16 July 2014

The Gin Garden @ York & Albany

I have a real soft spot for Gordon Ramsay's York & Albany. Not only have I visited countless times for their wonderful food and expertly made cocktails (they're included within my select Best Cocktails In Town list) but I also did my work experience in the kitchen during my studies at Leiths Cookery School.

I always feel relaxed and at home in their gorgeous, bright restaurant and bar set inside a stylish Camden townhouse.

I heard about the Tanqueray Gin Garden via Twitter (which, to be honest, is where I hear about most things!). York & Albany's Twitter feed promised a gin and tonic themed afternoon tea with a twist - teapot cocktails and gin-spiked sweets and savouries. I booked my table in their cute little garden there and then!

We didn't think too much about the price when we reviewed the menu; £24 per person plus a £14 teapot cocktail to share sounded reasonable for the usual afternoon tea fayre - savoury and sweet treats in abundance!

We ordered the Earl Grey & Grapefruit Sour; Tanqueray No. Ten gin, Earl Grey tea, grapefruit, lemon, agave and orange bitters. It didn't sound anything too exciting to us but it was the cocktail of the three on offer that appealed to us the most.

But, boy, were we pleasantly surprised! It was deliciously fruity, refreshing and so moreish. 

We just wished that teapot had been filled right up to the top!

Not long afterwards, our food arrived.

On the cake stand were two juicy looking Angelica root rubbed pork belly flatbreads, two gin-cured salmon flatbreads, two scones, two liquorice and lime macarons, two elderflower panna cotta then four chocolate truffles. 

It certainly looked the part. 

But hang on there one cotton-picking moment. Just four little flatbreads? Between Laura and I, for our lunch? I calculated that to be - bearing in mind I've never been an expert when it comes to maths - only two each! 

Two savoury mouthfuls each!

For the price we were paying (£62) something seemed to be awry. I enquired whether there were unlimited refills as you often get with afternoon tea. Or at least a few extras, on request.

Nope - this was it.

Feeling rather deflated and with tummies struggling to comprehend the idea of two flatbreads as lunch, we took matters into our own hands and ordered ourselves a four cheese and balsamic onion pizza.

Very nice it was too. I must say, York & Albany do great pizzas.

So now we could move onto the sweets! Although the panna cotta was really yummy and creamy, unsurprisingly, it was the mighty scone that was my favourite. Slightly crisp on the outside but gorgeously soft on the inside. And with sultanas! As they always should be in my humble opinion.

But there was still only one each. Just one little scone.

I made my very best sad face and asked the waiter if there was any possibility that we could have one more each. Pretty please?  He said he thought it was unlikely because the kitchen only bakes enough for each gin-tea session but he would go away and ask. I resigned myself to the fact that I would be raiding the snack cupboard when I got home.

Ten minutes later, he returned to our table with a whole board of warm, freshly baked scones complete with more pots of strawberry jam and clotted cream! Had they been baked especially for us?

We were happy again! It definitely helped ease the wounds of flatbread-gate!

So was The Gin Garden worth it? Well, the quality of the food is very good (the pork was out of this world) but unless they increase the portions I would suggest you're probably better off sticking to the classic The Connaught Rooms or quirky Sketch. You won't be short of food there.

We relocated to the bar area to sample what York & Albany do best....cocktails.

They really are some of the best you'll find in London.

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  1. thanks for the informed and honest review - it does look and sound utterly delicious, but the portions are teeny weeny! the cocktails though - wow. I definitely need to try those x

    1. I couldn't recommend them more for a cocktail evening with friends!

  2. The pizza has my mouth watering but I'd be pretty disappointed with the price for the lack of food too! Glad the scones made up for it :)

    Christy x
    another weekend without make-up

  3. This wouldn't be any good for me and my greedy belly! Gutted :( I hope you cut the pizza up and put it onto the afternoon tea stand to make yourselves feel better?

  4. That's ridiculous, can't believe how little you got for that price! Still looks like you had fun though and you both look very glam!


  5. You have been convinced! I must get myself there stat!

  6. Such a shame that they were so lacking and it seems stingy! Nice of them to make up for it with a batch of scones though and I'm not normally a Pizza person, that one sounds delish!

    Katie <3


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