It has been WAY too long since I’ve been for afternoon tea. I did have the afternoon tea event earlier in the year but that was more cocktails and chatter. But since I’ve had a proper, fancy shmancy hotel afternoon tea has been forever. After having afternoon tea at the Ritz a couple of years ago, I’ve had Claridge’s in my sights as the next one to get to. Luckily, my parents bought it for my sister as a congratulatory present for her chartered accountancy, and she very kindly took me along with her!
I wandered on the tube in the sunshine into London, jumped off at Bond Street and took the short walk to Claridge’s. As Rebecca is getting married next year, I did have a quick peek into the window for the Vera Wang wedding dresses which is just over the road too! The hotel itself is a lovely traditional London building, complete with doormen and flags flying over the door.
The setting is similar to other fancy hotels with afternoon tea held in the foyer. As you walk in through the door, you can see the sweeping stairway up to the rooms, then straight ahead the dining area. Decked in finery and under a very impressive chandelier and ceiling sculpture (which is super similar to the one in the V+A!), the tables are all laid out, with linen for table cloths; such a classic choice. We had a little table for two with squidgy chairs alongside. Alongside the table was a little three tiered silver shelf which was very helpful to make sure the table didn’t get too full.
You can get the afternoon tea with some sparkling champagne or rose champagne. Or the traditional London afternoon tea with a selection of teas. They have a huge selection of tea to choose from, including blacks to herbal. I went for a white tea – the Malawi Antler. Mainly because it is a very rare tea and it’s only served at 2 places in the world! It’s made from the velvety stems of the spring shoots. It was a lovely tea, very light and fresh.
Of course, sandwiches must come first. And is pretty much always my favourite bit of the afternoon tea! There was a great selection – my favourites definitely being the poached Scottish salmon with dill mayonnaise and the brown egg and french sorrel. It also came with a perfect little poppy and Parmesan puff with whipped goats cheese and summer vegetables. All the sandwiches were lovely and fresh with soft squidgy bread. There were just the right amount, and they did offer us another round if we wanted. I was really tempted but I knew there were more things to come!
For the second round, we had even more tea and some scones. They were the perfect size, small round and pleasantly warm. There was a selection of plain and raisin to choose from, with of course some clotted cream and some ‘Marco Polo gelee’ which was of course, a fancy jam. It was a bit marmaladey too which was a nice change. I really enjoyed both of the scones, though I was definitely getting rather full by the time the sweets were brought out!
They definitely got the balance right for the dessert section – 4 perfectly formed cakes all made amazingly well. I much prefer having less cakes that are all delish, than too many with a few average ones. There was the strawberry macaroon covered with cream and white chocolate – light and fruity. Then the banana cake which was probably my favourite – light banana sponge covered in a walnut buttercream and topped with a toffee banana. I could’ve eaten 4 of just those!
A small custard tart followed, covered in fresh raspberries and sticky sweet meringue, and to finish a very rich and indulgent chocolate mousse and sponge. And trust me after that, I was well and truly full!! If you do want more desserts though, they were very obliging! The service was amazing as you would expect from Claridge’s, brewing tea as needed and always making sure we were well looked after.
As for my outfit for the occasion, I really wanted to get some more wear out of this dress which I bought last year for a wedding. As it was a scorcher, I paired with some nude tights and some small nude heels. I had to take a little black cardy with it too. I bought the dress from Boohoo last year and it doesn’t seem to be in stock, they do have a very similar style in stripes, and some nice floral numbers too.
Overall, a really enjoyable traditional afternoon tea experience! It is definitely on the very pricey side of the spectrum, with it coming it at around £65pp once you factor in service charge as well. It is therefore a good one to go to for when you have one of those very special occasions!
Tell me, what other afternoon teas do I need to go to next?!