Is there anything more exciting, or indeed decadent, than being served afternoon tea with a sea view, glass of Champagne in hand?

It used to be that you'd have to travel to London to get a true level of refinement - Fortnum and Mason being a particularly famous example.

Having been fortunate enough to experience that myself, I feel I'm qualified to make this next statement: times have moved on, and now you can enjoy this level of quality without the five-hour train journey, plus the added benefit of a much nicer view.

And, dare I say, on Thursday I enjoyed possibly the best afternoon tea I've ever had, courtesy of the Mullion Cove Hotel.

It's a bold declaration but it comes from someone who's enjoyed a good number over years, including the aforementioned F&M offering, and only this summer a celebrity chef's effort - who I won't name as quite frankly he could learn a thing or two from Mullion Cove's pastry chef, Darryl Collins, whose skilled hands are behind such offerings as red berry slice, passionate fruit and milk chocolate tartlet and blueberry macaron. 

At this point it's worth mentioning that should I be whetting your appetite, the Mullion Cove Hotel is offering a special discount for Packet readers to try one for themselves - full details at the end of the article.

Falmouth Packet: The full afternoon tea in all its gloryThe full afternoon tea in all its glory (Image: Mullion Cove Hotel)

Back to Darryl though. For those who think his name sounds familiar, this may be because he reached the finals of Bake Off the Professionals back in 2018.

Having lived in Cornwall previously, at that time he couldn't find work to the standard he was after - "there weren't many Michelin stars here at the time" - so moved away and ended up in Birmingham, where he spent the next ten years, which included his Bake Off stint.

Back in Cornwall he has spent time at the Meudon Hotel, the Alverton and the Greenbank before settling at Mullion Cove in January this year.

He's already made an impression, not least with his afternoon teas.

Falmouth Packet: Darryl Collins is the chef behind the creationsDarryl Collins is the chef behind the creations (Image: Mullion Cove Hotel)

Coming imminently will the autumn afternoon tea, which Darryl said would feature plenty of warming spices. This will be followed by a special festive afternoon tea throughout December, which promises to raise the bar again, as befitting the season.

For our visit, however, my colleague and I got to sample one of the late summer teas, filled with fresh flavours and berry notes.

What I particularly appreciated about the savoury plate was how it wasn't overly 'bready', which is common in many afternoon teas and just leaves me bloated and too full to properly enjoy the higher tiers.

The smoked salmon on sourdough, complete with a small quenelle of creme fraiche and a caper berry, satisfied the 'sandwich' requirement beautifully, allowing me to move on to a beautifully subtle pea and cheese tartlet - both flavours were present, but neither overpowered the other.

Completing the savoury plate was a beautifully meaty quartet of miniature sausage rolls, which were delicately spiced - just enough to complement, while allowing the quality meat to shine through.

Falmouth Packet: Enjoy views from clifftop hotel while you enjoy the food (Image: Mark Bolton)Enjoy views from clifftop hotel while you enjoy the food (Image: Mark Bolton)

No summer afternoon tea would be complete without the presence of a cream tea course, and the warm scones were enjoyed with homemade strawberry jam and Roddas clotted cream.

Finally it was on to the eye-catching top tier, which always has the highest stakes in play. Many an afternoon tea has been ruined for me by dry cake and unimaginative flavours.

It was therefore with absolute delight that I was able to tuck in to each element with not a hint of disappointment.

I started with the blueberry macaron, which proved the perfect choice as the tartness of the blueberry gel cut through the richness of the preceding cream tea perfectly, setting my taste buds up for the remaining desserts.

I'm a firm believer that chocolate should end the meal, so I left the tartlet to last and moved on to the 'Victoria sponge with a twist'.

This twist proved to a perfect square of multiple thin layers of sponge, beautifully light - and possibly fatless? - sandwich with raspberry jam and all coated in a layer of white chocolate.

Finally, and with some degree of sadness, I moved on to the last item on the plate - a tartlet filled with creamy milk chocolate, tangy passionate fruit and a thin dark chocolate tuile.

Falmouth Packet: Blueberry macaron, passionfruit and milk chocolate tartlet and a twist on a Victoria sponge were all servedBlueberry macaron, passionfruit and milk chocolate tartlet and a twist on a Victoria sponge were all served (Image: Mullion Cove Hotel)

I'd just finished when the very lovely restaurant manager came in to ask if I needed a doggy bag to take any home in. She'd clearly underestimated my love for an afternoon tea, as we both surveyed the empty plates as a meal well enjoyed.

If you would like to give one a try yourself, the Mullion Cove Hotel is offering Packet readers a £5 discount per person for afternoon teas through October and November, by quoting 'The Packet' when booking.

The normal price is £29.95 per person for an afternoon tea with tea or coffee to drink, or raise it to the next level by adding a glass of Champagne, for a total of £43.50 per person.

Festive afternoon teas will be available from December 1, at a slightly higher cost.

Pre-booking for afternoon tea is required, with a £10 per person deposit taken on booking.