My time in London is going far too quickly. There are too many friends to see, new restaurants and old favourites to visit and parks to lie around in the sunshine in. One London experience which I was determined to fit in was afternoon tea. This should be compulsory for all visitors as it is simply so British and nobody does afternoon tea better than London’s five star hotels.
I’m staying at The Athenaeum hotel in London so was invited for afternoon tea there. The Athenaeum does several sittings including at 5.30pm which is actually great as you can turn afternoon tea into an early dinner. Tea is served in the “garden room” which is on the ground floor of the hotel and has windows looking out at the hotel’s vertical garden. The room is suitably swanky with lots of plush sofas and arm chairs which make you want to cozy in for the evening.
There’s a tea menu and the loose leaf tea is served in silver pots with china cups just as it should be (but so often isn’t in Australia). There’s also a champagne trolley serving Lanson if you really want to indulge. Afternoon tea itself arrives on a tiered cake stand. There’s a tier of finger sandwiches with lots of different fillings. There are traditional cucumber with cream cheese, egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and ham with a tangy red onion marmalade.
Next up are the scones which are slightly on the hard side but do come with the most brilliant accompaniments – sticky lemon curd, homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream.
On the top the dessert tier features a rose meringue topped with the most perfect raspberry, cheesecake, a berry tartlet and the most delicious champagne jelly. Given champagne is one of my favourite things in the world I was delighted to discover such a wonderful drink can be served in a dessert form!
There are refills of everything available but you really have to save yourself somewhat as once you have polished off the cake stand a whole trolley of cakes is wheeled out. There’s a Victoria sponge, chocolate cake, lemon drizzle cake, carrot cake, fruit cake, any cake you can possibly think of.
Some of the other London five star hotels have more spectacular settings for afternoon tea but you have to ask yourself do they have a cake trolley? The Athenaeum has to have the most generous afternoon tea going around.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of The Athenaeum.
Details: The Athenaeum, 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ
Kids: Very child friendly. There were lots of children eating afternoon tea on my visit as The Athenaeum prides itself on being a child friendly hotel. I had afternoon tea with my 10 month old daughter. She was given a high chair and lots of attention from the staff. The cucumber sandwiches and raspberries on top of the meringue were her favourites.
Damage: Pricey £34.50 per person but on this occasion I did not pay.