Cost – £60.00 (June 2016) This was the Royal High Tea in honour of the Queens 90th birthday.
Background – Wow! This is the big one!! Afternoon Tea at The Langham Hotel on Regents Street, London. Renowned as the first ‘Grand Hotel’ in Europe and famously the place where the tradition of taking Afternoon Tea started 150 years ago.
My wonderful husband surprised me with vouchers for Afternoon Tea at The Langham for my birthday. In fact the vouchers were for High Tea, which is the Afternoon Tea plus a savoury course served between the sandwiches and the scones. Even better!!
Afternoon Tea is served in three sessions in the wonderful Palm Court at the centre of the hotel. It is very popular so it needs to booked well in advance. You are given two hours in which to enjoy your tea, which we found was about perfect. We booked the second session, which started in the middle of the afternoon at 3.15.
In fact we had a fabulous weekend in London. We stayed at The Grosvenor Hotel, had an evening open top bus tour around the sights of London and watched the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace. It was wonderful! And to top it all off we had Afternoon Tea at The Langham, plus, on the next day a burger Afternoon Tea just off Oxford Street.
The Langham is right next to the BBC buildings which you can just wonder in to and look down onto the news room that forms the background to all national news bulletins. Another fascinating bonus!
Contents – An ‘amuse bouche’ of mango mousse topped with strawberries in liqueur, 3 finger sandwiches (smoked salmon on beetroot bread, cucumber with cream cheese, roast beef on granary bread), a mini bridge roll filled with Coronation chicken, a small pastry topped with mushrooms. A choice of one of three savoury dishes (we chose asparagus, quails egg and crème fraiche). Three plain scones and three fruit scones between the two of us, a dish of strawberry jam, and a dish of clotted cream. And finally a plate containing five small pastries beautifully crafted to represent the Royal Birthday – A horse drawn carriage made of mango mousse, a crowned Union Jack made of shortbread with a salted caramel filling, a summer flowerpot made of almond cake, a mini birthday cake made from chocolate cake and finally a sapphire strawberry and pistachio macaroon. There was a wide choice of specially blended teas served in a Wedgwood china teapot.
Comments – When we booked our Afternoon Tea we had to choose a two hour slot from three that are available. We chose the middle slot from 3.15 to 5.15. We were seated in the Palm Court, which was a lovely room decorated in an Art Deco style. We were allocated a table for four, set for two, with nice comfortable armchairs to sit on. There was a pianist playing during the session.
We were first asked to choose our tea from a huge list of teas. We chose to have English Breakfast tea as usual! The waiter then brought out the tea in the Langham’s special Wedgwood china teapot. The teapot contained enough tea for two cups of tea each and was refilled regularly.
The ‘amuse bouche’ arrived first. A glass containing a mousse topped with strawberries marinated in a liqueur. It was really fruity and tasty and the strawberries had a really good flavour. I have to admit that I forgot to take a photo of the mousse at first so the picture below is of what was left when I realised!!
The sandwiches were served on matching china plates. Each plate contained three sandwiches, a roll and a diamond shaped pastry which was placed on top of the sandwiches. The sandwiches were quite large, well filled and definitely delicious. We asked for our beef sandwiches to be served without horse radish and this was accommodated without problem. The Coronation chicken roll was particularly tasty, as was the small mushroom pastry. Refills were offered for all of these savouries on several occasions.
The second savoury course was offered once we had had enough sandwiches. This was another plate containing two pieces of asparagus topped with a soft poached quails egg topped with a crispy sort of mini nest. It was absolutely delicious.
The scones appeared next wrapped in a linen napkin. There were three of each of both plain and fruit scones between the two of us. We were also given a dish of strawberry jam and one of clotted cream. We realised there would be far too little cream for the two of us so we asked for a second dish, which we received. The scones were not huge and were warm, fresh and very tasty. The jam was good and the two pots of cream made the perfect amount!
The cakes were an absolute delight! They were only small but were visually stunning and absolutely delicious. As I have already mentioned, this tea was designed in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday, and all of the cakes represented something connected to the Queen. They are listed in the description above. We were each given a plate containing one of each of the cakes (see photo). It seemed such a shame to eat them! However, they proved to be really delicious, with my favourite being the shortbread flag and the mousse carriage.
We never noticed if the tea was leaves or bags. We were not given a strainer but I would be quite surprised if it had not been loose leaf tea. We were brought regular refills of tea and it was always of just the right strength. There was a wide choice of different tea blends to choose from.
Service was attentive but not intrusive. Refills of both food and tea were offered regularly and there was an option to take home any food that had not been eaten. Needless to say, we didn’t take advantage of this option! A pianist played throughout the afternoon, with a short break, which made for a very pleasant atmosphere. An absolutely wonderful experience!