But how did it really roll on Gibraltar’s 5 Star Sunborn Yacht…?
Look, I promise it wasn’t some pre-planned ploy to get my mum to part with her cash… I couldn’t help it if my invitation to afternoon tea at the poshest address in Gibraltar just happened to take place around the time of her first visit to stay with us since I’d signed the contract for my debut novel…
Thanks again Mum!
And thanks again to the Sunborn team for a truly scrumptious affair… well, with the exception of the rather pasty guy who was permanently in our line of vision dipping hairy legs into the infinity pool.
But all joking to one side, we had the most wonderful afternoon. We used to do a lot of this kind of thing, pre-kids, pre Mum having grandkids, pre my husband relocating us all to Spain… and so nowadays, moments like these have to be cherished and wrapped up in rainbow-hued tissue paper, for they happen not as frequently as they should.
But I digress.
The food was pretty as a picture, even rivaling the pristine views of the upper rock and the swish penthouse apartments below it. The weather was perfect; not too hot, not too cold. In fact, the waitress was sure it was our arrival that swept the one remaining magnetic cloud off the face of Gibraltar’s eponymous rock and out into the Straits. I think she was right. We were in a fabulous mood and what followed was a fabulous eating and drinking experience.
Where to start?
Well, first we dined on egg sandwiches (with the creamiest and fluffiest of fillings lovingly held together by an almost briochey-style bread), next we opted for the rectangular – and quintessential – cucumber sarnies, then the ham ones, and finally the tuna and wilted veg wraps. As you can imagine, with a pot of tea each as well as a generous glass of crisp bubbly Cava, we were beginning to feel a little full!
But there’s always room for pudding in this family; a skill that’s been tenderly handed down from generation to generation. And so on to tackle the scones.
Now, if I’m being picky… really the “fruit” ones could have done with a couple more raisins. But the generous pot of clotted cream – and it goes without saying that we spread that on our sliced scone halves first, hailing from Somerset and all – and the glistening strawberry jam, studded with plump nuggets of fruit, soon had us forgetting our lack of dried fruit woes. Add to that the feeling of being in St Tropez, and indeed we could have been on holiday – well, technically Mum was.
The Aqua Bar, where we were taking our tea, just has that kind of cosmopolitan aura about it. As non-residents, we weren’t able to sit at the Wheelhouse Terrace with the rest of the paying guests who were also enjoying this once a week offering from the hotel – for some reason The Sunborn only serve afternoon tea on a Wednesday. But I have to say, rock and pool view versus oil tankers (and okay, very occasional leaping dolphins) would have been a no-brainer any day, so we were more than happy.
Three scones down – thankfully they were somewhat quainter in format than your average West Country tearoom, and it was time to ponder the petits fours, all of which looked too picturesque to eat! Passion fruit (we thought they were passion fruit, anyway) cheesecake squares cut and baked to perfection, mini chocolate tarts dusted with crunchy nuts, a sharp and tangy peachy tart, miniature almondy, zesty loaf cakes topped with raspberries and gleaming like jewels.
And then came the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème… I thought Mum had an identical specimen on her side of the top tier of the cake stand too, honest… and well, before I knew it, my hand had swooped in on it like a seagull and the coffee crème pat-oozing beauty of a baby profiterole was dazzling my taste buds.
But it was the most fitting of finales… in my defence…
So, if you ever find yourself in this part of the world, in need of a proper afternoon tea, look no further than Gibraltar’s Sunborn yacht. You won’t be disappointed. At the time of print, this exclusive Wednesday treat is priced at just £17.50 per person and makes for a lovely hour or two of affordable luxury amidst some seriously impressive surroundings.
After which of course, you can “play guest” and have a wee snoop around the snoop-able areas of this most exquisite floating hotel.
You are welcome!