Tag Archive: Tea

Nov 19 2013

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**

Jul 04 2013

Afternoon Tea: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have fond memories of reading Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so when I found out that London hotel, One Aldwych were putting on a scrumdiddlyumptious afternoon tea to celebrate the opening of the musical on the West End I just had to try it out.

I am a huge fan of themed afternoon teas when they are done well, which generally means that the hotel or restaurant has to take the concept to the max and pair it with great food, One Aldwych’s head chef Dominic Teague has done just that and created a memorable experience that tastes incredible.

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When I sat down to afternoon tea in the throne-like chairs, surrounded by magnificent artwork and Wimbledon-inspired floral displays, I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had only ever previous enjoyed cocktails during London Fashion Week, but I knew as soon as I saw the wonderfully illustrated menus that it was going to be fun.

Each menu is dedicated to a different family from Charlie and his granddad Joe to the Salt family with the spoilt brat Veruca, who actually looks adorable dressed like a ballerina on the menu. It is touches like this that is seen throughout the afternoon tea, which really has taken the concept of capturing the imagination and ran with it.Afternoon tea One aldwych 9 Afternoon Tea: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych %tagAfternoontea One aldwych 14 Afternoon Tea: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych %tag

The adventure started with Cocktail Charlie, which came out smoking dry ice and bubbling away in a carafe looking something more like an experiment than a drink. The cocktail itself was strong, which is hardly surprising considering it contains a mix of Dalmore Whisky, Cherry Marnier, chocolate bitters and Champagne. I am not much of a whiskey drinker but even I couldn’t help get excited about this drink.

Next up was the savoury platter, featuring the most delicious selection of vegetarian treats from a yummy tomato tart to mini leak and Stilton quiches, and a great choice of sandwiches including the traditional cucumber and chive crème fraiche on wholemeal bread, cheese paired with the most incredible chutney, and egg mayonnaise.

Normally the savoury plate is my least favourite, I am all about the desserts, but this was more than substantial and each piece was prepared perfectly and tasted amazing, I was actually a little stuffed before the Willy Wonka-style sweet treats came out.

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The real Charlie and the Chocolate Factory magic really shines through in the sweets, from pear drop and rhubarb and custard flavoured candy floss to blueberry brioche, vanilla cheesecake and mango filled golden egg, and one of my favourite desserts Eton Mess, which was all nicely washed down with chocolate caramel milk slurped out of a retro style bottle.

Everything from start to finish really was perfection on the taste buds and thought out. It wasn’t too sweet and sickly, even with all the chocolate and candy floss, it still had elements of the traditional tea with the magnificent scones, which were rounded off perfectly with the apple and meadowsweet compote, and the commitment to the theme makes this one of the most original afternoon teas I have enjoyed.

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If like me, one of your favourite childhood books was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory then you will love seeing it brought to life in this themed afternoon tea, and I am sure it is especially wonderful to get you in the mood if you are off to see the musical show.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired Afternoon Tea runs until December 31 in One Aldwych’s Lobby Bar, priced £29.50 per person or £38 with a Charlie cocktail or a glass of Lallier Grand Réserve Champagne.

One Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BZ 

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Jun 30 2013

Royal Albert Tea Tour: Afternoon Tea In Bloomsbury Square

royal albert tea tour 7 Royal Albert Tea Tour: Afternoon Tea In Bloomsbury Square %tagAs a lover of tea, cakes and pretty bone china, I was thrilled to be able to drop the Royal Albert’s whistle-stop Tea Tour around London. All in the name of charity, the quintessentially English teaware company, known for its love of floral printed tea cups, has been popping up across London this month serving tea and cakes to raise money for Breast Cancer Care as part of their Strawberry Tea campaign.

Even though Friday didn’t have the best weather, it was generally raining for most of the day, it was fun to wind down for an hour in the Royal Albert make-shift cafe in Bloomsbury Square, which was decorated so beautifully with floral bunting, gorgeous roses, and even vintage accessories to dress up in while you enjoy your afternoon tea.

I went with my good friend Jaclyn and it was so much fun catching up while sipping delicious tea from Royal Albert’s new floral collections, which all have such cute names like Cheeky Pink, Rose Confetti and Polka Blue. I have to be honest I kept asking for more tea just to sip from all the different designs, I love how the vintage floral designs seem to have been made more modern with the gorgeous colours and polka dots – I want them all!!!

There is only one stop left on the Royal Albert Tea Tour 2013 and it takes place on Friday, July 5 in Spitalfields in London, so if you are in the area between 10-4pm do drop by and enjoy a free cup of tea, just don’t forget to pop in a little donation into the Breast Cancer Care donation box.

As it was such a lovely event I documented the event using Instagram’s new video app, which I then uploaded to YouTube to share on here:

Are you a fan of afternoon tea and floral bone china?

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May 31 2013

Postcard From Manchester: Afternoon Tea At The Lowry Hotel

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Last week, my Mum and I were in Manchester for a spot of shopping, a concert and an early birthday celebration **haven’t you heard it is my birthday on Sunday**, and we decided to check out the afternoon tea offering at The Lowry Hotel, a fancy five-star hotel overlooking the River Irwell.

We were hoping for a spot of sun so we could eat out on the terrace at the River Bar and Restaurant but no such luck, Manchester is known for its rain but last week was also a very windy affair, so we decided a booth inside would be more comfortable.

Priced from £22.50 per person, the hotel’s afternoon tea is very reasonable compared to London prices, and it doesn’t lack on the quality, choice, presentation or service. We went for the traditional afternoon tea which came presented on a gorgeous Art Deco-style three-tier stand, filled with warm apple and cinnamon scones, a delicious rhubarb fool, a pistachio macaroon, and a couple of chocolate treats. They were the perfect accompaniment to our egg and watercress, cucumber and cream cheese, and Lancashire cheese and chutney finger sandwiches.

As well as being a lover of the sweet treats I am a huge tea drinker and The Lowry Hotel offers a great range of Jing loose teas from the traditional earl grey and morning blend to fruit infusions and green tea, but we decided to go for the Afternoon Blend, a refreshing Assam and Darjeeling mix.

I have been to a number of afternoon tea’s recently from the novelty to the traditional and what I loved about The Lowry Hotel is that it has a modern twist on old traditions, with one of the highlights being the apple and cinnamon scones, which tasted heavenly topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I find that it isn’t just the great food and tea choice that makes a great afternoon tea but also the service, which was hands down amazing, the staff were well versed in their teas, described each cake to perfection, and were attentive to our needs for offering us more tea and clean plates. It made the whole afternoon relaxed and fun and allowed my Mum and I to catch-up.

I haven’t had afternoon tea or stayed in a Rocco Forte Hotels before but I most certainly will be checking out their other locations in the future after this wonderful experience and if you are looking for somewhere special in Manchester I would most certainly recommend it as the restaurant was fantastic. I have also heard great things about the hotel’s spa as well, which I have added to my list of things to do next time I go home to Manchester.

Are you a lover of afternoon tea? Do let me know in the comments field below your favourite spot for afternoon tea in the UK and I will try and check it out.

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Feb 04 2013

To Do In London: Prêt-à-Portea At The Berkeley

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I love afternoon tea, the cute sandwiches, the adorable cakes, and I am a sucker for gorgeous bone china tea cups, so when Stylight *a new fashion community that you need to check out* asked me to join them and a few bloggers at The Berkeley I couldn’t say no.

Nearly all the major hotels in London offer afternoon tea but The Berkeley have combined my two loves fashion and cake with their Fashionista’s Prêt-à-Portea, which puts a new twist on the traditional English afternoon tea. So out with the scones and clotted cream, which I have to admit I missed a little, and in with cakes and biscuits that resemble catwalk designs from the likes of Marc Jacobs, DvF, Prada, Burberry Prorsum and Giambattista Valli.

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One of the most impressive cakes had to be the Yves Saint Laurent ‘Cabas Chyc’ crafted into a green Victoria sponge cake handbag, which looked as good as it tasted. Then there was the Burberry Prorsum layered praline and chocolate mousse trench coat teamed with a violet umbrella, just don’t each the stick, and the delicious Giambattista Valli red macaroon, which had a cute rose on the top. I just wish I could make cakes like this!!!

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If the cakes weren’t enough I fell in love with the Paul Smith tea set featuring a gold trim and his signature stripes, I would love to add this to my collection. Plus this hotel has one great florist, the foyer was decked out in gorgeous orange and pink dipped roses, which looked perfect against the backdrop of the fire place. This is a hotel I would love to stay at for a stay-cation.

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Do you love afternoon tea? If you’ve enjoyed a good one recently share with me below as I am always looking for new places to eat cakes and sip tea!

 
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is served everyday from 1pm – 5.30pm, prices start from £39 per person.
 

Jan 20 2013

My Perfect Sunday: Tea, Cookies & Grace Coddington

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I got out my recently purchased vintage Salisbury Bone China tea set, which I acquired at a charity shop, it is beautiful with a subtle floral print and a gold trim, I just love its Granny chic vibe.

There is something special about tea sets that I just love, they are my latest obsession I love a bit of Wedgewood, but when I saw this beautiful set complete with two cups and saucers, a tea pot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl and a tiny side plate, I just couldn’t resist it and I am so pleased I didn’t as it was perfect for my Sunday afternoon tea party for one!!!

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A tea party wouldn’t be complete without a cookie, and this double chocolate chip beauty was one I made earlier, and received high praise from my boyfriend who declared them my best ever, I think it was because for the first time my cookies actually came out looking round.

Then to make the setting perfect, I made my table all pretty by added some beautiful roses, I just love how flowers just seem to make me smile, and lit my favourite Osprey London ‘Dark Amber’ candle, it smells just like Christmas and is super relaxing, and then all I needed was a good book.

For Christmas I received so many fashion books to add to my growing library and I have slowly been working my way through them all and today I finally got a chance to start reading Grace Coddington’s autobiography. It is such a beautiful book filled with cute illustrations, can you spy Anna Wintour sat next to Grace below on the front row, and pictures of Grace when she was a model – I seriously can’t wait to get stuck into this book.

So what would be your perfect Sunday afternoon?

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Oct 24 2010

Dear Diary: Look What I Bought This Weekend

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Pic: My Lovely Tea Set

I’m not sure where my obsession with tea sets stems from; maybe that time my mum *borrowed* a plastic red tea set from a cafe in Wales, or my delight at afternoon complete with sarnies with the crusts cut off and cakes. But since moving into my first house, some four years ago, it has been my desire for a set of my own to entertain at afternoon tea.

This weekend on a trip down memory lane, I found it and it’s perfect.

I am not a matchy, matchy person. All of my plates are different bright colours, match but not the same, you see I like matching sets but with a twist, and this tea set has the same charm. It is a six-person set, with spots, stripes and multi-colours, complete with a cool stand. I feel like that this set was made for me.

For the rest of the weekend I have scouted the shops for a matching *complimentary* milk jug and cake stand – as well as the perfect blend of leaf tea and then my set will be complete.

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