SOME people really like scone spies, you know.
A scone spy even has friends and family, and when spies have a birthday and reach the grand old age of, er, 29 (well, 29-ish) they get gifts.
What better gift for a sleuth of scones than a chance to try some upmarket fare?
The Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews, has created The Savoy Afternoon Tea.
They are owned by the same company as the Savoy Hotel in London, and have brought high-class poise, polish and poshness to Fife.
And they do it with scones.
The setting is quite something. The Fairmont’s atrium is huge, big enough to have a 60-metre sculpture hanging from the ceiling.
And the view out over the sea is an eye-opener.
It has comfy armchair-type seats and sofas and the tables are covered in pristine white, proper tablecloths.
The napkins are luxurious, the china looks like aunt Margaret’s best set (that you were never allowed to touch as a child). Even the carpet is plush, posh and pretty.
The hotel already does a sterling job catering for visiting gowfers from all over the world, and this new afternoon tea means locals can now treat themselves, too.
Scone Spy felt well and truly treated. And any fears that I might not be hoity-toity enough, or pointing my pinkie at the right angle when sipping my tea, were gone in 60 seconds.
Aye, it’s smart, and the Savoy reference may make you expect it to be formal. But it felt Scottish.
It has the standards that used to be the norm in tea rooms the length and breadth of Scotland. The quality of food, service and cleanliness are old-fashionedly high and everyone smiles genuinely and looks pleased to see you.
The staff treat you like a visiting ambassador. They can’t do enough to ensure you are seated comfortably.
Your 25 quid buys a choice of exotic teas with real leaves which come with a tea-strainer to match the crockery. It’s those wee touches that add up.
The food is excellent, they’ve brought in a highly-qualified chef to make sure of it.
You start with finger sandwiches, then scones, both fruit and plain, and there’s a delicious range of gateaux and (fancy wee works-of-art) patisserie cakes to finish.
There’s no problem if you can’t eat it all, it is house rules that they provide a doggy bag (although it has a more refined name) to take away leftovers. They insist!
But what about the main event? The scones.
Now, as you know, I’ve tasted a fair few. And these dainty little beauties were among the best. Soft, sweet, light, moist and marvellous with the perfect tap of crunch on the outside. Just out of the oven, and served with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd – another nod to the good old days. What a lovely treat.
Just like the rest of the place.
You can buy vouchers for the experience to give as presents – so that’s Scone Spy’s Christmas sorted out.
Warm Welcome 9/10 Location, Location 9/10 Scone Score 9/10
Looking for a scone near you? Browse our map of reviews below!