Cost – £58.00 (Sept 2019)
Parking and Access – The Ritz Hotel is located on Piccadilly, right next to Green Park, in the centre of London. The best way to reach the hotel is via the Underground system and Green Park Station, which is right opposite the hotel. Alternatives would be using a bus or taxi to reach the hotel. There are several steps up to the entrance, and also steps up into The Palm Court, where Afternoon Tea is served. The nearest toilets were down (or up, for men) two flights of quite narrow stairs. Whilst I imagine there must be alternatives, I did not see any and I could not find any mention on the hotel’s website.
Background – I was given a voucher for Afternoon Tea for two at The Ritz Hotel as a present for my birthday. What a lovely present to receive! Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is one of those things that everyone wants to do. I was certainly looking forwards to this one!
The Ritz Hotel is found in the centre of London on the famous street called Piccadilly. It is a fairly unassuming building from the front, with a nice entrance to the hotel in the side street. Inside it is magnificent with a wide corridor leading from the entrance, all the way through the hotel, past The Palm Court and down to the restaurant at the far end. Everywhere is beautifully decorated and very well looked after.
At the centre of the hotel is The Palm Court where Afternoon Tea is served in five sessions throughout the day. It is hugely popular and is booked up months in advance. It is definitely an experience I would recommend.
Contents – Five rectangular sandwiches (cheese and tomato chutney on tomato bread, cucumber and cream cheese on granary, chicken with tarragon mayonnaise on white bread, smoked salmon with lemon butter on sourdough, ham and mustard on brioche) and a brioche roll (egg mayonnaise). One small medium plain scone, one small medium fruit scone, a dish of strawberry jam and a dish of clotted cream, A raspberry mousse tart, a coconut and passionfruit mousse, a yogurt mousse with peach, and a choice of a slice of either a rum baba or a chocolate mousse cake. A pot of your choice of tea.
Options available – This Afternoon Tea was also available with a glass of champagne.
Comments – The Ritz Hotel Afternoon Tea is hugely popular and the hotel has five sittings for Afternoon Tea every day, starting at 11:30am and continuing, every two hours until 7:30pm! It is necessary to book months in advance, especially if you require a weekend or a specific date. We booked our Tea in around June and the end of September was the first weekend we could get at a reasonable time of day!
There is a strict dress code for Afternoon Tea, with all men being required to wear both a jacket and tie. No jeans or sportswear are allowed.
On arrival, we (and many others) were shown to a cloakroom for our coats and bags, and shown where the toilets were.
We then checked in with a lady at the entrance to The Palm Court, and were shown to our table. We were amongst the first to be seated for our sitting and were given a nice table in the middle of one end of the room. I only noticed one empty table in the room – presumably a ‘no show’.
The Palm Court is a stunning room with a large gold coloured sculpture,
a beautiful ceiling
and large mirrors around the walls.
There was a huge flower display in the centre of the room.
A pianist was playing throughout our Afternoon Tea.
The tables were all round tables with white linen tablecloths on. They were laid with china in the Ritz’s own pattern, a cake fork and knife each,
a champagne flute each, a silver tea strainer each, a silver jug containing milk, a silver sugar container and a menu each.
We were asked whether we wanted champagne, and which tea we would like to drink. There was a choice of eighteen types of tea. We chose the Ritz Royal English blend.
The tea arrived quickly in two large silver teapots, plus a smaller one containing hot water. We were then poured a cup of tea each by the waiter. It was of a good strength and was made with loose tea leaves. Our teapots were replaced with new ones later during our Tea, when the tea was getting a bit strong. Waiters refilled our teacups when ever they had been started, empty or not. I find this an irritation as I prefer to empty my cup before putting more tea in. However, it seems to be the habit in many hotels.
We were then brought an attractive silver metal three tier cake stand with Ritz symbol finials, containing the sandwiches and three little cakes each. Unfortunately, I have somehow managed to not take a photo of the cake stand!!
When we had booked our Afternoon Tea, we had asked for sandwiches without mustard. Bizarrely, this resulted in us receiving a whole plate of sandwiches without anything apart from the main ingredient. For example, no cream cheese, no relish, no mayonnaise, etc.! Also, we were not given a brioche bun with egg mayonnaise at all. We questioned this, pointing out that we just didn’t want mustard in our ham sandwiches but that we did want all the other fillings. The sandwiches were all taken away and we were issued with a new set containing everything apart from mustard.
The sandwiches were all lovely, tasty and were very fresh. However, we were slightly surprised that there were only pretty standard fillings, nothing a bit unusual or different. I imagine this may be, in part, due to the popularity of the Tea. We were brought another plate containing one complete new set of sandwiches when we had finished the first two sets.
The scones were delivered on a separate plate whilst we were eating the sandwiches, along with a plate containing the dishes of jam and cream. They were warm and the fruit scone contained a good amount of fruit. However, they were really quite small and of the smooth, mass produced type rather than the more homemade, rougher type of scone that we prefer.
There was enough clotted cream. However, there wasn’t really enough jam. So, we asked for some more jam. The whole plate was picked up and a new set of both jam and clotted cream dishes arrived. This left us with loads of jam and cream left, so we asked for another fruit scone each!
Whilst we were eating the scones, a cake trolley was wheeled around the room. We were offered a slice of either a rum baba or of chocolate mousses cake. We both chose the chocolate mousse cake. We were each given a very thin slice on a separate plate.
The rest of the cakes were the three each that had arrived with the sandwiches.
The chocolate mousse cake was absolutely delicious. I would have just liked a much bigger slice!!
The yogurt and peach mousse was good, with a nice peach flavour.
The coconut and passionfruit mousse had the passionfruit in the centre of the mousse and was delicious.
The raspberry mousse tart was in a pasty case, which had a layer of sponge in the bottom. This was topped with some raspberry jam and then the mousse. It was really tasty.
Service was obviously top notch. You would expect nothing else at such a famous place. The waiters were all dressed in tail coats with either red or black waistcoats underneath. They looked very nice. Everyone was really helpful and we had no problem replacing the sandwiches once we had explained the situation. They even offered to take photos of us at the table as mementos.