I love Afternoon Tea, after all what’s not to love about spending a few hours in a beautiful restaurant, indulging in cake and scones, drinking fine tea from fancy crockery? The quintessentially British tradition deserves to be celebrated, and you have the chance to do so from the 10th to the 16th August for Afternoon Tea Week!
Afternoon Tea Week celebrates the great heritage of afternoon tea in the UK with a week of activities, themed menus and offers in hotels, restaurants and tearooms across the country. To help you choose the right one for you, I have short-listed five Afternoon Teas that I love in London.
1. InterContinental London Park Lane
The InterContinental London Park Lane has just launched a new Afternoon Tea menu, a special collaboration between the hotel and British Family Perfumers, Floris London. The Floris Scents of Summer afternoon tea, served in the Wellington Lounge, combines perfumery expertise and culinary talent to create a sensory journey that celebrates the beauty of British summertime.
The Afternoon Tea uses evocative notes from Floris fragrances – freshly cut grass, jasmine, bergamot, citrus, and rose – skillfully crafted into the sandwiches, scones and cakes.
The cakes created by Ashley Wells, Executive Chef at the InterContinental Park Lane, are spectacular with their intricate composition, bright summer colours, and edible flowers to garnish.
InterContinental London Park Lane – Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7QY.
2. The Ritz
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, served in the beautiful Palm Court, is an English institution since 1906. The name Ritz is a guarantee of outstanding food quality and high standards in tea service.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is traditional and theatrical thanks to the glamorous setting, immaculately presented waiters, gleaming silver tea services and a resident pianist.
The menu is kept traditional, with classic sandwiches like cucumber, salmon, and egg; scones with jam and clotted cream; and a small selection of cakes. Everything is made in the kitchens of The Ritz (with the exception of the sandwich bread) including croissants, choux pastry, scones, and birthday cakes.
About 400 afternoon teas are served every day at The Ritz, between 11:30 and 19:30. The Afternoon Tea is so popular that they recommend you to book a table four months in advance if you need it at a prime time (between 15:00 and 16:00). A team of 11 pastry chefs work night and day to ensure the food is perfect every day.
The cake recipes are tweaked every few months, except for the Chocolate Delice which has been on the menu for menu years. This summer – in honour of Afternoon Tea Week – The Ritz are launching the new Milk Chocolate and Almond Afternoon Tea Cake.
The cake features Milk chocolate mousse, an almond insert, almond brownie base, milk chocolate feuilletine and salted caramel. I had the pleasure to taste the cake last week at an exclusive press preview and let me tell you that it’s spectacular! I loved the almond praline at the heart of the cake and the chocolate mousse was delicious.
I haven’t had a full afternoon tea at The Ritz yet, but I’m now planning to book one for a special occasion, maybe my birthday. Wouldn’t it be lovely to celebrate with tea and cake at The Ritz?! :)
The Ritz – 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR.
3. The Kensington Hotel
I was at The Kensington Hotel a few months ago to try their McQueen Afternoon Tea, inspired by the V&A “Savage Beauty” exhibition into the life and work of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
I was really impressed by the hotel and its cozy, modern and yet elegant lobby and dining rooms.
Unlike traditional establishments like The Ritz, The Kensington Hotel can afford to play around with recipes and escape the classic idea of afternoon tea, like they did with these eccentric cakes.
If you are looking for a stylish afternoon tea, The Kensington Hotel is the right place for you.
The Kensington Hotel – 109-113 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LR.
4. Le Méridien Piccadilly
Set in the heart of London’s West End, Le Méridien Piccadilly Hotel offers a modern setting for an afternoon tea with friends or clients, served in the glass atrium of their terrace restaurant. If the weather is good, you can even choose to take your Afternoon Tea on the balcony area outside.
The menu changes regularly; at the time of my visit it was inspired by the game of chess, which was also the inspiration behind the Chess Portraits by Francesco Ridolfi displayed on the restaurant’s walls.
One thing I love about Le Méridien Piccadilly is that they serve Jing Tea, a brand of fine loose leaf teas which can only be found in luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world.
Le Meridien Piccadilly – 21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH.
5. Corinthia Hotel
Corinthia Hotel is London’s newest 5-star hotel, housed in a fabulous building dating back to 1885. At the heart of the hotel is the lobby lounge area where the afternoon tea is served every day.
I was at Corinthia Hotel last December to try their Christmas Afternoon tea and cakes.
Currently they are serving a different menu named “childhood memories”, inspired by the favourite sweets and treats we had as children. I love the sound of a Snickers cake (Peanut Mousse, Tanariva, Aerated Salted Caramel) or a Jaffa Cake (Chocolate Orange Pave, Ganache, Mandarin Jam). Don’t you?
Corinthia Hotel – Whitehall Pl, London SW1A 2BD.
For more information about Afternoon Tea Week and the full directory of events and offers, visit afternoonteaweek.com.