A different kind of afternoon tea!
Brighton Food Reviewer, Lyndsey Stoner, March 2017
It is a rare occasion that my husband and I leave the house as a couple, without our 2 little girls quite literally hanging from us. An occasion this rare is not to be wasted on an “it was ok” culinary moment. When we have the opportunity to dine out as a couple we want it to Wow us. To leave us feeling totally satisfied and at ease that we shall now have the foreseeable weekends with our neon parent labels on! This is exactly how the delectable afternoon tea left us feeling at My Brighton (formerly My Hotel) in Brighton: wowed.
My Brighton stands proud in the North Laine area of Brighton, Merkaba is the gem in it’s crown and has long had the reputation as THE place to guzzle delicious edgy cocktails. So cutting edge is their abundance of boozy delights, that some are even served within balls of fire! Yes, really.
It is with little surprise that this same extravagance has been applied to their new afternoon tea offering. This time the flames coming off of the plate are purely metaphorical you’ll be pleased to hear.
Twist on the English classic
Now I should probably disclose that I am a great lover of the whole concept of afternoon tea, a meal between meals is always going to get the seal of approval from over here. However nothing prepared me for the pure theatre of Merkaba’s version of this English classic.
You cannot get away from the absolute wow factor laid out on the slate before you. The intricate detail, the bite sized, perfectly proportioned, mouth watering elements all seem to dazzle.
Let me explain; the concept of this dining experience is to take you on a tour of Brighton through your taste buds. Our city is such a vibrant and exciting place to live that once translated into food, it is nothing but electrifying.
Laid out in front of you is Brighton at it’s best; an oyster shell bursting with fresh seafood, open sandwiches from the legendary Hell’s Kitchen which is just around the corner – think thinly sliced beef, mozzarella and crayfish (not altogether mind you!). Beautiful macarons in pastel colours as well as a collection of delicate looking cakes. There were even pebbles! Chocolate pebbles. They looked so real my husband waited for me to bite into one first! The Duke of York’s Picture House also gets a nod with a popcorn box, just adding to the fun.
My husband and I couldn’t stop marvelling at the huge slates laid out in front of us. There was no time to slip into conversations about our children. How novel! We were far too busy comparing this bit and that bit, and “have you tried this yet?!” I did try trading for a 3rd macaron which was met with laughter…
The stand out part was the element that left me feeling most like we had stumbled upon Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory: the espresso martini served in a tiny cup made entirely from chocolate. That was a first – being able to eat the cup that my cocktail had been served in! I couldn’t stop giggling at the whole idea. I’m not sure I looked entirely sophisticated as I devoured this little gem, but it tasted too good to care.
The fun element is so prominent, and rounded off perfectly with a token, which is placed on top of a blank postcard in amongst the impressive miniatures. Now this is where the attention to detail and a little extravagance really comes into its own. The token is for the photo booth in the corner of the bar so you are able to take home a little reminder complete with an old school vibe.
A hundred times better – and more flattering than a selfie! Our waitress explained that the idea is to stick the photo sheet onto the postcard and send it out to a pal. Now that’s cute. Although I’m fairly certain that anyone other than my Mother receiving this would think it a little strange! Still, the idea is adorable.
If we didn’t have children to get home for and a babysitter that costs more than a weekly shop to relieve we would have stayed and taken full advantage of the 20% off the extensive cocktail menu. This little bonus comes together with this quite frankly gobsmacking afternoon tea. What better way to wash down your tour of Brighton than with a unique creation from the best cocktail shakers in town – Merkaba have recently been awarded the title of ‘Best Place to Drink in Brighton’ in the BRAVO awards.
If you are looking to impress friends or family then you will not be disappointed at Merkaba. Introducing those that love Brighton to this one-of-a-kind dining experience will set you apart as the one ‘in the know.’
Thank you Merkaba. Afternoon tea anywhere else will no longer do…