Four of my top picks for afternoon tea in London
When it comes to choosing an afternoon tea experience in London the choice can be overwhelming, so here’s a heads-up of some of my top picks that are sure to tantalise your taste buds in sumptuous surroundings whilst receiving outstanding service. Whether you want a classic, elegant afternoon tea, champagne on a terrace or a chic, punk-themed tea you’re bound to find one here. To kick-off afternoon tea week I went to Park Tower – Knightsbridge, Sheraton Grand – Park Lane, Le Meridien – Piccadilly and The W – Leicester Square. At the end of this post I will give you a discount code which you can use at any of the afternoon teas I tried and also have the chance to win afternoon tea with me at one of my featured hotels!
Park Tower – Knightsbridge
Next to Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge is the fabulous Park Tower. Don’t be fooled by the unusual, circular design of this building, this is one ‘tres chic’ hotel! Park Tower is an oasis of calm that oozes luxury from the intimate Hyde Bar to the beautifully wood-panelled One-o-One restaurant but today I wasn’t in either of these. Today I was channelling my inner ‘AbFab’ and taking tea in the Knightsbridge Lounge. Using inspiration from nearby Hyde Park, the Knightsbridge Lounge is a tea parlour and champagne bar decorated in subtle hues of silver and duck egg blue reflected in the soft furnishings and pale blossom wall coverings.
I tried the Floral Afternoon Tea with a pot of Assam tea and a glass of Moet and Chandon champagne. The sandwiches you would expect are present along with the more unusual like spring lamb confit with mint, yoghurt and tandoori spice, delicious. For the flaky scones, strawberry jam and apricot & saffron marmalade with Devon clotted cream. My favourite of the pastries was the chocolate pave with pink lilac flower, orange and gold leaf, absolutely fabulous, Edie would have approved I’m sure.
Sheraton Grand – Park Lane
Across from Green Park on Piccadilly sits the majestic Sheraton Grand. An art deco hotel built in the 1920’s the glamour seeps out of the walls. Upon arrival in the newly re-opened Palm Court we were greeted by a harpist. I think live music in the background definitely adds to the ambience and today’s afternoon tea was inspired by the movie 101 Dalmatians which incidentally is set in the park across the road and celebrates it’s 55th anniversary. On a side note Sheraton Grand don’t only love Dalmatians they love all dogs and have dog-friendly packages and rooms so your pooch can come and be pampered too.
Pongo and Perdy are well represented here with beautifully crafted cakes and pastries. Blueberry cake & violet cream for Pongo’s dog bowl and Perdy’s paw from lemon mousse & Oreo cookies not to mention Cruella de Vil and her spotty chocolate sponge with raspberry jelly. Not only were they a treat for the eyes they tasted pretty amazing too. The savoury element had the prerequisite egg mayonnaise and a delicious smoked trout with English mustard, my favourite. I wasn’t sure about the macaron with salmon and crème fraiche though, not my cup of tea. What was definitely my cuppa was a rather excellent Mighty Assam tea, strong yet delicate it was a refreshing drink to accompany my Dalmatian delicacies.
Le Meridien – Piccadilly
Overlooking Piccadilly is a real hidden gem, the Terrace Restaurant at Le Meridien. Making use of one of the upper floors the Terrace Restaurant boasts an amazing glass atrium with outdoor terrace. With the huge windows allowing natural light to pour in not only from the floor-to-ceiling windows but obviously the roof too it is quite stunning. If the weather is good there is also an outdoor terrace which is lovely in the sunshine. I could easily bask here far above the madding crowd, enjoying a few glasses of champagne. On the occasion I visited the Terrace was set up to reflect the French Riviera with striped deck chairs and umbrellas to transport a little piece of France to London.
With a glass of Laurent Perrier in my hand it was time to dive into another afternoon tea. There is a selection of afternoon tea packages to choose from. The one I tried is called the Summer Soiree and represents London with a French twist. Standout pastries were the Raspberry and Vanilla Opera Joconde (made with layers of pistachio sponge) and the Chocolate Caramel Dome. In a twist on a traditional egg mayo sandwich the Le Meridien’s are made with duck egg and mustard seeds, rich and delicious especially when it comes on Mediterranean bread. You wont find coronation chicken here either, instead it’s chicken supreme in a béchamel and chasseur sauce. The sandwiches here were definitely the more inventive and I thoroughly enjoyed them all.
W Hotel – Leicester Square
You can’t miss the W Hotel off Leicester Square, there’s an enormous neon ‘W’ out front on the street. When you come out of the lift and into the restaurant and bar area you are greeted with a chic and uber-sophisticated airy space which has been on many ‘Top 10 Bars in London’ lists. The ‘W Lounge’ as it’s called has comfy couches, large windows and a stunning plate wall. I cant help but feeling that not only am I in a trendy, contempary place but by being here I just might be a bit trendy too.
Afternoon tea here isn’t your traditional cup of tea by any means either, its AnarchTea! In a nod to the punk rock era everything on your tea stand is a representation of the punk music and bands of the 80’s and the styles that were a phenomenon esp around Leicester Square and nearby Soho way back when. Served up on records (remember them?) instead of plates these pastries are most assuredly works of art. I take my hat of to Chef Rachel Newman, no ‘killjoys’ here (it’s a punk thing). A red, white & blue Battenberg for The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen, Shut-Up by The Stranglers is a pair of red strawberry mousse lips with a sliver zip, you get the idea. For something out of the ordinary this gets my top vote. And if you’re not too full after your afternoon tea take yourself through to the bar and nab one of the mahoosive leather banquettes for a fab cocktail!
So now you know where some of the best afternoon teas are available you’ll remember I promised you a discount code to try one of them for yourself! To redeem the 15% reader discount offer, guests must book in advance directly with the hotel referencing ‘tea-athon’ upon booking. Offer expires Friday 30th September and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
COMPETITION TIME –
For your chance to win afternoon tea with me let me know in the comments section below which of the featured hotel teas you would like to try and one winner will be drawn at random to come join me for a special afternoon!
The Park Tower Knightsbridge
• Address: 101 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RN
• Price: From £37 per person.
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
• Address: Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BX
• Price: From £37 per person.
Le Meridien Piccadilly
• Address: 21 Piccadilly, London, W1J 0B
• Price: From £34 per person.
W London – Leicester Square
• Address: 10 Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF
• Price: From £30 per person.
For more info on the teas click here.