Tag Archives: afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea: The Park Lane Hotel – Wedding Dresses

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I love Art Deco architecture and fashion, so when The Park Lane Hotel in London got in touch to ask me to review their exciting new collaboration with the V&A for their Wedding Dresses exhibition I couldn’t say no, especially when I heard it was a special afternoon tea inspired by wedding fashion.

Created by The Park Lane Hotel’s Pastry Chef, Sarah Hartnett, the Wedding Dresses Afternoon Tea is a real treat that starts with ‘Tuxedo’ strawberries, which look as gorgeous as they taste, and a glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne to get you into the wedding spirit, while sitting comfortably in the Palm Court lounge of the hotel, I think I could have sat on that sofa all-day long.

Unlike other afternoon tea’s where everything is displayed together, the savouries, the scones and the cakes, I really loved how the Palm Court’s waiting staff take you on a journey through the courses, much like a wedding breakfast I suppose, only revealing the next course once you have finished with the last.

Normally I instantly gushed about the sweeter side of an afternoon tea, maybe it is because that is what catches my attention from the get-go, but with it being served as courses I really think that the savouries was one of my favourite bits. As I am not a huge meat eater the hotel kindly did me a veggie plate, with the impressive looking and delicious cucumber vichyssoise with cucumber pearls, the cream cheese and chive sandwiches, the egg rolls and the best was the warm asparagus brioche. I really can’t fault anything from this course, everything tasted great and was presented superbly.

Next up was the romantic side of the wedding-themed afternoon tea, with warm, heart-shaped plain and apple and raisin scones, which were just so adorable and one of the best scones I have tasted, and I do love a scone! What made these, other than the Instagramable shape, had to be the preserves they came with, not content with just clotted cream and jam there was also lemon curd, such a delicious addition.

By this point I was feeling pretty full, well that was until I saw the ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue’ cakes – with the ‘old’ vintage dress inspired vanilla and pear bavarois, the ‘new’ golden wedding ring of creamed passion fruit chiboust with orange shortbread, my favourite lemon and pistachio polenta Wedding Cake decorated with a ‘borrowed’ brooch, and finally, the ‘blue’ blueberry almond mousse with chocolate cream to represent a very fashion-forward groom in a blue suit.

Each cake was exquisitely crafted, I loved all the details, and the taste was very unique and flavourful, a perfect ending to a fabulous relaxed afternoon tea, well that would be if the hotel didn’t send you off with a ‘Top Hat’ wedding favour cake filled with coffee and white chocolate fudge as a memento of the day, continuing the wedding theme right through.

If you enjoy a themed afternoon tea, or like me a very excited bride-to-be I think you will really enjoy this special menu, I also think it makes a day of it when paired with the exhibition. If however you are after more traditional touches then I think you would probably much prefer the hotel’s regular offering, as the Art Deco Palm Court is a gorgeous place to enjoy afternoon tea in London.

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The Wedding Dresses Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel will be served until June 30, 2014, 3pm-6pm on weekdays and 2pm-6pm at weekends in The Palm Court and costs £45 per person or £53 per person including a ticket to the exhibition. Bookings must be made in advance. For more information visit www.palmcourtlondon.co.uk/wedding-dresses. To book, call The Palm Court on 0207 290 7328 or email palmcourt.parklane@sheraton.com
**I was a guest of The Park Lane Hotel – but as always my opinion is honest – if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have featured it**

Afternoon Tea: Carmina and Lancelot, London

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Discovering a great place to have afternoon tea just off Oxford Street in London is a hard challenge, yes there is Selfridges and the big hotels but what about something more charming, inviting and relaxing? Well, I have found the perfect place, Carmina & Lancelot on Wigmore Street.

This cute and trendy cafe is really a reflection on the owners, Carmina and Lancelot, who are both warm, friendly and so down-to-earth, they really make it their business to make everyone welcome. It was so nice to see as I find that so many foodie places are part of a big chains that they have lost that friendly feel that can be so important.

As well as loving the owners, the decor of this brassiere is to-die-for, filled with books on fashion, art and travel, adorable bone china tea sets and vintage pictures – it is quirky and fun and definitely somewhere I could wish away the afternoon while chatting with friends.

I would like to say the discovery of this gem was my own, sadly it was Ngoni from I am NRC, who kindly let me tag along to review the place, but I can’t complain as it was so lovely to enjoy the cafe’s relaxed, unpretentious afternoon tea – yep there wasn’t any macaroons, no crazy theme, just good honest traditional food and it was perfect.

The smoke salmon and cream cheese and egg mayonnaise sandwiches were nice, but for me this afternoon tea was all about the delicious homemade sultana scones, fresh out of the oven these beauties were still warm to the touch, which I adore and they tasted perfect with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

As well as offering afternoon tea, Carmina & Lancelot also serves breakfast, including a great looking vegetarian brekkie, salads, paninis, daily specials and even cocktails. This is one of those places that you go in for lunch, add a dessert, a cup of tea, and then stay until cocktail time, as it really has a relaxed and inviting feel.

Carmina & Lancelot, 88 Wigmore Street, London

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**I was a guest of Carmina & Lancelot but all opinions on the afternoon tea are my own**

Afternoon Tea: Macaroons At Ladurée

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One of the perks of freelance life is that I get to conduct most of my meetings in cafes, restaurants and hotels, which means lots of gorgeous teas, cakes and the occasional hot chocolate. Recently I have had a handful of working tea breaks in Ladurée, the French patisserie and as I realised that I had never shared on my blog before I thought I would feature my new renewed love of macaroons.

Everything about Ladurée is perfection from the bijou Parisian style of the interior to the bite-sized macaroons that are irresistible, and the service is always so impeccable that it makes for a great meeting spot as well as somewhere to relax during this Christmas rush.

I think I might be working through the menu, the French-style pastries are amazing, especially the éclair, but on my latest visit I fell back in love with the tiny macaroons. I kind of have a love-hate affair with macaroons, sometimes they are great but when they are bad they are awful so of late I have stayed clear of them. But they just looked amazing that I couldn’t resist them and it has to be said that Ladurée really does have the most amazing choice of flavours from rose to liquorice. As well as tasting amazing, there is something about the vivid pastel hues that just makes them seem like a special treat.

I went for three flavours I hadn’t tried before – strawberry candy marshmallow, which was heavenly, the blackcurrant, and the chocolate, which was simply dreamy. For most it is all about the Vanilla, Pistachio, and Salted Caramel but I really do love the sweet macaroons.

What I love most about Ladurée, other than the fact it brings a taste of Paris to London, has to be how each visit feels like a treat, even if you just pop in for a cup of tea.

Are you a fan of Ladurée and its macaroons?

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Afternoon Tea: Aqua Shard – High Tea

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My love of afternoon tea goes further than my love of cakes or tea, of course that is important, but it is also about the experience that I love the most. Whether it is a fancy hotel, an adorable theme, or in the case of Aqua Shard breath-taking views of the London skyline.

A couple of weeks ago before it turned dark at 3pm, I enjoyed my first visit to The Shard‘s restaurant Aqua Shard up on the 31st floor to join my friend Alex, who is a little obsessed with the place, for a contemporary take on the traditional afternoon tea.

Seated with a panoramic view of Tower Bridge, St Paul’s and the Tower of London, it was already worth it before the food was presented – I have to be honest I was in awe at how spectacular London looked from 31 floors up.

The afternoon tea itself was delicious, from the sculpted Shard cake, which looked too good to eat, to the soft-centred chocolate truffle, to the tiny but exquisite lemon meringue pie and my favourite the fruit salad millefeuille.

The sweet treats were the best bit of the afternoon tea for me, on par with the selection of teas that they offer from the Rare Tea Company, it was hard to choose which one to go for but I decided to try the Royal Air Force tea, a calming tea specially blended for the RAF combining Darjeeling and Malawi teas and it was divine.

It was the sandwiches and scones that yet the afternoon tea down a little, with no vegetarian option I had to opt just for the egg curried mayonnaise, which was nice but with no variety it was a little too overpowering. The scones, vanilla and raisin and orange blossom, were a little tasteless to be honest, and the jam and clotted cream was just too runny.

Overall I enjoyed the Aqua Shard high tea, which is being billed as the highest in London, the view and the cakes made the trip totally worth it. I would have liked the staff to have been more attentive though, I had to ask more than once for hot water for my tea, they didn’t go through what the sandwiches, cakes and scones were when it was presented, and they didn’t seem knowledgeable about the tea choice. I am being super picky, but that is the sort of service that I expect with afternoon tea – luckily the view and setting won me over!!!

If you like to eat with a view then you have to check out Aqua Shard, the restaurant also does breakfast, lunch, dinner and has a great cocktail menu – also try and go when it is still light as then you can see the view before and after dark it really does look amazing.

High Tea at Aqua Shard is served daily between 3.00 – 5.00pm and costs from £29.50.
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**I was a guest of Aqua Shard – but as always my opinion is honest – if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have featured it**