Time for tea! No wait! Tea and Champagne!

Living in London does it to you, it gets you hooked on the concept of afternoon tea (or at least me, M would perhaps disagree). Its available everywhere, with so many variations. For example there is Detox-afternoon tea with healthy finger sandwiches, Fashion afternoon tea with cakes and pastries in the shape of high heels and handbags (they do actually take the inspiration from the seasons designer collections), and even Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea which is an adventure down the rabbit’s hole. Yes,  there is much to choose from. A common denominator with almost all of them is that a glass of house champagne (or in worst case Prosecco…) can be added to the serving (and bill).

Here in good old Sweden afternoon tea seems to be becoming a bit of a trend as well. I have now seen it available in several places in Stockholm. We are not talking anything as elaborate as in London. But to be honest, that’s the way I like it. I was never really able to chuck down all the super sweet cakes and scones anyway. And here you are paying a much more reasonable price for the serving as it doesn’t include the all-you-can-eat refills (I refilled only to try to get my money’s worth and it always ended up with nausea after the experience). So for the occasion of my mother’s birthday, we reserved a table at Wienercafeét for champagne afternoon tea.

When we arrived at the Café, the doorway was packed. Packed with people queuing for a table. Annoying. I really dislike people standing around at a restaurant staring at whether you will be soon finished or not. If it’s a busy time, book a table. Luckily our table was in the back room, so we got out of the way of the hungry crowd and got to eat our delights in peace. Another benefit to the back room was that it was next to the kitchen, and you could see the chefs at work. I really enjoy looking into the kitchen to see what’s going on. M always says he feels that it keeps them honest. The only downside was that there are no windows, but hey, there is no daylight this time of the year anyway.

The champagne served with the afternoon tea package was Hatt & Söner Grande Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2006. The champagne was actually one of the reasons we selected Wienercafeét instead of another restaurant, we were curious about the champagne. The reviews online have not really been glowing, but in some cases I have sensed that some of the criticism might have had some streaks of jealousy. We call it the Law of Jante here in the Nordics and many of us suffer from it (the criticism has just not been that constructive that I could really be sure it is justified). It has influenced me in a way that I have been hesitant to buy a bottle but it was nice to get the chance to taste by the glass. What is interesting about the champagne house is that it is half Swedish, and also, all of the champagne they produce is vintage. It is not necessarily mentioned on the label, but you can see it on the bottle. I shared an office with the nice people from Hatt&Söner for a while, and we had plans of having a tasting some day, with their champagne and our cava. However we never really got around to it before everyone moved on.

The champagne was a pleasant surprise. Light in color with fresh and citrusy nose and taste, however not much depth. Perhaps that will come with age. The champagne was served nice and cold in big glasses (I love it when restaurants don’t cheap out on the size of the glass). The only thing I that would have made it better was if they would have poured the champagne at the table. I now missed the opportunity to observe (and photograph) the bottle. I think this specific vintage is no longer available at the monopoly. But! What do my eyes see – a 2008! I have loved everything I have tasted from 2008. So I must go and get a sample of that one. The price for the Grande Cuvee Blanc de blancs 2008 is 379 SEK. I do feel that there is a bit of extra on the price because it is a Swedish champagne house, but if it is to my liking, I will definitely source a few bottles for the fridge.

All in all the champagne earned 3 stars.

About the pastries and cakes. The menu was very traditional afternoon tea: Finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. It was a pretty sugar-heavy meal, but that’s what you expect of afternoon tea. On the savory plate there was Toast Skagen, chicken and salmon finger sandwiches and a small paté…something (pie or cookie). The scones came with some jam, butter and lemon curd (yum yum), and in the cakes section we had a mini cinnamon-bun, carrot cake, raspberry cake and chocolate praline. For tea you had a selection of 6 to 7 different teas ranging from a traditional Earl Grey to some White teas. We were a mixed group of old and “young”, traveled and less traveled; and there was something for everybody.

In conclusion, I think this was a value for money experience: 259 SEK without and 329 SEK with champagne. It’s unusual to get a glass of champagne for 70 SEK in this country, so I was very pleased with the price. Not a doubt in my mind whether I will try this one again (but will make sure to book the table in the back).

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