Gev has been promising me for a LONG TIME that she would take me to Jesmond Dene house for tea. She has emigrated and returned at least twice in this time, but she's back living in Newcastle and she honoured her promise last week.

For those not familiar with Newcastle, Jesmond Dene is a lovely picturesque park just outside the centre of the city. Jesmond Dene House is a luxury hotel situated at the edge of this park.

We were greeted at the door by a member of staff and taken directly into a wood panelled lounge complete with open fire and big plump armchairs and sofas.

We were offered a menu but we had already decided on afternoon tea. I will say at this point the service continued as it started- faultless. Staff were attentive, quickly to hand and dealt with requests promptly. Tea pots were refreshed and used plates were removed almost without being noticed by us. It's service like this that makes a luxury venue feel so special and is worth paying for (although cheaper venues take note- its more down to organisation, leadership and attitude rather than any financial influence).

We browsed (in date) copies of 'Country Life' magazine and chatted for the few minutes it took the food to arrive- on a tiered stand of course. We started with the usual selection of sandwiches, egg and cress (yolk still on the edge of being gooey YES!) salmon and cucumber, cheese and chutney, beef and horseradish. It was clear that the pickles and chutneys had been carefully chosen to compliment the fillings.

The next tier held 3 miniature scones for each of us- one plain, one cheese and one fruit and spiced along with home made jams and clotted cream. I often think that teas are too heavily weighted to the sweet- a cheese scone compliments the savoury element here. Scones were of course soft and fresh and perfect!

Top tier- the cakes, a nice variety of textures (cake, macaroon, mouse and sundae) and  flavours (chocolate vs fruit vs cream). All presented beautifully and all tasted fantastic.

Compared to other afternoon teas featured on this blog, the food and service here was by far the best. The setting was not quite as immaculate as Oulton hall- no silver or fine china and the coffee table was *slightly* chipped, but really I am splitting hairs here because it didn't detract from the occasion at all.

At £18.50 its a mere 25p dearer than my benchmark Betty's and far more superior in terms of service, food and atmosphere.

A really wonderful experience and worth the long wait!

The T factor score:

Presentation 4.5/5
Service 5/5
Ambience 5/5
Food 5/5

19.5 / 18.50 = T factor score of 1.05

Jesmond Dene House

Jesmond Dene Road,



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