In our house, I usually have control of the TV remote and because of that there is normally some cooking show or other on the box. While watching one such show (I forget which one) the contestants had to prepare the cakes and pastries for an afternoon tea. The Better Half's interest was piqued....he loves anything sweet and since he has never experienced afternoon tea before, I thought it high time he did. Afternoon tea has become really popular here in London and there are lots of places offering some very quirky teas, but for his first I wanted TBH to experience the traditional type. The one that I chose was Espelette at The Connaught Hotel.
English grandeur at its best, the hotel is over 100 years old. You can read more about the history here. Espelette restaurant where the afternoon tea is held, is a relatively new addition to the hotel. It's a beautiful room with light streaming in and we were seated by a window with plenty of people watching opportunity of the very affluent Mount Street.
We chose the champagne afternoon tea (£50.00) which included 1 glass of Laurent Perrier champagne, but there is also the traditional afternoon tea without champagne (£41.00). For our teas, TBH chose the Bangkok - blended green tea, lemongrass, coconut and ginger. I went for the Paris - heady and fruity a blended black tea with a hint of lemon, bergamot, caramel and vanilla. I don't usually drink tea, but both teas were really lovely.
And then the cake stand came out and what a thing of beauty! Every little pastry - which included Battenberg cake à la rose, b3 éclair, peanut temptation, mac blanc, vanilla meringue tart, exotic baba - looked absolutely perfect.
The sandwiches were of the traditional kind - there was coronation chicken, ploughman’s pickle with Montgomery cheddar, Scottish smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraiche and cucumber and mint cream cheese. They were so good that when we were asked if we wanted any more, we didn't hesitate. I particularly liked the cucumber sandwiches.
The scones came out still warm and with the jams and clotted cream, were absolutely delicious. The only items we didn't really enjoy were the cakes (chocolate and spicy hazelnut and matcha green tea and chestnut with passion compote) They were just a little bit 'solid' for our liking and by then we'd had enough sweet stuff.
Service, as you would expect in this kind of establishment was first class. The waiting staff were all very friendly and attentive. The background music provided by a harpist, made the atmosphere feel even more opulent. Our total bill for 2 afternoon champagne teas was £112.50 which included service. It is safe to say that The Better Half thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon and we'll definitely be having more of them in the future.
I would recommend The Connaught Afternoon tea if you are looking for something traditional with exceptional service, it is equally as impressive as somewhere to take a date or your parents.
STFF will be on tour next week. We'll be visiting friends in Norfolk and will be eating at Galton Blackiston's Morston Hall. Look out for the review coming soon.
Until we eat again!
The Connaught Hotel
Carlos Place, Mayfair W1K 2AL
Carlos Place, Mayfair W1K 2AL