REVIEW: This spread is just our cup of tea

Tea at The Spread Eagle.
Tea at The Spread Eagle.

In recent years, the quintessentially British cup of tea has come under ferocious attack from its heady rival the coffee bean.

Coffee shops have engulfed the high street offering every possible variation on a theme from americano to latte and mocha.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

Meanwhile, the traditional cuppa has been relegated to a poor second place.

But it is fighting back.

Indeed, the cup of tea is anything but humble. It is the most aristocratic of English beverages.

It was Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who created the concept of afternoon tea in the early 19th century.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

To overcome the gulf between breakfast and dinner she developed the idea of drinking tea accompanied by some delicate snacks - and before long it became a highlight of good society.

Now Midhurst’s famous and historic hotel the Spread Eagle is reviving it in style.

Afternoon tea has long been a part of the coaching inn’s repertoire, but it has joined forces with Camellia’s tea house in London to make it a piece of afternoon theatre.

You can choose from a wildly exotic range of hand blended teas with the reassurance that selecting a novel variety is not only great fun but good for you too. There’s also some familiar traditionals too.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

Tea at The Spread Eagle.

On Sunday, the curtain was raised on the great tea extravaganza with an afternoon’s tasting at the hotel led by Camellia’s Amanda Savill.

From the gold award winning White Apricot Tea to an amazingly rich chocolate tea, the range was extraordinary. The Very Berry was of particular note.

She explained why the different teas tasted fantastic - and demonstrated that the options were seemingly infinite.

Camellia’s tailor blend and have turned tea into a creative triumph.

It was all made complete with an array of finger sandwiches, cakes and traditional scones with home-made jam and clotted cream.

So join the revolution.

The Boston tea party might have made history - but it’s the one in Midhurst that will truly delight.

It’s just our cup of tea.

The afternoon tea selection at the Spread Eagle includes the Vintage Full tea (£19.95 per person) featuring: Home smoked salmon and Horseradish crème fraiche, ham and honey mustard, egg mayonnaise and land cress, cucumber and mint finger sandwiches. Home baked scone with clotted cream and seasonal homemade jam. Selection of homemade cakes. Served with your choice of Camellia’s Tea or Hada Del Café Coffee.

The Vintage Sussex (£29.95 per person) features the Full served with a glass of Ridgeview Bloomsbury Sussex sparkling wine.

There is also the Vintage (£8.95 per person): Camellia’s Tea or Hada Del Café Coffee of your choice with homemade scones, clotted cream and seasonal homemade jam.