Afternoon Tea at The Mercure Southgate Hotel – by Chris Gower


Southernhay East, Exeter, EX1 1QF  – Tel : 01392 412812

It was great to meet up with Latoyah and Nick again from Sugar Pink Food, fellow foodies and lovers of good things.

I can’t forget to mention that this was the first time that I’ve ever been to Afternoon Tea at a posh hotel, and the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ in my mind has been blown out of the water after our sampling of this delightful offering.

Since it was built, The Southgate Hotel has passed hands many times.  It’s most recent owners are Mercure who have invested money in to upgrading and modernising The Gate House restaurant.  Tea is served during the daytime in the Lounge Bar with its sleek design and spacious surrondings offering privacy and comfort.

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This is my wine cellar now…all mine.

Afternoon Tea is one of the quintessial British things that the world thinks we like doing regularly, yet I can imagine most of us with a UK passport have never gone OUT to have afternoon tea.  And why not? Most probably because the idea we have in our heads about what afternoon tea should be isn’t overly appealing? Sandwiches, boring cake, massive teapot…

So when we took our seats, pot of tea at one side and a glass of prosecco on the other side, I genuinely didn’t know what to expect.  The arrival of these tastefully presented treats made me rethink my plans for dinner later that day – this was amazing.

The first slate to appear had warm Pork Pies and freshly prepared home-made Scotch Eggs with servings of piccalilli.

 At this point whilst we were still taking in the sight in front of us the second slate came in…

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Beef & Tomato and Smoked Salmon open sandwiches to accompany the pies and scotch eggs.  But it wasn’t over…

Our final slate contained the sweet section. Creamy cheesecake, brownies and a coffee & chocolate gateaux.  All of it was quite sublime.

As my partner-in-crime Tori wasn’t there to help out we got some doggy-boxes as we couldn’t eat it all.  The open sandwiches were fresh and tasty with fresh ingredients, the pies were light, moist and not stodgy as you might imagine them to be and the brownies were absolutely perfect.

We chatted, caught up, shared stories and generally had a lovely few hours in the plush surroundings of this favourite Exeter hotel which I would recommend to anyone looking for an Afternoon Tea with a difference.

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Author: Chris

He may look very complicated, but he is in fact very simple. He runs on sausages and beer. Co-founder of Eating Exeter. Librarian at Exeter College.

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