Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason

Restaurants, British St James'
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
11 Love It
Save it
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Formerly the St James's Restaurant, this tea room was re-launched in its current guise in April 2012.

Posted:

Venue name: Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Contact:
Address: St James's Restaurant
Fortnum & Mason
London
W1J 9FA
Cross street: Fourth floor
Transport: Tube: Green Park tube
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|7
1 person listening
Alexandra L
Tastemaker

Afternoon tea is a long-standing love of mine. A sincere, proper, uncomplicated, unadulterated love and when it’s done right, I honestly believe there are few experiences nicer to share with someone you love. Heck, for the sake of a good scone weighed down under a luscious cushion of clotted cream, sometimes even someone you just think is ok will do.

Fortnum & Mason does so many things well; service like nowhere else in the capital, products tailor made for the wide-eye tourist throngs that flock to it still in reassuringly vast numbers and a minty green décor that’s as timeless and elegant as some of the surrounding buildings on London’s Piccadilly. On Mother’s Day, as you would expect, it was heaving but in the quietest, calmest, most relaxed and in control way it’s possible to be. Ushered to a table in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon that fit our party of 6 comfortably with room for frankly, another 6 of our closest friends, the tone was set for the loveliest of afternoons.Plump, blush pink ranunculus poked their beaming petalled heads out of glass vases, antique silverware gleamed and white linen was pressed to within an inch of its life. One of the nicest things about tea here is that even though the room itself has enough space for another dozen tables, they don’t fill it. Everyone has their own space in which to relax without fear of disturbing your neighbours or being disturbed yourself.

There are several options for the food itself, all of which can be chosen on the day so no last-minute panic of wishing you’d gone for a different option. A savoury, a high and a Gluten Free version are all on offer although I must confess, the ‘standard’ will take some beating. Savoury finger sandwiches include a Coronation chicken I wanted to bag a bucket of from the kitchen and you can have as many refills as you want of both these and the cakes. Scones were like little drops of soft warm heaven, especially when smothered with properly yellow clotted cream, velvety lemon curd and sweet berry jam. Cakes come in various shapes and sizes; a baby rose eclair is tooth achingly delicious, a tiny apple crumble tart makes you long for the full-size version and a red velvet cube is gorgeously glossy and squidgy.

I give you now a word of warning; as well as the tea stands of cakes that appear before you, there is also a cake trolley from which you can choose a slab of something fluffy, frosted and fabulous. A raspberry coconut cake came wrapped in three layers of baby pink icing an inch thick, a chocolate tart was richer than Mark Zuckerberg and for the traditionalists among you, the stalwart of British teatime, Battenberg cake was also on offer.

Staff here are simply wonderful; our waiter was funny, charming and attentive. Never obsequious or overbearing, he appeared as if by magic at exactly the right time and disappeared quietly once his work of depositing baked goods, glasses of champagne and steaming teapots was done. Incidentally the choice of teas is incredible and ranges from your most dependable black to zesty greens and floral whites; coffees and freshly squeezed lemonade is also an option for the tea free drinkers. There are dozens of afternoon tea options in our gorgeous capital city, but I'd wager you one a slice of Battenberg that Fortnum's provides one of the very best.

Jane G.
Tastemaker

Claridges tea will always rein supreme for me, but having been to the Ritz and now here, I have to place this tea right next to, if not slightly above tea at the Ritz. Lots of choice, excellent food, both savoury and sweet. Amazing tea! Treated like royalty!

LeeLee
tastemaker

Having my mum in town called for a special treat. Prior to her arrival, we planned to have afternoon tea at some point during her visit, as she hadn’t had one in quite some time. We were recommended the one at Fortnum & Mason by my third aunt and my brother, who went last summer.


After browsing through their menu online, I realised that they not only offered the classic afternoon tea set but a savoury one too! This got me very excited because I am not a fan of the classic afternoon tea set – the top tier of sweets and cakes normally consists of items that I do not like and with the recent discovery that I am lactose and soy intolerant, it seemed pointless to have it. The savoury version of the afternoon tea comes with a top tier that consists of savoury snacks and still comes with a choice of cakes from the cake cart for the final course.


In my opinion, the highlights of the savoury afternoon tea were the following.


From Tier 1:


Coronation chicken – this was pretty well done in my opinion; I could taste the spices in the marinade and crunchiness from the pieces of nuts.


From Tier 2:


Cheese scone – it was obvious which of the two scones was cheese flavoured, as it had a crust of melted and crispy cheese on the top; this was accompanied by a fish spread that tasted delicious! Both my mum and I loved it, but my mum is not a fan of scones in general so this was her least favourite tier.


From Tier 3:


Mushroom puff pastry with truffle – I do not like truffle oil because I find it smells like gasoline but there was just a hint of it in this pastry, which made it rather nice actually. However, there was far too much cream cheese between the two pieces of puff pastry – I had to scrape most of it out in order to enjoy it. But in terms of flavour, this was my favourite!


From the cake trolley:


Carrot cake– this was absolutely amazing! I am a huge fan of carrot cake because I like the combination of citrus fruit and vegetable in the cake and because this is pretty complex to make at home myself (even though I am an avid baker!). Usually, there is a lot of cream cheese frosting in between the tiers of a carrot cake but this one was superb – the frosting was kept to a minimal so that you could really taste the cake and the nuts in it. It also wasn’t too sweet, so it was actually quite alright to have half a slice (which I did!)


Dark chocolate ganache cake– this was definitely my favourite. It was a really dense and rich dark chocolate cake. I loved that the top part of the cake was still gooey while the bottom half was more well done and crisp on the edges. It had the perfect combination of textures and as a dark chocolate lover, this was heavenly!


Overall, I enjoyed the experience of having afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason – a classic tourist activity to do. I can now tick that off my life, even though I actually live here! The service was great from beginning to end. We were greeted nicely by the receptionists outside and seated at a lovely table on the right-hand side of the tea salon.


In terms of the atmosphere, it’s a grand place. The tables are positioned at an appropriate length away from each other, so that you can still have some privacy while having your meal but not feel too isolated either. My mum was a fan of their colour scheme – the pale turquoise colour that is signature to the Fortnum & Mason brand as well as Tiffany & Co..


I’d definitely recommend making a reservation if you intend on having afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, as it can get crowded on weekends and during tourist season. You can do it very easily online, so if you’re coming from overseas you can always do it before you arrive. Do take note that each sitting is limited to 2 hours though, I was informed when I made a reservation online but they didn’t remind us during our afternoon tea.

Gemma H
tastemaker

What a treat. My mother and I managed to squeeze in a spot of afternoon tea on one of our jaunts around London. I think my mum secretly wanted to go to The Ritz, but I'd already been so wanted to try something different and I'm rather glad we did.


The experience was deliciously delightful. The front of house staff were very welcoming, the pianist was having a great time and the waiters were eager to please.


The menu boasted three main options with either a regular Afternoon Tea, a Savoury Afternoon Tea or High Tea, we opted for the savoury version with an added glass of champagne. Naturally. Savoury Afternoon Tea comprises of five different finger sandwiches, two types of scone, a selection of afternoon tea savouries and afternoon tea cake. 


Now the secret to Fortnum and Mason's afternoon tea is they do unlimited refills on finger sandwiches and scones! I've been informed thats a rare occurrence for such an establishment. But be warned, while we had a second round of sandwiches we soon regretted it half way through our scones. Scones are filling!! I forgot just how filling they can be. We struggled to finish the melt in your mouth brownie and oh so tasty banana bread which were our final choices from the cake carriage.


A great afternoon out in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Emilie S

My mother and I had a lovely experience at Fortnum & Mason. The staff were polite and attentive, there was more than enough food (which was delicious and of very good quality), they cater for special diets too such as vegetarian. I would highly recommend, it was a wonderful dining experience.

Anthony F

I had fabulous service from the staff in the Tea Salon. Not too overbearing but helpful when we queried the menu. A great experience overall, typically delicious Fortnum and Mason fare and not nearly as expensive as some other high tea experiences in central London. 

Lee

Went there today for lunch, awful service but a decent quality of food. Fortnum's needs to focus on seriously improving its service as staff are inattentive and at times just rude.