exploring Edinburgh. 

We start with the library’s commissioned signature blend of tea; a nutty, dry, refreshing Darjeeling. Shawna and I are both tea drinkers, and the beverage is unlimited and served in silver pots.

A cup of creamy carrot and coriander soup precedes our first course, a three-tiered stand of savoury treats. The highlight  is a puff of choux pastry stuffed with a creamy mushroom mixture dusted in vibrant green tarragon. There are also sandwiches and delicacies such as the mini salmon, smoked haddock and saffron pie.

Second course comprises three tiers of sweet treats, which are exemplary and eventually defeat us despite our heroic efforts. If you like cake (hello!), you won't be disappointed.

Delicate pink and yellow rhubarb and custard macarons dissolve in the mouth whiles a moussy, banoffee entremet has pungent flavour. Passion fruit shots are juicy and tropical, but we really need teeny spoons to scoop up every last morsel. None are presented so we improvise with our knives. Classic lemon tart has a modern twist of a crisp green tea pastry. A take on dark chocolate baked Alaska sees pipettes of soft Italian meringue surround sweet chocolate mousse. Bite-sized carrot cakes are popped into mouths before Shawna finally asks for a doggy bag for the scones.   

Award-winning caterers Heritage Portfolio are at the catering helm here and they have been granted a royal warrant of appointment to the queen. You can also enjoy lunch, cocktails and bubbles in the elegant surroundings.

It’s a real treat.   

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