February 22, 2012

A Sunny Saturday at the Sugarloaf Lounge

So last Saturday, on one of those beautiful Irish spring afternoons, Ms J suggested we head to Powerscourt and have afternoon tea Downton style. It didn't take much to convince me, I love the whole idea of afternoon tea - china cups, bitesize sandwiches and scones - what's not to like. So off we headed to the Ritz-Carlton and gracefully arranged ourselves in front of the grand windows overlooking the mountains. We tittered at the range of mini size jams, complimented the tea and coffee and ooohhed when the three tier cake stand arrived. So far so good.

Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe I have watched one too many English period dramas, maybe I have read too many Austin novels, but I was disappointed. First off for a five star hotel it took over 45 minutes for the sandwiches and scones to arrive. Diners around us were being served full meals while we drank an entire pot of tea and coffee and waited and waited and waited. When they did arrive some of the bread on the sandwiches tasted stale as if they had been sitting out for ages uncovered and the foccacia was greasy from too much oil.

The prawn sandwich and the chicken wrap though were very tasty with juicy fillings. The mini scones were ever so delightful especially with a thick topping of lemon curd and freshly whipped cream. And then we came to the desserts. I was surprised by the fact that we weren't offered small petit fours but instead full size after dinner desserts. I am most certainly a dessert person so I took my time deliberating what to choose from the well stocked trolley but clearly I didn't choose well enough as I didn't like either. I started with a dark chocolate sponge finger with the added glamness of some gold leaf but this was too rich and bitter so I left most of it behind. Then I moved on to a raspberry and pistachio eclair which was super sweet and the raspberry flavour was lost in the over sugary filling. Ms J faired better with a vanilla tart with a surprise filling of custard in the base and a light lemon meringue pie so I did what every proper lady would do and offered to help her eat them! 

Chocolate Sponge Finger

Vanilla Tart

Raspberry and Pistachio Eclair
Overall for the price that was paid - €35 -  it is an expensive treat and obviously not one that people would be having all the time.The venue is beautiful and the hotel is very comfortable to sit in for an afternoon but I would be hard pressed to justify eating there again. I am still enamoured with the idea of afternoon tea but if I ever get the chance to do it again it won't be at the Sugar Loaf Lounge.


  1. Its a shame the desserts dont taste as nice as they look. The raspberry and pistacio eclairs sount lovely might be something nice to try out at home!

  2. Everything looked so delicious on the cake stand and on the dessert trolley. The presentation was wonderful but they just didn't live up to the taste test. Now there is an idea I may have to give it a go if you don't beat me to it first :)