I had been a semi-regular visitor to The Mandeville Hotel’s cocktail bar, due to its proximity to my workplace. It boasts about being A Real Gentleman’s Hotel with class, elegance, and an implied musk of Traditional Man. My hopes were high for the Reform Social and Grill afternoon tea, having previously tasted their delicious sliders and herby cocktails, which weren’t soured by the presence of bum-bag wearing, Primark-carrying clientele (it is in a hotel, after all)
In-line with their usual teas, their festive offering came with “vintage” and “gentleman’s” options, and began with a “winter fruit punch” cocktail. The vintage tea was your usual fare, nothing flash like at the Sanderson or generous like at the Haymarket, but a good, traditional tea with sarnies, scones, and mini cakes. I’m told the savouries that came with the gentleman’s tea (mini sausage rolls, pies, and burgers) were excellent.
However, it seems that the winter fruit punch was nothing more than a mulled wine, consisting of neither fruit nor the punch-requirement of ingredients – and it was served in tumblers. Service, unfortunately, coloured the whole evening when at 3.01pm (our reservation was at 3pm) we were asked to order as “our party was late”, and when we indicated that our remaining guest had just left the tube station, our drinks were brought to us regardless. Waiters continued to be slow and sloppy, serving the wrong items to the wrong people and balking at the full *discretionary* service charge not being paid. What could have been a pleasant and fairly priced tea turned into a bit of a shambles, and due to the high expectations previously laid on, meant that the afternoon was something of a disappointment.
It should be noted that on reading our review The Reform Social and Grill offered us a free cocktail, but unfortunately as they took a week to reply to our booking, we had already made other plans when the proposed date had arrived.