Is it Christmas yet? The houses decked out with more than just boughs of holly seem to think so — although personally, I have a no strict no Christmas trees until mid-December rule.
Still, the festive shopping season is upon us — and with it comes the need to trudge up and down Buchanan St in search of the perfect presents, come rain (and that’s quite often) or shine.
A warming lunch is tempting when you’re battling the crowds — but what if you could go one better by having your cake, eating it and accessorising with a splash of bubbly?
With the five-star Blythswood Square Hotel now offering a luxury afternoon tea in The Salon, we thought it high time for a bit of festive indulgence.
I took my sister along to escape the wind and the rain, and we were full of admiration for the well-appointed room, all heritage check tweeds and heather — a country house gone a bit bling.
We were presented with a sample tea caddy, and told not to worry about sticking our noses right in before choosing a safe ceylon for her and a “brave” (our server’s word) strong and smoky lapsang souchong for me.
A generous pot of each soon appeared, with a side of fizz (that or cocktails are available to add an extra bit of sparkle to proceedings).
Forget limp cucumber sandwiches; here we tucked into an air-light smoked salmon mousse wrap, a stacked beef and horseradish double decker square (just enough of the latter to give the sarnie a kick, without overpowering) and cream cheese and cucumber on brioche.
Add an excellent mini tart with red pepper and parmesan and — my favourite — a spoon with a single haggis bonbon, and we were already sold. Light and dainty — which is no mean feat with a mouthful like haggis — this was the ultimate in refined nibbles, and perfect paired with a blob of mustard mayo.
Now, if you ask me, only clotted cream will do when it comes to scones. The Blythswood serves up both a fruit and a plain one per person, accompanied by oh-so-rich cream and those adorable wee pots of strawberry jam — perfection, from the chewy on the outside, soft on the inside bakes to the amount of topping at your disposal to slather on them.
We ate two each, in case you’re wondering — and I’m not even sorry.
As a result, we struggled with the cakes a bit — but not with the showpiece on each stand; a mini lemon meringue cone. Zesty lemon curd and soft meringue piped into a tiny waffle cone and topped with more crispy meringue — this was a showstopper in miniature, and everything you could want from an indulgent afternoon tea.
A well-made cranachan macaron, fluffy victoria sponge and pistachio cake were also part of the spread, as well as a gorgeous little salted caramel and chocolate tart, complete with sugar shard.
Afternoon tea at The Blythswood finishes with some truffles — of your choice — to take home, in our case white chocolate champagne and hazelnut flavours. It’s a nice little touch, adding a final flourish to already impeccable service throughout.
Special mention has to go to our friendly server, Jack, who took care of us throughout — mightily impressing my air hostess companion, who rather appreciates a bit of first class treatment when she’s off the clock.
Okay, it’s not the cheapest tea around - but for a special occasion or just an afternoon treat, I can think of more expensive, and less worthy, places to visit in Glasgow.
Christmas or not, I would happily rush back to Blythswood Square for tea, cake, and just a bit of luxurious living for an afternoon.
Afternoon tea - £28 per person
Add a glass of Moet and Chandon champagne for £10.75 per person, or a Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktail for £10.50 per person.
READER OFFER: Extra readers can enjoy 30% off afternoon tea for two or more people until March 31, 2016. Just quote ‘Glasgow Extra’ when booking.
11 Blythswood Square
0141 248 8888