There are so many afternoon teas out there, quite frankly it is hard to stand out above the rest. From my experience working with a hotel, looking after their marketing, themed teas are actually extremely popular compared to a ‘classic’ tea. I mean, remember the Beauty and The Beast tea put on by the Kensington Hotel? That took to the public like a storm!
When I heard that Four Seasons had brought around a different concept of afternoon tea, I was extremely intrigued. The concept behind it is ‘A Journey Through British Summertime’, so all the pastries and cakes are themed around major events in British summertime. I mean, with Wimbledon having just left us, it’s a much anticipated yearly summer sporting event that gets everyone excited. It was such a lovely way for Four Seasons Park Lane to have incorporated and commemorated the best of the summer season.
The afternoon tea is served in the Amaranto Lounge, which feels like you’re having tea at your grandmothers place. All the cushions are perfectly plump, with a very inviting and luxurious atmosphere. There are low glass tables with scarlet red sofas and egg shaped chairs to match.
We kicked off the afternoon tea the only way I know how, with a glass of bubbly. I’ve only ever had the Veuve Clicquot brut champagne, so we decided to mix things up a little and have the rosé instead. It had a slightly more sweeter touch to it that was pleasant, but I prefer the more citric notes of the brut.
Out came the full stand of delectable pastries, cakes and sandwiches on a very modern and chic three tier stand.
We started with some freshly made sandwiches, there were a selection of Highland wagyu salt beef with Bibb lettuce, horseradish cream on rye bread, Haford cheddar with branston pickle on granary bread, Maldon cured smoked salmon with capers, tarragon and green asparagus butter on white bread. As I don’t like salmon, chef Romuald Feger kindly swapped it with grilled asparagus instead. Further, there was Persian cucumber with mint and lemon balm on brown bread and Devon crab with candied ginger and apple on brioche bread, but again, I don’t like crab so chef swapped it for pickled daikon and Nantais radish.
We unexpectedly went onto the sweet treats next. Here at Four Seasons, they believe the scones should come out fresh and hot so they are served afterwards rather than allowing them to sit on the stand and get cold.
The chocolate cherry and liquorice choux was divine. The liquorice taste was quite subtle and not over powering but the sweet cherry flavour was prominent and enjoyable. The picnic basket represents the quintessentially British picnics that many of us enjoy in the wonderful Royal Parks around us.
The champagne jelly with compressed gooseberries and elderflower cream was just perfect. I’ve never really had gooseberries before, so it was something new to try and it was utterly delicious. It was light and super flavoursome. The concept behind this sweet treat was to raise a glass of champagne to the great British Summertime. Cheers! 😉
The final sweet treat on the second tier was an apricot and lavender tart, with orange blossom and yoghurt cream. The tart represented the Chelsea Flower Show with fresh and floral flavours and garnished with the finest British wild strawberries. I absolutely love wild strawberries, because they give a real strawberry aroma and are bursting with flavour. They make amazing ingredients for gelato too.
The sweet treats continued onto the top layer, where there was two divine treats served.
The peach and ginger mousse with redcurrant coulis and crunchy pistachio was lovely. Again, the ginger wasn’t overpowering and it had a lovely peach flavour. The mousse was to celebrate the old days of Motor Racing with the Goodwood Revival treat, represented with the British Racing green (colour of many old cars such as Jaguar, Triumph and MG).
Finally, the Brittany sable with vanilla mousse and strawberry compote. A soft, delicate sweet treat was perfectly British with its flavour. It represented the Wimbledon tennis, with the ball as inspiration and the strawberries and cream it was the perfect representation of the event.
Even though we were super full on sweet treats, out came the freshly baked scones. I liked the fact that they were both more like bite-sized scones, pastry chef David Oliver was smart about it especially as they followed the most indulgent part of the tea.
The scones came out in both the traditional plain and raisin variety and were served with Yorkshire rhubarb and vanilla jam, strawberry elderflower jam and clotted cream. I absolutely loved the little glass pots they were served in, it’s the little touches like this that makes for a perfect afternoon tea experience, along with faultless service.
If that wasn’t enough, we were served up a slice of moist lemon cake with rhubarb compote and almond daquoise. I wish I had space to eat the whole slice of cake, because it was so good. Lemon cake is one of my favourite’s too… Maybe i’ll just have to go back to have the cake.
I personally think the Journey Through British Summertime afternoon tea is extremely good value for money. There is no better way to spend an afternoon than in a gorgeous luxury 5-star hotel, along with a divine afternoon tea and perfect service to go with it. I guess the company wasn’t too bad either. 😉
Until next time…
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