Thursday, August 21, 2014

Afternoon Tea at the Savoy

The Savoy lobby.
It really was good news when the re-opened Savoy Hotel in Luleå announced that they would serve Afternoon Tea in their lobby bar. Both the husband and I are much fond of this type of meal and make sure to have it at least once when we go on our trips to England. Today, I decided to try it with a friend who is also a bit of an anglophile.

The lobby is rather nice, it is comfortable sitting and bright natural light conditions (which I am appreciating more and more the older my eyes get), and the service was very prompt and nice. We decided to be very un-kosher and have coffee. I had just woken up, hadn´t had anything to eat since dinner the night before, and was in grave need of a cup. My friend prefers coffee anyway, I think. So we got a large French press pot, with very nice coffee, I must say. In my experience, presso coffee tends to be a bit on the bitter side, so I ordered a side pot of hot water (the guy gave me odd looks, but complied), since I recently gave up putting milk in my coffee (I find this triggers my sweet tooth, and I have put myself on a sugar fast after eating myself into a Scarborough fudge coma this summer) and now prefers it a bit weaker than the tar-like brew I used to make. So, with a bit of added water, the coffee tasted great. My friend did not complain either.

I was a bit disappointed in the sandwiches. They were not sandwiches at all, as a matter of fact; what we got was sliced bread (German type rye bread, probably sour dough, not bad at all) and three kinds of cheese: Brie, Västerbotten (a hard, matured Swedish cheese), and a very mild green mould cheese. (I have tried to find if there is an English word for mould cheese, but my dictionary is failing me and "bluecheese" is all I can find. Seems not right for green mould cheese.)

There were also two kinds of butter, none of them regular, and a fig marmelade. On the top plate were sponge muffins and chocolate tarts. We got a side plate, a small fork, and a butter knife each.

I wish they had either provided sharper knives (like proper cheese knives) for each of us, or one to share, in addition to the butter knives. It took some work to get through the Västerbotten cheese in particular, as it is quite hard. Or even better, they might have sliced the cheese in four slices each, that would have been grand. I did think of telling them, but forgot when we left.

However, it tasted deliciously. Fig marmelade is a favourite, and it suited all the cheeses very well. Having been on a sugar fast for weeks, I found the muffin too sweet and decided to skip the chocolate (! I know). Clearly, I am not a reliable reviewer of pastry at the moment.

When I told the husband about it he said "what! no ham? no salmon? only cheese?". I don´t think he will be eager to try it anytime soon. I may, however, go back for seconds. But I will ask them to slice the cheese for us next time.

I am not against taking a traditional concept and making something new, something a bit fusion, as this is. On the contrary, I think being open to influences is a good thing and everything can be improved upon. But perhaps they should advertise it a bit better. I imagine a lot of Afternoon Tea fans are eager to try this, and it is simply nothing like what you will get at an English hotel.

The photos are dreadful, I know, but my phone was the only camera I had on hand.


  1. I have never had a proper English afternoon tea. It's shameful, especially since the Peabody Hotel downtown serves one. It's just so _expensive_! But my daughter and I have plans to do it right next summer. I'll be interested in comparing what they offer with what you were served. I'm surprised you didn't get sandwiches, but the cheese looks tasty. The silver serving dish looks elegant :)

    1. What one would expect (in our experience) is small, triangular sandwiches with cream cheese and cucumber, with salmon, and with ham. In some cases we have had ham&cheese sandwiches along with salmon and cream cheese/cucumber. But usually three kinds. And then a second plate with scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. On top, a third layer with tiny pastries that we are usually too full to even consider, but they are pretty to look at. ;-) And of course a teapot with darjeeling or assam tea, another teapot with hot water (for filling up the teapot for a second brew) and milk.

      It usually costs somewhere in the region of 35 - 45 dollars - but then it is a proper meal. You will not need dinner on top of that, I assure you (unless you are a very big eater indeed!). Yesterday, we only paid 149 kr = 22 dollars. Which felt about right for what we got.

    2. It sounds like the Peabody tea is priced right then. It's just always _felt_ expensive. I'll approach it as appropriately priced now. There's something about the experience that sounds almost regal to me lol so I'm sure I'll get my money's worth whatever they serve.

    3. It would be expensive if it was just a regular fika. I hope you get something really nice, whether it´s traditionally English or has an American twist to it! I agree about the regal feel, I always feel like a proper lady having it, LOL!