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Review: Lanesborough Afternoon Tea September 4, 2011

Filed under: Afternoon tea — Dobsessed @ 4:53 am

Since I’ve been in London, I’ve quickly become addicted to scones and clotted
cream. My perfect weekend afternoon these days would have to definitely include
an afternoon tea (high tea in the UK refers to an early dinner!).

I was very excited to go to Lanesborough for their traditional afternoon tea after I’d
visited the Berkeley Hotel for the more modern fashionista afternoon tea. I read
numerous reviews online, and my expectations were high.

My friend and I were ushered in straight away, afternoon tea at the Lanesborough
doesn’t start until 4pm. The tea was held in a atrium and was bright and airy, with
many tables. There was a grand piano in the corner and a gentleman tinkling away
on it, adding to the whole overall mood.

We both ordered the traditional tea and both ordered hot tea to start. We were
presented with a little starter. It was white chocolate and a berry dessert in a shot
glass. Delicious. Great start. Not too sweet, and definite white chocolate flavour.


The teas weren’t kept on our table, instead set aside about 2 metres away and not
easily reached. As the dining room filled up, my tea cup became empty. I wished it
was closer, so that I could refill it myself.

A traditional three tier was set before us, bottom layer of sandwiches, two of each.
The next two tiers were disappointing however. On the second their, there were
only 3 cakes, small, and all different flavours. Considering there were two of us,
I was disappointed that we’d have to cut into the cakes to allow us to each try a
flavour.

See the top andmiddle tier? so dissappointing

The top tier was the same, 4 or so different desserts, but as some of them were so
intricate, it was difficult to share.

A separate plate was brought over with one raisin scone, and one plain scone, and
two halves of an English muffin with cinnamon butter. Lemon curd butter, jam and
clotted cream accompanied these.

The sandwiches were fine, nothing mind blowing, but fine, soft bread and crust-less.
The warm cheese quiche had great, very short crust.

The second tier was just disappointing, as mentioned, having to share, and the cakes
were nice…abeit a bit dry.

The scones were absolutely delicious, cute little dumplings with a gold yellow top,
they were moreish and not dry or crumbly. The lemon curd butter delicious on the
muffin. We had to each choose a different scone as once again, they only provided
one of each. They did provide a second serving of scones after we asked.

My friend and I attempted to share the top tier of desserts but it was impossible as
the desserts were small and delicate.

My tea cup by this stage was empty and I wanted a different type of tea. This
wasn’t offered and it was actually hard to get the attention of the waiters.

When we did get their attention, I asked them if it would be possible to get more

cakes, I had seen other tables that had receive macarons on their tiers and we didn’t
receive any. They said they would bring more and I waited in anticipation.

After 30 minutes, it became quite apparent they were never going to replenish our
cakes. They even cleared away our plates.

Well then. I guess it’s time I asked for the bill. At around £38+ per person (no
alcohol), I found the offerings very stingy considering my friend and I had to share
most of it. I found it disappointing that despite asking for more, and being promised
that more cakes would be brought, we were basically just forgotten.

I was so excited to have a traditional afternoon tea at a 5-star luxury establishment
and I was so disappointed by the end of it.

Lanesborough Conservatory on Urbanspoon

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Prêt-a-portea, afternoon tea at the Berkley Hotel August 24, 2011

I started the day shopping in Harvey Nicols, which was very appropriate for what I had planned in the afternoon.

Prêt-a-portea at the Berkley Hotel, which is a modern take on the traditional English afternoon tea.  Prêt-a-portea is supposed to be inspired from fashion trends and encompasses inspirations from Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham, Chloe, just to name a few.

It was a rainy, gloomy day so I arrived early to my 3:30pm reservation.  The hostess who met me was absolutely lovely, apologetic that my table wasn’t ready (at 3:10pm) and seating me in the foyer with a few magazines.

I wasn’t forgotten either, at 3:25, I was ushered (with the magazines – as I was dining alone) to my table.  There was a place card, with my name on it! Very nice touch!

Personalised Place setting

I was presented with the menus, and the hostess also gave me a copy of the menu and the postcard inspiration to keep.  I went for the standard prêt-a-portea without the champagne and started off with a beautifully scented caramel and pear tea. The teapots and plates were all Paul Smith, brightly coloured stripe.

Menu – I can’t seem to rotate it!

Not too long after, the first of the savouries arrived.  Sandwiches, egg in a sweet, soft bun, tuna in tomato seeded bread, smoke salmon and teriyaki chicken rolled in tortilla.  All the sandwiches were served without crust, the bread soft, and reasonably tasty. These all went very well with my hot tea.

Egg sandwich, tuna and tomato bread, salmon, cucumber, terriyaki chicken wrap

Pear Caramel Tea

Paul Smith Dinnerware

Next up were the savouries: along with the savouries came with a 3 tier stand with brightly coloured, beautifully presented cake, savouries and shot glasses of little desserts.

Top tier, that was like a mint and coconut, I wasn’t a big fan of the Yellow shot glass

The savouries: Potato salad in a crispy crust, lobster nori roll, artichoke (sour with a nice crunch), cold spicy melon soup (delicious!) and Beef tenderloin.  All tasty and when the waiter asked if I wanted some more, another plate of savouries (all of them!) were quickly brought to me.  As I finished those, with a nod of my head, another plate of sandwiches.

Bottom tier, Savouries

After the 2 rounds each of savouries, I was ready for the sweets.  They looked too pretty to eat! They were all delicious with very distinct flavours, my favourite being the Chocolate and hazelnut praline.  I also loved the cookies, simply because I loved how they were iced.  Many of the desserts were quite mousse-like so it was very light and none of them were too sweet.

One of the cookies

I was also asked if I wanted to tea change and this time I got amazing apple and amazing it was.  Real fruit pieces, that were seeped in hot water.  Delicious, it was something to drink and something to eat!

I didn’t like one of the desserts, which was mandarin flavoured, but the rest I quickly devoured.  With a smile, another lot of desserts was brought, but this time, I was so full I was taking small short breadths.

After I finished everything, I was asked if I enjoyed everything? When I confirmed that I did, they said, “Would you like us to pack some for you to take home?”…WOULD I?! YES! I WOULD!

I got given a cardboard printed box that was shaped as a pretty handbag in colours of pistachio and pink and it contained three other desserts.

Overall, the only criticism was one of the (many) desserts that wasn’t to my taste, and some of the fondant that was used in shaping of the desserts…other than that, the whole experience was perfection.

I would recommend it to anyone and never did they once make me feel uncomfortable for dining alone.  Pictures are allowed too, so feel free to snap away!

I’ll be going back in a few months time – the menu changes every six months.  So, so worth it.

http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/fashionista_tea.aspx

Caramel Room (The Berkeley Hotel) on Urbanspoon