All I wanted to have for our 5th wedding anniversary was to have Afternoon Tea in Oxford. After spending hours which probably accumulated up to days researching on the best place to have Afternoon Tea, I decided on The Rose which is on High Street.
The Rose is a very small restaurant (more like a tea room, really) which takes pride in using quality ingredients and preparing their food (such as scones and cakes) from scratch. Homemade scones and cakes sounded good to me hence my decision to dine there.
So, how did Afternoon Tea become such a British affair? From my perspective as a non-British, having Afternoon Tea is an indulgence, a luxury. I imagine well-dressed ladies meeting up with their friends in the afternoons at fanciful tea houses/ restaurants, sipping the finest grade of tea served in dainty cups and eating cakes, sandwiches and scones. Despite my stereotypical view of Afternoon Tea, I went out in T-shirt and jeans, and a Christmassy hoodie (already!!??).
I learnt a little about Afternoon Tea today. Apparently, the Duchess of Bedford, Anna, is said to have a pot of tea and some light snacks in the late afternoons. That helped deal with hunger as dinner was usually served only at 8pm. She would write to invite her friends to join her for tea and very soon, the upper class was enjoying pots of tea and sandwiches in the afternoons.
What caught me by surprise is that the Afternoon Tea that the upper class had was considered “low” tea and what the middle and lower class had was “high” tea. Actually, the terms “low” and “high” refer to the height of the tables that tea was served on. I imagine the upper classes sitting on expensive sofas and armchairs with their teas served on a side table (or coffee table?). On the contrary, the middle and lower class workers who needed a more substantial meal had theirs served on the dining table.
I ordered the Cream Tea Special which had finger sandwiches with salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, egg and cress, freshly made cake (I chose Coffee Cake with Mascarpone Cream), a scone with clotted cream and jam and Earl Grey.
It was surprisingly filling. I enjoyed every bit of my Afternoon Tea. The scone and cake were definitely very fresh. I love that the mascarpone cream was served separately from the cake. But still, I finished the cream!!! No self-control whatsoever.
The other reason for choosing The Rose for Afternoon Tea is because they serve other main dishes at lunch time too. I knew Dan isn’t quite an Afternoon Tea sort of person (even though he would be more than happy to accommodate me), and I wanted him to be able to enjoy our anniversary meal too. The man was thrilled to see Rib Eye Steak on the menu.
I know, it looks good!!! It tasted great too! Juicy and tender! Big, fat proper chips (not those frozen skinny fries!) were amazing too! Dan was very pleased with his meal. There’s always time for teddy cuddles and kisses!
I enjoyed our anniversary meal very much. We had our brief annual family meeting there too. In those meetings, we look back on the past year and set new goals for the following marriage year. It’s crazy how much our lives have changed in 2014, how our priorities have shifted.
We’ve had 4 of such meetings since 2010 but it’s only on 28th November 2014 that it’s truly a FAMILY meeting.