Now, I have to confess that so adept am I at saying yes these days, that I sometimes forget to fully absorb the details. So it wasn’t until we were en route to our afternoon treat that I remembered that this particular outing involved afternoon tea with a difference: a dim sum afternoon tea.
The venue was the Crazy Bear just outside Oxford, and the results were utterly spectacular.
The Crazy Bear is a pretty awe-inducing place itself. You arrive in a vast carpark, with a double decker bus greeting you as the reception for the hotel component. For those making a more fleeting visit, you enter a small door to the side and are greeted by lush leather clad walls, and opulent decor.
We were guided down some steps into a cute little snug….
…and from there things got even better.
Though they also serve traditional afternoon tea, the signature cuisine at the Crazy Bear is Thai and so the dim sum offering is particularly fitting.
We snacked on crackers and dip while we waited for the main event.
It quickly became apparent that there was nothing traditional about this afternoon tea, as the standard hot drink offering was replaced with a raspberry ripple cocktail – served in a teapot!
So delicious, with such a kick that I had to give half of mine to Dani to maintain my responsible driver composure.
Then arrived the food. Served in towers of bamboo steamers, we were presented with a variety of dumplings.
We started with shiitake mushrooms… and then moved on to a more fishy affair, crab and lobster with a scollop on top.
Next up were some deliciously rich venison pastry dumplings (Dani’s personal favourite).
And then my all time favourite – barbecue pork dumplings. I have loved these since I visited a dim sum restaurant with a chinese friend many moons ago, and since I have always heralded them as ‘little clouds of heaven’, so I was delighted to see them on the menu.
Now afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without a sweet offering, would it? And Dim Sum afternoon tea is no different – with a custard dumpling that was sweet and moorish without being too sickly.
This has to be one of my all-time favourite afternoon tea experiences – it was quirky and different without neglecting to deliver on flavour and quality.
I would wholeheartedly recommend it – in fact I haven’t stopped thinking about it since we went!
We got the offer on Groupon and paid around £19 each, but the standard cost of a dim sum afternoon tea is usually £29.50 per person and you can opt for a traditional afternoon tea for the same price. Whilst I would advise going for the alternative – the towers that we saw of the traditional option did look lovely, and the surroundings are well worth the visit even if you don’t want to walk the tentative line between afternoon tea and dim sum.