Parents visiting is always the perfect excuse to enjoy everything that is quintessentially British. With that in mind, a traditional afternoon tea experience was top of the list to book while my parents were on holiday from New Zealand.
I decided to book us in at one of London’s iconic hotels on the banks of the Thames, The Savoy. It’s very elegant with a charming, old school glamour – inside the furnishings, artwork and details are impeccable.
Arriving and admiring the décor, we were drawn to the in-house tea store, Savoy Tea. Glass cases displayed all the handmade patisserie treats we were about to be served. We watched as a couple of chefs carefully cut chocolate sheets into strips and added gold flecks. It looked like a lot of patience was required.
Afternoon tea at The Savoy is served in The Thames Foyer – a beautiful atrium setting containing an intricate gazebo beneath a large, detailed glass dome. Seated in one of the comfortable couch settings, we were given our menus and ordered our afternoon tea choice and accompanying tea.
We opted for the traditional afternoon tea with champagne for £59 per person at the time of writing:
A selection of finger sandwiches
Lemongrass chicken salad
Smoked and packed salmon with dill mustard
Wiltshire bone ham with honey mustard
Egg salad with chives and tobiko
Cucumber and tomato with basil cream
Freshly baked raisin and plain scones
Cornish clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and
Delicate Afternoon Tea pastries
Strawberry and pistachio tartlet
Rum baba with Chantilly and mango
Bittersweet chocolate and yuzu gateau
Royal wedding cake
Mint and raspberry macaroon
Salted caramel and apple religieuse
Thames Foyer signature cakes
Traditional Dundee cake
Pistachio and raspberry galette
The price also includes your choice of Savoy tea. Without champagne, the above afternoon tea is £47.50 per person.
Mike and I enjoying our champagne and comfortable armchair seating.
Fear not those reading this, top ups of the food is included in the price – you definitely do not leave hungry. The staff were very attentive and made sure the boys were served more sandwiches when the plate was low on supply. The lemongrass chicken salad was the flavour winner for me in the savory department.
My beautiful Mum looking elegant with her dainty teacup.
Converted to the Devon style when it comes to scones… Delicious clotted cream first with jam on top. Mmmmm…
When we couldn’t fit in anymore sandwiches, or scones, the delicate afternoon tea pastries were brought around on trays by the waiters. They were like little pieces of art and almost looked too good to eat. Already nearing being full and wanting to try each pastry – especially the Royal wedding cake, we got one of each and shared them between the four of us.
The salted caramel and apple religieuse was delicious. Intricately tiered and balancing on the plate, topped with a fleck of gold, I was impressed with it’s level of detail for such a small pastry. While I was told off as a youngster for playing with my food, this chef has clearly made an art form out of his love for food.
Round three… very nearly in a sugar coma by this stage, we couldn’t turn down trying the signature cakes when they came around. After all, trying everything is always part of the fun.
I managed to squeeze in a little of the Pistachio and raspberry galette.
Mum and I looking lady-like, enjoying the afternoon tea experience.
The staff were all very helpful and one particular staff member went above and beyond which truly made the overall experience enjoyable and exceeded our expectation. A traditional afternoon tea at one of the city’s many icons is certainly a must when in London.
If you have an afternoon tea in mind for visitors, or a special occasion, most of the popular and classic establishments in London are booked out months ahead. I thought booking three months in advance was pretty organised and in plenty of time, but even that was difficult getting into somewhere we wanted on the particular date that suited. One business was booked out for four months during the week and the weekends were booked out until September – it was only April, so make sure to book ahead.