The Signet Library on the Royal Mile had a beautiful facelift last year. And to make it even more wonderful, a tea salon opened in the lower library called the Colonnades. Offering a superbly glamorous and gorgeous afternoon tea, the experience features bespoke silver teapots and cake stands – the loveliest in town.
The Colonnades at the Signet Library serves a FULL gluten free afternoon tea – and I can tell you that it is every bit as good as the gluten loaded version! This is undoubtedly THE place to eat for any gluten free eater and coeliac who wants the full and utterly glamorous, afternoon tea experience with no compromise.
To the menu:
It is not only the food that is good here, there is also a full tea menu and a Tea Sommelier who will help you choose your brew. I opted for the specially created Signet Blend, though I was more taken with the champagne coupe of fizz which arrived on my mirrored table….
The experience begins with an amuse bouche – I could not have the choux pastry delight enjoyed by my companions, so instead I had a tiny cup of delicious pea and wild garlic soup. After that, it was no holes barred: I could eat the same as my companions, only my tea stands were all gluten free.
Our terrific waitress, Laura, started us off with the savoury treats, laid out on a cake stand. There was a mini burger, which was juicy and speared onto tiny pieces of toasted Genius bread; a really lovely prawn cocktail; and some superb smoked salmon infused with Edinburgh Gin. There were two small sandwiches, well packed with ham and tomato and with egg mayonnaise, both on Genius bread and both very good. These were little tasty delights and my stand very closely resembled the glutened stand – which was a hugely positive experience. Given the aim to offer a perfect copy, the pastry chef is brave as inevitably, the gluten eaters will test and compare the two. He should be proud – it stood up to scrutiny very well.
The sweet treats were beautiful and also delicious and went well with the fizz I was still enjoying. The pastry was remarkable and both I and my gluten-eating friends thought it stood up well to
the comparative taste test. The highlight for me, given my love of them, was the mille feuille: full of cream and strawberries and really light and crumbly. The only question mark on anything was on the scones. Scones are so difficult to make gluten free as they have a high flour content. The plain scone came with a good pile of cream and jam on it and it was pretty tasty! The fruit scone was much more moist, and while the scones were not the highlight, to be honest, the scone is often the bit of an afternoon tea which I pass over …
This is a long review, but given the standards of service, food and drink, plus the beautiful surroundings and the overall atmosphere that has been created in the Signet Library, it is worth the wordcount.
Afternoon tea is £30 per head and will include the most amazing silver tableware and the extensive menu above, though I have spotted a few deals online. The Colonnades also offers cocktails and Pommery Champagne to enjoy and who could refuse those?
I cannot praise it highly enough. If you want the finest gluten free afternoon tea in Edinburgh, this is where you have to go. The Colonnades is open during the week, often on a Sunday and sometimes on a Saturday too – and you must book your GF tea in advance.