Afternoon Tea has become a huge part of my life since 2006. It has been one of the things that's keeping me sane and happy, especially when life seems challenging and I need something to cheer me up. This is the reason why I didn't even realise that I may have actually overdone it last year. But I have no regrets because I enjoyed every single Afternoon Tea experience I had then, most especially because I shared those experiences with people who matter, old and new. In fact, I had some of the most memorable Afternoon Tea experiences last year, and I'm going to tell you why.
1. The Claridge's - Brook St.
- Afternoon Tea at The Claridge's was on top of my list last year and I am glad that I was able to share this experience with two wonderful friends, Damaris and Veronica. Perhaps I could say that this Afternoon Tea sealed our sisterhood. It's amazing because despite our huge age difference, we get on very well. And this is why this Afternoon Tea at The Claridge's is one of my favourite experiences of all time. My companions alone already made the whole experience an unforgettable one, however the experience was further enhanced by outstanding service and classic collection of sandwiches, delicious scones and delightful pastries by Thibault Hauchard. Our waitress Katya served us with warmth and smile. For tea, I had the rare Malawi Antler- a tea that is not from leaves, but rather from stem of spring shoots. Apparently, only a few kilos of them are produced each year. The traditional Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant and classy Foyer and Reading Room. It was An Afternoon Tea full of joy and laughter, and indeed a celebration of friendship. Afternoon Tea price from 1st of April this year will be at £85pp. The Claridge's doesn't have a dress code, however I would suggest smart casual.
2. The Langham- 1C Portland Pl
- It was long time coming, but I finally had Afternoon Tea at The Langham in December last year. And it was not just any other Afternoon Tea, it was a very special one because the person that I was with was someone I only met in person for the first time. H and I were virtually introduced to each other by our mutual love, Farrah. So, when H told me that she was coming to London and would like to see me, I knew that an Afternoon Tea was the perfect way to get to know her. Luckily, she was also into the British tradition, so we both had a fantastic time getting to know each other over indulgent Festive Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court in The Langham. Their selection of sandwiches was served on individual plates and was accompanied by Christmas cheese scones with port red onion chutney and stichelton. Their exquisite pastries consisting of Christmas spiced financier, crunchy pecans, sable and mendiant were served as one in the form of a tart. Everything was delightful, a reflection of Michel Roux Jr quality. As this was their Christmas Afternoon Tea, we paid £100pp including a glass of champagne. Otherwise, the current price is from £75pp. Dress code is smart casual.
3. The Ritz - 150 Piccadilly
- Afternoon Tea at The Ritz will never grow old for me. After all, it is my favourite place for Afternoon Tea. So when my friend Claudia asked me to book an Afternoon Tea for her birthday last year, I suggested The Ritz. The Afternoon Tea at the time was served at the hotel's former Ballroom. It was apparently the first time in The Ritz's history that the Ballroom was opened for dining, and it was only for a limited time. We were priviledged as a matter of fact, to have experienced their Afternoon Tea at their rather grand Ballroom. As usual, the food was excellent however, we were not offered a refill of sandwiches this time which they have done during my two previous visits. Not that it mattered, but their sandwiches are actually my favourite because they use different breads- from brioche, tomato bread to granary and sourdough bread. The selection of tea has always been straightforward, so it was easy to choose. Claudia had their passion fruit and orange whilst I had Mao Jian. It was indeed a wonderful celebration of Claudia's birthday. Current price is £70pp. Dress code is formal- gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie.
4. Celeste at The Lanesborough- Hyde Park Corner
- When I left my previous employment in December 2021, there were a few people who I wanted to get to know more in a deeper personal level and one of them was Gino. Gino was one of the calmest and chilled nurse I have ever met and not only that, he is very capable and has big potential. Then there was Ken, whom I interviewed a few months before. Ken's interview was one of the most unforgettable interviews I've ever done as a manager because he exceeded my expectations. However, for some reason during that time, I didn't feel quite right that he was ready to work in the private healthcare. And I would like to think that I was right, because both Ken and Gino are now happy ward managers in the NHS. So, this Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough was a way for us to get to know each other better and celebrate their success, over delicious finger sandwiches, pretty selection of sweet pastries and perfectly baked scones. I opted for the strong but overall refreshing Sencha tea. Afternoon Tea price was £53pp (current for their Meadow theme is £68pp). Dress code is smart casual.
- Afternoon Tea at The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe was part of my leaving do when I left Epsom, however this was only with a very small group of beautiful young ladies- Charisse, Jherlin and Jenny. It was an absolutely wonderful Afternoon Tea experience full of laughter and meaningful stories. It was also a milestone for Jherlin, as it was her first time to drink tea. Needless to say, she loved it. The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe is perhaps one of those cafes that brings me comfort as the cool blue colour has a very special meaning in my life. The minimalist approach gives an impression of calm and serenity. I have visited the cafe twice and I am lucky that each time I went, it was not very busy so it was a more pleasurable experience. The dainty Afternoon Tea selection of sandwiches, sweets and scones, and the aromatic tea were served on classic Tiffany & Co teaware. It was rather enjoyable and for £69pp, it was definitely worth it. As far as I know, there is no dress code specified on their website, however I would recommend smart casual to be on the safe side.
6. Kai Mayfair- 65 S Audley St
- The Chinese Whispers Afternoon Tea at Kai Mayfair is one of my favourite Afternoon Tea experiences ever. Shared with my soul sisters Damaris and Veronica, we were treated to an extraordinary Afternoon Tea experience. I knew it was going to be an unusual Afternoon Tea experience as soon as we entered the restaurant and I saw a shelf full of fresh apples. The smell reminded me of my childhood, when my father worked in Saudi and used to bring home a few. Downstairs is a cosy room, tastefully decorated with Chinese ornaments. Highly noticeable were "The Chinese Whisper Song Birds" on the plates and Kevin Kwan's books "China Rich Girlfriend" and "Rich People Problems" where the menus were tucked in. It was a rather playful Afternoon Tea in that we were presented with a singing songbird and a "jar of whispers and conversations" to start with. We then get to whisper our secrets to the songbirds. As usual, I was the only one who followed the full rule and wrote my name on the belly of the songbird and clipped it on the birdcage. Haha. The food was unique, each tasted wonderful. My favourite were the Macarons with Clotted Cream and the Bao sandwiches. The service was outsanding, very gentle and warm. The lady served us with consistent friendly smile. Kai is definitely worth its Michelin star and for only £52pp, their Afternoon Tea is definitely a treat you should not miss. Dress code is smart casual.
7. The Rubens At The Palace- 39 Buckingham Palace Road
- It was my first Afternoon Tea experience with our Poppylove and it was great. The Rubens at the Palace has a Prince and Princess Afternoon Tea (£35) which was perfect for Poppy. It was the first time I saw her since the pandemic so this Afternoon Tea was a reunion for us. I have been waiting for the moment when I get to have an Afternoon Tea with Poppy, and there I was, watching her hold her teacup like a real princess and listening to her amusing stories. Ah, how time flies. She is growing very fast. I truly cannot wait for more Afternoon Tea spent with this beautiful and very smart young lady. The Afternoon Tea at the Rubens is served in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews of the Buckingham Palace. The food was delightful and the service was attentive and friendly. Although the location is busy, I would still highly recommend The Rubens for a classic Afternoon Tea experience. Royal Afternoon Tea price is £70pp and dress code is smart casual.
8. Corinthia- Whitehall Pl
- So, I went back to Corinthia for an Afternoon Tea because of two special visitors from the United States. It always humbles me when someone makes time to see me when they are visiting London, but it is definitely an honour to be invited to an Afternoon Tea. I haven't seen Mailah and Auntie for so many years, therefore this Afternoon Tea was also a reunion. Mailah chose the Corinthia and I could not be happier as I love the place and their Afternoon Tea. I was actually looking forward to seeing the Baccarat crystal chandelier again which is an attraction in itself, and their red and black striped bone china teaware. The food as expected was delectable, their selection of finger sandwiches are some of the best I've had in London. The sweet delicacies were beautifully created and arranged as always and tasted so good. The scones were served in their classic white box, however something has changed this time. When I opened the box, the message, "Let's have some tea and talk about happy things" was missing. I took the courage to ask our waiter and he said that apparently, one customer complained about the message so they had to remove it. Oh, well. All in all, Afternoon Tea at the Corinthia is indeed a luxury. Traditional Afternoon Tea is £65pp. Dress Code is smart-casual.
9. The Bentley Hotel - 27-33 Harrington Gardens
- My Afternoon Tea at The Bentley hotel was a very thoughtful gift from one of my former staff. It was my first Afternoon Tea at The Bentley and it was not quite what I expected. The hotel's lobby was nice, however it was evident that it is dated. The Peridot Restaurant where the Afternoon Tea was served was poorly lit. The food was basic, far from what the hotel claims that other hotels envies. The service was okay but nothing special. For a 5 star hotel, I guess I was expecting more. BUT, my company was perfect which made up for everything. Afternoon Tea price is £42pp, and no dress code as far as I am aware.
10. The Ivy Chelsea Garden- 195-197 King's Road
- Perhaps the worst Afternoon Tea I've ever had, and this experience at The Ivy Chelsea Garden validated my lack of interest in The Ivy Collection restaurants. Luckily, I had one of my best friends with me so my time wasn't wasted. First of all, the service was slow, impersonal and haphazard. Secondly, the food was mediocre. The ambience was unsettling and the busyness of the restaurant was palpable. We had to ask for things multiple times. You can't of course fault the decor, however we were not there mainly for that. I guess that's what you get for £29.95pp Afternoon Tea. Dress code as far as I can tell is casual.
Indeed,my Afternoon Tea experiences last year were all about getting to know people, building deeper relationships and reuniting with old and really good friends. As I feel like I overdid Afternoon Tea last year, I am planning to calm down this year. Saying that, I have already been to two Afternoon Teas since January, so we shall see. :)