THE MERRION HOTEL
Enriched with history
Compirising a block of four terraced houses on Upper Merrion Street, The 5 star, Merrion Hotel was built in the 1760s by Charles Monck, for wealthy Irish merchants and nobles. The hotel also has a number of restaurants. We were lucky enough to pop in and try their famous afternoon tea, also known as ‘Art Tea’.
The afternoon high tea was so beautiful! The saying “it’s too pretty to eat” definitely applies here. The sweets and cakes are served on fine china and the adorable edible creations are inspired by the work of J.B. Yeats, William Scott, Louis Le Brocquy and others. Pictures of their work was placed nearby so you could compare the treats to the art pieces.
The Hotel houses a very large art collection that is displayed all around the building. You can pick up a free guided headset that tours the artworks! We headed to the Drawing Room for our afternoon tea. The ambience was incredibly relaxing and slow paced, and was guided by lovely staff members who were very knowledgeable about the history of the building as well as the Tea menu!
We were seated in the gorgeous bright Georgian drawing room, which was beautifully decorated with comfortable sofas and armchairs. The art tea in the Merrion is a 2 course high tea, and as said before, it’s inspired by the artwork found around the hotel. It’s €36 per person, or €50 /€56 with champagne/pink champagne. You have the option of 14 different teas and the wonderful staff are ready to refill up your cup in an instant!
Granny’s Garden Tea
For our tea, I chose the Granny’s Garden Tea. I’m usually not the biggest fan of fruity teas, this one was so fragrant and flavourful! The leaves are a concoction of a rhubarb blend rounded off with the delicate sweetness of genuine Bourbon vanilla, red fruit, spiced berries and currants!
The first and bottom tier consisted of savoury finger sandwiches: salmon fillet with delicious mustard on rye bread, chicken with truffle mayonnaise on sunflower bread, O’Donovan’s loin of ham with mustard on white bread, cucumber with smoked paprika and mint with Glenilen yogurt on white bread, and duck egg mayonnaise in brioche bun!
The second tier was decorated with plain and fruit scones, lemon bread with drizzle on top, Portercake (traditional Irish fruit cake; it’s the brown one in the middle on the picture above), and Battenberg (a light sponge cake that’s covered in marzipan. You can see the distinctive checkered red and blue squares when cut).
The third and final tier was Glenillen clotted cream, raspberry jam, and lemon curd.
All the tiers were so delicious in their own way, but we especially enjoyed the savoury tier. I recommend SLOWLY trying everything. We made the mistake of devouring the savoury so we were already stuffed by the time we went to the sweets.
The plain mini scones were light and soft whereas the fruit ones were a bit dry. However the raspberry jam and cream balanced the texture out.
Each Merrion Art Pastery mimicked a piece of artwork that hung around the hotel. We had the ‘Green Apple Macaron,’ inspired by ‘The Old Fox’ by John Doherty (pictured below). Suprisingly, the macaron didn’t taste like apple; however still very delicious.
The Chocolate Trinity (below) which is inspired by Path Moorea, Pauline Bewick. It was almost like a chocolate profiterole which was filled with chocolate cream on the bottom, topped with dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache.
And lastly, the raspberry and passion fruit tart! This one was inspired by John Boyd’s ‘Futile Defense.’ It was fruity, slightly tangy, flavoursome and a nice contrast of texture.
At the end, we were given a catalogue of the artwork to take home with us and finished the whole thing with coffee to cleanse our palate. We were there for 2 hours and had the BEST time.
The Merrion Hotel
Upper Merrion Street