This historic Mayfair hotel has built a reputation as a great place for afternoon tea – and with good reason. Everything is done to a high standard, making it a consistently excellent all-rounder, yet it manages to remain relaxed and unstuffy.
Guests are seated in one of three adjoining wood-panelled front rooms, all of which are comfortable and softly furnished – one even comes with a piano player tinkling the ivories.
For the afternoon tea, diners can choose from either a traditional or a ‘tea-tox’ versions – and we were impressed by both. The first is a ‘proper’ tea: pillow-soft finger sandwiches amply filled with the likes of smoked salmon, coronation chicken or cheese and pickle; just-baked scones with lashings of clotted cream, and dainty cakes. Only an overly thin sweet strawberry jam disappointed.
The ‘tea-tox’ is a lighter option, offering Scandinavian-style open sandwiches on wholesome breads (rye, spelt) or filled salad leaves (delicate smoked mackerel and a poached quail’s egg in a chicory leaf), ahead of excellent ‘alternative’ puddings: an intensely cocoa-rich no-flour chocolate cake, say.
There are tea sommeliers to help inform your choice of brew, and though the final bill will be high, staff proffer complimentary refills of all your plates throughout each sitting – these keep coming until you tell them to stop.
Note: there are three afternoon tea sittings a day (each for around 90 minutes); booking at least two weeks ahead is recommended.