There are so many afternoon tea offerings throughout London, where should you book? Well, I pride myself in being an afternoon tea connoisseur, and I’m here to share one of my favourite spots with you. Within the bustling hub of London, beyond on the streets of Mayfair resides the one and only, Hotel Cafe Royal. And, it’s royal by name and royal by nature, that’s for sure. The hotel exudes a sense of luxury that amicably cohabits on the commercially populated Regent Street, so most people don’t often notice one of the hidden gems beyond the shops. However, what you will discover inside is not what you would expect from its modest facades, but step in with me, I dare you and let me share one of the best places to experience a truly royal afternoon tea in London.
Stepping into the Oscar Wild Lounge, expect to be dazzled by the interiors that resemble a gilded jewellery box with glistening golden detailing that fills the room. The lounge is dimly lit, giving it a soothing ambience, which is perfectly mixed with the subtle sounds of angelic melodies gently played by the pianist. Like a scene, you would only expect to see in movies, but expect it is a reality.
With Christmas rolling in, Hotel Cafe Royal’s iconic Queen’s Afternoon Tea takes a festive turn and with an array of different Christmas twists making it an idyllic afternoon tea to compliment the season.
We kicked off our festive afternoon tea experience with a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne. I often find starting an afternoon tea with champagne adds an elegant touch, in addition to what is often a special occasion, rather than an everyday affair. With high spirits, my sister and I toasted to what has been a fantastic year, and what will hopefully be a prosperous new year.
Our lovely host greeted us with an amuse-bouche of a carrot and celery soup, which reminded me of gazpacho, but more quintessentially British, using seasonal ingredients.
We then moved on to the first tier of our afternoon tea, with festive sandwiches — each of the savouries sound absolutely divine, but tasted even better. First up was Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and Madeira sauce, followed by cucumber and pine tree margarine, then brown egg with truffle mayo, and finally and my firm favourite, Yorkshire turkey and cranberry. The selection of sandwiches we were offered was a mix across three different menus – vegan, vegetarian and the traditional menu with meats, which I was very glad to hear they accommodate for all dietary requirements separately. But since we don’t eat pork and my sister is allergic to sesame seeds it meant a few of the alternatives were not suitable, meaning we were served a selection across all three menus.
Beyond the sandwiches there was a savoury addition also served a delectable golden crust, all-buttered quiche filled with vegetable and Cheshire cheese.
I opted for the Winter Cinnamon Noir, which is one of the festive edition teas. I really enjoyed the fragrance it exuded, with notes of roasted chestnuts and cinnamon, which gave off a lovely warm feeling, perfect for a cold Winters day, and it was the perfect blend to make feel like you’re drinking Christmas in a cup.
Moved onto our second palette cleanser, silky rosé champagne jelly topped with red currants served in an elegant martini glass — the luxe effect doesn’t stop at the interiors but transpires into glassware too.
As we transition into the second tier, we were served a selection of warm fluffy scones, both plain and ones filled with raisins. To compliment my scones I ordered the rose and lychee noir, another of the black teas but this one was very fruity and floral, which paired perfectly with the sweeter side of the afternoon tea.
Continuing on to the very last tier of the afternoon tea, and one of my favourite parts, we finished with sweet treats. Starting with crispy coconut and pineapple choux, followed by the Victoria sponge cake with chantilly cream, then chocolate and cherry cake, and finally my favourite sweet treat, the Christmas pudding tart with cinnamon ganache made in the shape of a Christmas tree. So sweet!
My whole afternoon tea experience at Hotel Cafe Royal was absolutely outstanding, from the service to the quality of the afternoon tea and the decor, it was a wonderful and very royal experience. But to top things off, we were kindly gifted a Diptyque candle too, since the hotel is currently partnering with Diptyque. Also, the scent that hits you as you enter the hotel is the invigorating notes of Diptyque candles burning, which truly awaken your senses. The Diptyque candle is an optional extra, which gives you and your guest a little something extra something to remember your regal experience.
If you’re looking for the perfect afternoon tea experience this season, I highly recommend the festive Queen of Afternoon Teas experience at Hotel Cafe Royal. If you’re looking to book, you can click here.
Until next time…