The Ivy Asia's Cherry Blossom High Tea

As if the end of a grim wet winter wasn’t enough to be happy about, there’s also a rather nice way to welcome the new season at Brighton’s Ivy Asia.

The singularly fabulous Ship Street venue is marking the first weeks of spring with a spiffing new afternoon tea.

Beautiful cherry blossoms are of course blooming all over the place right now and new menu celebrates just that.

Of course, anyone who's ever been to the Ivy’s sister restaurant will know there’s an air of spring every day of the year there, with their utterly starry cherry blossom creation which looms large on the ground floor.

The Blossom Afternoon Tea (£29.95) was launched earlier this week and is available daily from 3pm until 4:45pm, until May 5.

There’s also a collection of limited-edition seasonal dishes and cocktails inspired by the cherry blossom season.

On a relatively bright Monday we stepped into the glam environs of Ivy Asia for a thoroughly civilised afternoon of wonderfully crafted vittles and a couple of rather elegant cocktails.

The afternoon tea is served in suitable style on a fetching three-tier stand and like so many dishes at the venue are likely to find themselves on many a Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.

The promotional description of the array of savouries and sweets said it was inspired by the ‘fleeting beauty’ of the blossoms but the extensive selection is impressive and memorable.

We began with the vegetable dumplings with a ponzu dip that’s zingier than soy and a great all-round dipping sauce, ideal for the golden-based, lightly fried gyozas.

Dumpling two was decorated with sesame seeds, steamed, and stuffed with a delicate prawn filling.

The last treat on the first tier was a pair of aromatic duck spring rolls, which regulars will recognise and cherish, they’re elevated way above the usual suspects with a subtly spiced filling and super-crispy filo pastry.

Bao buns are now so popular they’re squeezing out old favourites from supermarket freezers and chillers, and they’re a bulky, but perfectly steamed, warm and fluffy presence on the second tier of the mighty afternoon tea stand.

In terms of savoury nibbles we inadvertently saved the best until last – a generous portion of immaculate and wonderfully fresh maki rolls.

Both the salmon cream cheese and cucumber, and spicy avocado maki rolls were exceptional, and could be seen being meticulously crafted by the chef at a open station at the back of the restaurant.

We’d reached the top shelf of the stand and trio of sweets.

The bite-sized raspberry macaroons and passion fruit and coconut doughnuts were both pleasant enough but couldn’t compete with the star of the top tier, Cherry Blossom Trees made from dark chocolate and candyfloss, ‘planted’ in a cookie-crumb covered chocolate mousse which concealed the booziest cherries you’ll have in a lifetime.

A pot of tea was also included in the price, and the Jasmine Sliver Needle white tea, was a fragrant but light accompaniment to the both the sweet and savoury.

The afternoon tea can be enjoyed alongside five new cocktails created in partnership with Edrington and Beam Suntory, spirits.

Our favourite cocktails of the afternoon were the Flora Akio, created by Brighton Ivy Asia’s Sean no less, and a Sakura and Lychee Martini, a lovely smelling number which featured Sakura (cherry blossom) vermouth

To top it all there’s a night of live entertainment starting at 6:30 pm on 5 May.

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