There are some things you just can’t guarantee in London – will the District Line be working? Will I have to queue for three hours to get into a pop-up, will it rain? But what is certain is that London, Londoners and its visitors will always love afternoon tea. So Hotel Café Royal are celebrating this with their London Royal Afternoon Tea (remember we told you about it here) and not one to say no to tea on a Sunday afternoon we headed over to try it.
Before we get to the tea we need to take a moment to talk about the Oscar Wilde Bar, one of London’s most iconic rooms. Having been established in 1865 the room has seen the likes of the Beatles, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor and of course Oscar Wilde all pass through. It’s been restored to its authentic Louis XVI detailing and if there is one word to describe it, it would be grand. But as we aren’t just limited to one word, then we can add elegant, ornate and sumptuous. A golden room, with mirrors adorning the walls, raspberry coloured sofas and chairs and beautifully painted ceilings. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from when you step into the Oscar Wilde Bar you’re always a little bit in awe.
After a brief introduction into the history of afternoon tea, things start a low sidecar muffin topped with goat’s cheese and tomato and a little pipette to squirt in tomato juice, we quickly ordered another. A classic cucumber sandwich was brought up to date with beetroot bread and we couldn’t get enough of the parmesan cracker topped with smoked ‘wilde’ salmon and quail’s eggs or the prawn brigade roll was topped with spices and London honey A smoked wild boar roll came with pickled apple, English mustard and crackling and there was a slice of beef wellington too.
After scones and clotted cream, lemon curd and jam the cakes were brought out, which is where you see the real London theme. Macaroons are stamped with the underground symbol and filled with cherry jam, there is a mini Victoria sponge and a delicious, creamy raspberry regent and Pearly King and Queen inspired opera cake. A purple and green Battenberg gives a nod to the 1884 royal wedding between Prince Louis of Battenberg and Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. A chocolate ganache lollipop, ‘the spitfire’ was dusted in glitter and finished with a rice paper poster of the union jack with the now legendary words ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’. It could have gone overboard on the theme, but it didn’t it was more subtle, rather like the British.
If you’re in London then going for afternoon tea should be on your list regardless and for a truly British experience we say Hotel Café Royal should be at the top.