MUNCHIES AT THE MELLON
What is Afternoon Tea? Introduced in Britain back in the early 1840’s, Afternoon Tea is quite simply a mini-meal positioned somewhere between lunch and your main evening meal, or put simply, it’s a light snack to stave off hunger pangs. Afternoon Tea is a meal composed of light savoury foods such as dainty finger cut sandwiches, warm scones with clotted (not synthetic aerosol) cream and sweet sticky jam.
Sandwich fillings vary greatly depending on where you are dining, but many hotels will stick to tradition and offer egg mayonnaise with cress, ham and mustard, and of course, buttered bread with thinly sliced cucumber. Pastries and colourful sweet treats are also served, as well as…tea, after all, it is called Afternoon Tea.
AN ANNUAL EVENT OF TREATS
Afternoon Tea, or High Tea as it’s known in certain parts of the world, even has it’s own week in the Gregorian calendar, a week that celebrates the nations favourite tradition. In 2018 the celebratory week was the 13th to the 19th of August. Whether enjoyed in the luxurious surroundings of a 5* hotel, or with friends sat on a plush woven rug in the park, one thing is clear, Afternoon Tea is definitely here to stay and we’re overjoyed that it is, Afternoon Tea is a firm favourite with The Callaghan Posse.
OMAGH FOOD FESTIVAL
Just a few day ago we enjoyed a fantastic day out at the Omagh Food Festival, and whilst there, had the chance to sample a few of the delicious delights that the Mellon Country Inn had to offer. At the stall we got chatting to Hannah Gowdy who is the Marketing Coordinator for the Mellon Country Inn, and the topic came around to Afternoon Tea. An already popular menu at the Mellon, we gave Hannah the idea of adding a Children’s Afternoon Tea and continued on our journey visiting the stalls. The following morning we were pleasantly surprised to receive an Instagram message from Hannah informing us that a Children’s Afternoon Tea had been added. As you can imagine, we wasted no time in booking a table.
A VERY MODERN MAKEOVER
Situated on the Beltany Road between Omagh and Strabane (closer to Omagh),the Mellon Country Inn, although long established, has recently changed ownership. Under private ownership and family run, the 3* Mellon has had a full refurbishment. Decor is refreshing, modern, and the hotel itself warm and very welcoming. From the instant you enter the hotel, you feel completely relaxed and any stresses you may have brought with you, simply fade away and become temporarily insignificant.
BUBBLES IN THE CHAMPAGNE LOUNGE
Moments after arriving we are seated on the upper tier of the dining room, an area known as The Champagne Lounge. Sat beside the window, it’s great to look out at panoramic views of undulating fields and watch as the busy world rushes by, and as summer draws to a close, it’s lovely to see Autumn colours of reds, browns and yellows begin to appear on the deciduous trees and shrubs. Stunning!
Our girls, Lily-Belle and Matilda, can often be a tad impatient when it comes to grazing, so we were more than pleased to see our Afternoon Tea arrive within minutes of taking our seats. Today was strictly a ‘photos before food’ work day, but it wasn’t long before we were able to relax and tuck in! Mellon Country Inn politely request that you give them at least 24 hours notice when booking Afternoon Tea (which we did), this is to ensure they have time-slots available and also so that they have enough food prepared for the sitting, plus the food is ready to be scoffed just moments after you are seated. Perfect!
CHILDREN ARE DEFINITELY ALLOWED
Afternoon Tea’s pre-ordered, one each for the girls and one each for Mummy & Daddy, they both arrived on slated 3 tier cake stands (each stand holds tea for two). Since it’s Children’s Afternoon Tea we’ll kick-off with the children’s version. On the lower tier triangular ham sandwiches, ramekins filled with Eton Mess, marshmallow filled gooey Rocky Roads and moist fairy cakes filled with delicious jam and cream.
The middle tier had mini-meringues filled with fresh cream and topped with seasonal fruit, profiteroles that oozed fresh cream with the every bite, shortbread biscuits drizzled with caramel and seriously sticky chocolate brownies. Lastly, perched high on the top tier…bowls of wibbly-wobbly jelly, every child’s favourite. The girls selected hot chocolate topped with marshmallows to accompany their Afternoon Tea.
ONE FOR THE ADULTS
The Adult Afternoon Tea lower tier had a selection of sandwiches, mini-meringues filled with fresh cream and fruits, soft sponge fruit loaf, Rocky Roads and 15’s. For those who don’t now what a 15 is, it’s a simple recipe of digestive biscuits crushed and mixed with condensed milk, then mixed with mini-marshmallows and glacé cherries, before combining and coating with desiccated coconut, finally they are shaped and placed in a fridge to set. For Mummy, 15’s always bring back childhood memories as she always got to lick the bowl at Granny’s house.
The middle tier had sticky toffee pudding slices, fluffy fairy cakes, melt in the mouth shortbread biscuits drizzled with chocolate and creamy cheesecake triangles topped with a tangy lemon curd (Daddy’s favourite). The top tier…another huge favourite of both Mummy and Daddy, Eton Mess. Tea and coffee to accompany the many food delights.
THE SCONES HAVE (S)GONE
For me (Daddy) I would have liked to have seen a scone on the Adults Afternoon Tea, is it just a personal choice or expected, for me and to make the Afternoon Tea authentic, it’s expected! I hasten to add though, after speaking with Hannah (Marketing Coordinator) I was assured that scones are indeed a key component of the Afternoon Tea (adults version), and in fact, the Mellon Country Inn baker is very well known for making delicious scones. Hannah also assured me that she will ensure they feature on the Adult’s Afternoon Tea’s from here on in…excellent!
The food is faultless, each cake meticulously and lovingly hand crafted in house and with great attention to symmetry and detail. The food does not disappoint and each mouthful is tastier than the preceding bite. Visually, the Afternoon Tea’s looked fabulous with a great range of colours to compliment the summer seasonal fruits that had been used. We tried our hardest to eat all of the savoury and sweet treats, but it was too much, we conceded defeat, we were well and truly stuffed! Had we been at home, a power-nap would have been on the cards no doubt!
EXCELLENT VALUE FOR A LUXURY TEA
You will find many places that offer Afternoon Tea, and we do believe that we are truly spoilt for choice on our tiny island, but, for a 3* hotel, the Mellon Country Inn has it down to almost perfection and we feel the price makes it exceptional value for money. If you have children, we highly recommend you treat them to this superbly priced Children’s Afternoon Tea, trust us, they will not be disappointed. Luxury Afternoon Tea that won’t break the piggy bank is seriously hard to beat!
IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T GET
Knowing the Mellon Country Inn had received a full make-over, we couldn’t resist asking to see the bedrooms. We had a sneaky peek at the recently refurbished Executive Suite and would highly recommend the hotel for those wishing to stay over. The room was tastefully decorated, spacious in size and spotlessly clean. Although just a mere 25 minute drive from our home, we can’t wait to stay over at the Mellon Country Inn, maybe a ‘romantic’ night away for Mummy and Daddy…child free!
WHERE TO NEXT?
The Mellon Country Inn’s reception has a contemporary and modern decor, whilst the bar and dining areas are beautifully crafted with clean lines and spacious seating arrangements. The hotel is currently 3* but we honestly believe it’s worthy of an upgrade to a 4*.
WOULD WE VISIT AGAIN
Absolutely, and more importantly, we would have no hesitation in recommending the Mellon Country Inn for Afternoon Tea. Both the food and the service were spot on. We love the ‘just out of town’ location and the recent renovations have given the Mellon Country Inn an ultra-modern face lift.
LILY-BELLE (age 9) SAYS
I’m a really big fan of Afternoon Tea and normally go on my own with Daddy, this time we went as a family and I really enjoyed it. The Afternoon Tea was really tasty and my favourite part was the Eton Mess, the meringue was really crunchy. I would have preferred a milkshake rather than a hot chocolate. I loved the sofas in the Champagne Lounge, they were really comfy, I’d like one in my bedroom.
MATILDA (age 4) SAYS
I liked the white thing with fruit on top (meringue), it was sooooo fluffy! And I liked the hot chocolate and the pink marshmallows. I wish there was ice cream with the jelly it would have tasted yummier.
Mellon Country Inn
Location: Beltany Road, between Omagh and Strabane – see map
Date of our visit: 18th August 2018
Car park: ample off road public parking on the grounds
Children’s Afternoon Tea cost: £10 (August special offer, we paid £8pp)
Adult’s Afternoon Tea cost: £13 (August special offer, we paid £10pp)
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