2nd May 2015 – 2.30pm
The Roseleaf is a quaint little pub hidden away a bit on an unassuming street in Leith. The bar itself has a warm feel, which lends itself to the small venue. A group of us were trying out the mad hatter’s tea party. This consists of an afternoon tea and your choice of hat from those adorning the walls of the bar. Cocktails (or pot-tails as they are known here, as they are served in teapots with mismatching cups and saucers), are an additional cost, which is good for those who perhaps do not want to drink or are driving. Also, it does not automatically include tea (or coffee), which was great for me as I don’t drink either and that often puts me off afternoon teas. Almost all of us substituted the tea for alcohol anyway. We had the table reserved for two hours, which is more than understandable for such a small place considering the size of our group (10 of us plus a small child).
So whilst we were waiting for the food to arrive, we inspected the drinks menus, which were cleverly designed to look like newspapers and magazines. There was a good array of drinks on offer and the cocktails all looked great. It was easy enough to order a single cocktail or get a pot-tail to share. The price was exactly the same per person, so no-one felt like they were getting a bad deal if they were wanting a different drink to everyone else. I ordered a pot-tail of the rhubarb and custard cocktail to share with my friend next to me. This was really nice, although tasted more of apple than custard and could have done with some vanilla flavour to get the right taste for the name of the drink. That said, it was a good cocktail in its own right. Later on we tried the colada palava, which was right up my street and several of us enjoyed the tropical flavours of this one.
The teas arrived on traditional type cake stands. The two bottom layers were filled with savoury treats and the top layer consisted of two types of sweet delights. What hit me immediately was this was a much more modern afternoon tea as there was not a sandwich in sight and I think it was better for it. Firstly I tucked into some devilled eggs, which I had never tried before. They were really good, having a bit of a kick but were not overpowering. There was a salmon and prawn mixture sat on a seeded type crispbread/cracker concoction. The crispbreads looked homemade, were full of texture and were probably the most talked about food item in the tea. Everyone seemed to love them and they were much lighter than bread (which obviously means there is more room for cake). Several of the group were trying to work out how they could make them at home. Other savoury items included a mushroom and tomato concoction atop some type of bread square, croquettes, a type of hummous on a thin cracker and some cheese and fruit jelly on top of more of the crispbreads. I don’t think there was a bad item amongst the lot. Moving onto the cakes, there was a polenta cake and a brownie. The polenta cake was incredibly moist and fresh. I did find the piece of grapefruit on top a bit too tart for the cake but that is a minor quibble. The brownie was also moist and had a generous portion of nuts in it. One of the group was unable to finish but was offered a box to take the brownie home in, which was a lovely touch as she was a bit disappointed that she couldn’t fit it in. There was also a vegan and a vegetarian in the group. The vegetarian received a mixture of foods on a plate, which she had mixed feelings over. The vegan actually got to choose from a special vegan menu, which had about five options on it, which was pretty impressive. Unfortunately she originally did not get what she ordered due to a mix up in the kitchen but this was resolved swiftly.
All through the meal the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly. As mentioned earlier in this review, we had a small child with us, which was not a problem at all. The pub is child friendly and provided us with a high chair. There were also a selection of toys that could be played with. We did find when we got the bill that someone else’s teas and coffees had been added on but this was again resolved very quickly. However, all of us had a great time, enjoyed the food and drink and would happily go back again.
Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 32/40
Cost – approximately £300 for 10 people consisting of an afternoon tea and roughly 2 cocktails each.