Is there anything better than an afternoon tea? Elegant tableware, silver pots full of steaming tea, scones piled high with jam and smooth clotted cream, little cakes with delicate flavours. Its defiantly one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon.
Last weekend I went for Afternoon Tea at The Landmark hotel, London, and loved it so much I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures with you! I was up in London with my Mum and friend Chantal. We’d been to the National Wedding Show, and decided to treat ourselves afterwards.
Part of the charm of The Landmark’s afternoon tea is its location. Served in the beautiful winter garden, just sitting there makes you feel special. Come in through the grand entrance. A uniformed doorman in smart tails welcomes you in. The heavy wooden doors are swung open, and the classic understated opulence strikes you. That wonderful, deep, heady hotel smell, feet sinking into deep plush carpets. Walking through the lobby, the room opens out into the winter garden. A beautiful glass roofed atrium looks up onto blue skies above. Potted palms soar up towards the ceiling. The room is decorated elegantly, and the sound of a grand piano fills the air.
Studying the menu, it was a tough decision between the chocolate afternoon tea, and the classic afternoon tea. After a little debate (questioning whether we’d be able to eat that much chocolate, considering the merits of chocolate chip scones vs traditional) we opted for the traditional tea. Pondering the lengthy tea menu, we each choose something different. Earl Grey for Mum, Midsummer Mango for Chantal, Jasmine for me. Half way through the tea Chantal switched teas to the fantastically named Iron Goddess of Mercy, an Oolong Tea. You can have your tea refreshed and changed as many times are you like throughout your tea.
We began with a glass of champagne (well, we were celebrating!), quickly followed by our first round of sandwiches.
On elegant gold rimmed plate we were served this beautiful selection of sandwiches. Each one well stuffed with their fillings on soft tasty bread.
All the sandwiches were beautifully fresh, none of them with even a hint of that dreaded afternoon tea dry curled edges. Its hard to select my favourite, but I think the corn fed chicken with tarragon crème fraîche on a lovely nutty bread might just have been mine. I really liked the egg and mustard cress too. Chantal really enjoyed the classic cucumber, and I think my Mum was a particular fan of the Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon with its thick cuts of smoked salmon. Just thinking back to them makes me want to eat sandwiches!
The waiters and waitresses regularly brought around trays of all the sandwiches, allowing you to pick and choose which sandwiches you’d like more of. I could have carried on with more and more of the delicious sandwiches, but I thought it was best to save a little room of the scones and cakes!
Next we were brought a tray of scones, always the judge of a good afternoon tea! The scones were quite small, but they were lovely and tender.They were served with strawberry jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. The lemon curd was a nice touch, but personally I preferred the traditional jam and lashings of clotted cream; the lemon curd just didn’t quite seem to add enough moisture to the scones.
Next we were brought out the plates of delicious little cakes. They were absolutely beautiful to look at, each one delicate with wonderful attention to detail.
This was my favourite little cake. Described in the menu as white chocolate and pomegranate mousse, it was deliciously smooth and creamy. The orb on the top melted in the mouth, a little like a particularly fancy lindor ball. It was perfectly sweet, not at all sickly. The little curl of dark chocolate gave a bitterness that perfectly off set the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly.
This macaroon creation was gorgeous, but surprisingly filling and heavy going. The big one on the bottom was hazelnut, filled with a smooth ganache. It was delicious, but a lot to cope with after all the scones and sandwiches! I loved it, but maybe its one to be eaten on its own rather than in a big tea.
This adorable little coffee cup of a cake is a Cappuccino Bavarois. Its smooth, with notes of coffee and chocolate. The centre is filled with a set custard, which I enjoyed, but Chantal found a bit claggy and unpleasant.
Finally this Pistachio and chocolate Opera gâteau was my second favourite out of the offerings. Again it was deliciously light, and that oh so pretty sheet of white chocolate was the perfect finishing touch. We started debating the use of chocolate transfers, and decided we really needed to learn more chocolate work skills.
Just one more shot of those beautiful cakes, you know you want another look….
Just as we were finishing off our cakes, the waiters brought me out this lovely surprise. As we sat down Chantal told them we were celebrating my engagement. I didn’t think any more about it, and then I was presented with this gorgeous plate. The cake is a fruity, spongey strawberry gâteau, delicious in its own right, but it was the gesture itself that made the most impression on me. Its these little touches that make a visit to somewhere like The Landmark really special.