I’m a big fan of afternoon tea. My brother once joked that it’s mine and Matt’s thing. We’ve had our fair share. So on a trip to London without our toddler recently we decided to indulge. The question was where should we go? We had an amazing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed afternoon tea a few years ago at The One Aldwich and to be honest, that was going to be hard to beat. But after scouring the internet checking out menus and photos, we decided to head to Claridge’s. My parents had been there before and said it was excellent. it’s obviously high-end, but we’d recently celebrated our wedding anniversary, so we thought this would be our treat to ourselves. (We didn’t do presents this year – what is the thing for four years anyway?!) So, here’s the low down on a Claridge’s afternoon tea. It’s pretty special…
The first thing to mention is the setting. Yes this is Claridge’s so it’s fancy. But the staff are so friendly and can’t do enough for you. It’s fancy without being stuffy. When Matt and I couldn’t figure out the flavour of the jam that came with the scones, we asked one of the waiters who told us all about it. More on that later… Safe to say, best. Jam. Ever! We had afternoon tea in the main lounge and there was a pianist and a cello playing. All very swanky. We dressed pretty smart but I was surprised at people walking in wearing trainers and very causal. It was a real mixed bag of people who looked very smart, smart casual and pretty casual.
We were looking forward to a toddler free afternoon but after we sat down a party with a toddler sat right next to us. I was pretty surprised to see a couple of prams in there. I didn’t mind, but it’s personally not somewhere I’d take Miss Belle! The toddler was well behaved but it was slightly distracting having another mum right behind me constantly calling out her son’s name telling him to sit down. Still, didn’t stop me indulging!
The menu has 23 teas to for you to choose from! Matt opted for a Cornish Earl Grey. I asked if there was decaf as I’m limiting my caffeine in pregnancy. The waitress was excellent and recommended one of the teas for pregnant women. It was a bit different to what I’d normally go for, but I enjoyed it. They came round throughout the afternoon tea topping up with more fresh pots or asking if we’d like to try any others. I was too full to try any others and i reckon Matt had about seven or eight cups of tea during the afternoon!
The sandwiches were delicious. The filings were the usual type found in afternoon tea, i.e. ham, egg mayo, cucumber, smoked salmon. But, this being Claridge’s, they were so much more than standard fillings! Here’s what we had:
English cucumber, buttermilk, French sorrel.
Clarence Court duck egg, mustard cress
Severn and Wye smoked salmon, brown shrimp butter, rock samphire
Roast corn fed chicken, lemon thyme mayonnaise, gem lettuce (this was the standout for me)
Dorrington ham, smoked tomato chutney, watercress.
Like our favourite place for afternoon tea in Norwich, The Assembly House, they ask if you’d like more sandwiches. This being us, we of course said yes! Though I’ll just point out I didn’t have a second of every filling as I knew I’d be too full to enjoy the rest. Matt did though!
These were pretty small but perfectly formed. And as I’ve already mentioned came with the most amazing jam and clotted cream. The jam is actually called Marco Polo gelée and is made up of 13 different flowers and fruits. I can’t describe it other than it’s delicious!! If you want to buy a jar, it’ll set you back £16!!!
Usually I’d say “and finally, the best bits, the pastries!” But in this case, I can’t say they were the best because everything was so good. In fact I think I almost enjoyed the sandwiches more than the cakes! They were great though and actually bigger than you get some places.
The only down side for me was the chocolate cake had a really strong coffee cream and I’m not a coffee fan so I left that one. My favourite was the apple macaroon which has the most delicious apple ganache filling with a sort of stewed apple compote right in the middle. The golden fruit cake was pretty sweet but the baked lemon tart with black currant merging was really refreshing, and the perfect way to end the afternoon tea.
I hope this review of the Claridge’s Afternoon Tea leaves you salivating…! It’s £60 a head, so by no means cheap, but we would definitely go again for a special occasion. Of course, we could have had some bubbles which would have added to the bill, but seeing as I couldn’t partake, Matt declined. I think it’d make a great gift for someone too.
If you’ve had any other afternoon teas in London let me know where in the comments box, I love to hear from you.
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