My Museum Cafe: Afternoon Tea at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

May 13, 2016


It’s Coeliac Awareness Week in the UK this week. I’m a bit late to the game, but at it runs until Sunday, there’s still time to join in and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share with you the amazing afternoon tea I had on my birthday last year. And when I say amazing, I mean the ‘I-think-I’ve-died-and-gone-to-Heaven’ kind of amazing. Seriously, it was that good!

Scot Portrait Afternoon Tea 01

I had asked around on Twitter for recommendations, and as soon as the words ‘gluten free afternoon tea’ and ‘museum’ fell in the same sentence, the decision was made. We would be having my birthday tea at Café Portrait – run by Heritage Portfolio – in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (oh yeah, I should have mentioned we were on holiday in Edinburgh at the time – I’d chosen our holiday dates deliberately).

Scot Portrait Afternoon Tea 02

The afternoon tea was served in the Snug at the far end of the cafe, which was quieter and seemed a little fancier than the general café space. I was a little anxious about having my two young kids with me, but a high chair was swiftly supplied and the staff were absolutely lovely. #MuseumBaby was still on baby food at the time, so we just had #MuseumBoy as an extra mouth to feed, but even though the afternoon tea was intended for just two people, there was plenty to share with #MuseumBoy too. He even got to order his own pot of tea at no extra charge.

Scot Portrait Afternoon Tea 03

We didn’t opt for the Prosecco add-on, but the food served was indulgent enough as is for a birthday celebration. From the stacks of sandwiches, miniature cups of soup and Brie topped savoury scones, to the fruit scones served with clotted cream and jam, little glasses filled with raspberry fool, and an assortment of mouth watering cakes, absolutely everything was gluten free. Not only did it look fancy and indulgent, it tasted out of this world too! It was the perfect birthday treat, and really made my day. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Scot Portrait Afternoon Tea 04

Afternoon tea is served in the Snug daily from 2:30 to 4:30pm. We booked our afternoon tea in advance, since we needed to request the gluten free option, but even for regular afternoon tea Café Portrait advises you book ahead to avoid any disappointment. They can reserve tables for up to eight people. You can make your reservation online via their website. The advance booking for two adults cost us £30, pots of tea included, and as mentioned, the cafe was kind enough to include an additional pot of tea at no extra charge for #MuseumBoy. The actual food served changes a little, as everything is cooked from scratch, but will always include a plate of soup and savouries and a tier of sweet treats. And as a bonus, once you are finished with your afternoon tea, you can go and look at some art! If you’re not too stuffed to move, that is.

Scot Portrait Afternoon Tea 05


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