We don't have any of the grand afternoon tea hotels of the capital. No crisply dressed waiters and twinkling china here. But hey, we're Brighton and we do things with a twist, be it unusual, vintage or quirky and although our afternoon teas are not always grand, we do have some that are very great indeed.
Personally, I'd steer clear of the main hotels. The afternoon teas I've had there have not been special and are often expensive for what they were. Not a patch on the quality of high tea in the London hotels. No loss though as there is plenty of other choices available. Here are my picks of the best spots for that classic British ritual in Brighton.
Julien Plumart Salon du The (full review)
Absolutely number one. Yes there is a French twist but they have recently introduced the classic three tiered format. Here you will find the most elegant, glossy, rich patisserie in Brighton, probably anywhere in the UK. Decadent to the last lick.
Terre a Terre
If you like your afternoon tea with vintage charm then the Blackbird Tea Room would be a good choice. I love the interior and there is a small courtyard as well. Expect proper tablecloths, vintage china and ration book loyalty cards.
The Pavilion Tea Co.
The small interior is gorgeous, stacked high with colourful tea caddies and the large counter peppered with colourful cakes. If the tea is the important element to your afternoon tea then there isn't a longer list in Brighton. There are some stunning house blends here to soothe or pick you up. Staff are very knowledgeable and you can also by the teas by the gram.
Try Kemptown's Metrodeco for a 1930s vibe and great tea list served in vintage china. Also available is a Gentlemen's afternoon tea option with Bourbon slush, Scotch eggs, pork pies and whiskey.
The Grand Hotel
OK, OK, one of the main hotels, but this is a far cry from your standard scone and sarnie tea. In the GB1 fish restaurant, they offer a seafood afternoon tea with oysters, caviar and treacle cured salmon.
This is a ridiculously hip cafe and no surprise that the owners are from a design background. If you like your tea served with style, whilst still keeping it casual then this is the place for you. The cakes are some of the most interesting in town.
Downstairs is a shop selling beautiful things for the home, but upstairs is a sleek little cafe with well presented cakes and treats.
The Mock Turtle
Probably one of the older tea rooms in Brighton, they seem to have expanded into the premises next door. But some things don't change and they still have their trademark blue and white china and cakes on display in the window to tempt you in. Although tucked away it is very much well known on the foreign tourist circuit, but they are in the guides for a reason. This is quintessentially British tea in a very charming tea room. Try their meringues that are the size of your head.
Talk of Tea
Tea geeks should head to Talk of Tea, who are all about the loose leaf - sixty odd varieties in fact. It's a great place to try a new variety or something a little more specialist. They offer a full afternoon tea with the usual sandwiches, homemade cakes and scones in a sweet, homely setting.
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