What is Afternoon Tea you may ask? Its actually a meal that is usually consumed between 3.30 and 5.00pm and originated in 1840 with the wealthy social class in England. The meal consists of mini cakes and pasteries, delicate sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted and of course English Tea. The afternoon tea was a ritual amongst the wealthy and it was always served in bone china and porcelain cups and saucers and had a finesse about it.
In this day and age afternoon tea is not a daily occurance due to our busy lifestyles and way of life and it is now more of an outing once in a while as a treat. Many well known hotels nowadays still host elaborate afternoon teas for their guests. These teas are very British inspired and traditional.
This week I had the opportunity to sample a different type of afternoon tea. It was in fact a Moroccan Afternoon Tea at the Leila Restaurant in Ealing.
Leila is a quaint little restaurant in Ealing, beautifully decorated with Moroccan artefacts, rugs, cushions and lighting and lamps. It has a really pretty conservatory at the front of the restaurant that has a very authentic middle Eastern decor and ambience.
Leila has kept the afternoon tea concept, but introduced subtle Moroccan flavours in the cakes, pastries and replaced sandwiches with wraps . They also serve Moroccan mint tea instead of English tea to compliment the flavours.
Leila also offer meze so we were rather fortunate to have the opportunity to sample some of the Meze dishes before tucking into the afternoon tea. Majority of the dishes were vegetarian and suitable for me except the Pastila Djaj, a chicken pie that my friends vouched for saying it was exquisite!! These photos of the Meze will definitely make your mouth salivate.
Baba Ganoush-Chargrilled aubergine, mashed and cooked with tahini, olive oil, and various seasonings.
Lebenese feta cheese rolled inside this phyllo pastry and deep fried until golden.
Fattoush- Mixed fresh salad with herbs and toasted Lebanese bread.
This was by far my most favorite meze dish and I could have eaten it as astand alone dish.
Pastila Djaj- Traditional Moroccan chicken pie encased in phyllo pastry and brushed with almonds saffron, cinnamon and a dusting of sugar.
After sampling a wonderful selection of Meze, whilst sitting in the conservatory part of the restaurant, we were later relocated to the inside of the restaurant to a gastronomical surprise for the grand afternoon tea.
An array of cakes and wraps and cakes and more mint tea followed. For the vegetarian option I enjoyed Falafel wraps with Zaalouk an eggplant dip cooked with tomato and spices whilst my two friends enjoyed the Chicken Shawarma wrap and Pastila Djaj.
After the savory delights we moved onto the cakes and pastries. I started off with the Pistachio cupcake with pistachio butter cream topping, It was absolutely delectable.
The feasting continued with more sweet treats such as Argan delice slice with date and pistachio, this had a lovely praline base followd with sweetened coconut, topped with pistachio and date achocolate mousse and a chocolate ganache. It was an explosion of flavours and textures in one mouthful.The Victoria sponge with pomegranate was simple and very classic, and finally the Rosewater Mohalabia, creamy set custard with hint of rose, personally I would have liked more rose flavour in it.
When we thought our stomachs were ready to pop there were still warm cinnamon scones and jam with clotted cream to devour.
Finally no Moroccan meal is complete with out the Baklava, crispy pastry with a honey and nut filling. The was simply the icing on the cake to complete the amazing afternoon tea experience.
Each and every item was beautifully presented and served and tasted scrumptious.
I was a guest at the Leila to sample their afternoon tea with my two friends Heidi and Manjiri. I must sat the ambience, the decor and the service were exceptional.
The only criticism I have is that it would have been more appropriate for the restaurant to place the vegetarian wraps on a separate platter instead placing them next to meat ones as a strict vegetarin might find this a problem. Also the victoria sponge cake and the scones were a little dry but the restaurant soon corrected that by bringing a fresh batch out.
We also learnt that Leila will be offering oroccan cookery classes soon, I am excited to attend them. I would definitely dine at this restaurant again.
Overall score 13/15
All the views and opinions shared in this post are of my personal dining experience at Leila. All the photos shared are copyright of simplyfood and cannot be republished without written permision
You can read about my blogging friends experiece in the posts below: