As if afternoon tea at The Westbury wasn’t delightful enough, they’ve now added a bespoke element, in celebration of the year-long celebration of Irish design that is ID2015. In addition to dainty and delectable sandwiches and scones, the Irish Design Afternoon Tea features lovingly made, handcrafted pastries and cakes inspired by Ireland’s most talented makers.
Launched in July, this creative venture is inspired by the jewellery, metal and woodwork and porcelain designs included in PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2015-2016, a biennial publication of the work of the best contemporary Irish craftspeople and designers. Recently, Team Interiors were lucky enough to sample these artistic desserts.
Turned out in our finest, we were seated by a window overlooking the bustle of Grafton Street, the crowds zipping by a stark contrast to the tranquil atmosphere of The Gallery upstairs in The Westbury. After an obligatory ceremonious clink of our Champagne flutes (complete with floating strawberries), we settled in as unbelievably beautiful stands of goodies began to arrive, to copious oohs and aahs.
It’s difficult to do them justice, but the fact that we kept accidentally photobombing each other’s Instagram shots should give you some idea of how well Tatjana Upelniece-Kiselova and the other talented pastry chefs have risen to the Irish Year of Design occasion. Each confection was prettier and more elaborate than the last.
Karl Harron’s Migration Reactive Bullseye glasswork is perfectly represented by a luxurious, light-yet-rich Earl Grey cheesecake, while ceramic designer Jack Doherty’s Duo Porcelain takes the form of a blueberry rollage, with chocolate and a mascarpone chantilly. A chocolate éclair with lemon curd draws inspiration from Tetrahedra, an ash and walnut chest of drawers by Cillian Ó Súilleabháin, and a sour cream mousse with blackberry cremoux perfectly mimics Angela O’Kelly’s Long Round Sculptural Neckpiece.
My personal favourite was an inventive panna cotta, mango and banana caramel pot inspired by Liam Flynn’s Ash Footed Vessel, but they were all almost too beautiful to eat. Almost…
The Tea was as tasty as it was photo-worthy, and we finished the afternoon with delicious chai teas and Nutella hot chocolates, brought to us by the lovely and obliging staff, who took excellent care of us. It goes without saying we left full and happy.
Served daily, the bespoke Irish Design Afternoon Tea at The Westbury is available from €45 per person.