The Handbook
The Handbook

Don’t get us wrong, we love a quirky new afternoon tea! But when the email from this or that hotel arrives heralding their latest tea, themed on Fire Extinguishers or Oversized Sports Direct Mugs (okay, you got me, I’m literally looking at items around me in the office, but that’s how random they sometimes are, like seriously), sometimes we just yearn for a simple, old fashioned afternoon tea. Then The Corinthia got in touch. Finally, no cakes shaped after Disney characters, no hackneyed links to tenuous events or celebrations, no corporate tie-ins, just a plain and simple traditional afternoon tea.

Launching in the hotel’s Crystal Moon Lounge, the very peak of elegance, this is a refined tea belonging to a bygone era. With a Steinway piano being gently tinkled in the corner, the Champagne comes round on an antique trolley pushed by smartly dressed, obsequiously well mannered, waiters. Sip tea from hand-painted bone china, specially commissioned from Richard Brendon or quaff (I think that’s the word) Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne from Baccarat Mille Nuits Champagne flutes that echo the crystal chandelier setting the majestic tone up above.

Let the tea sommelier (I checked, it’s a thing, I’m now considering a career change), Ondrej Herda, guide you through an extensive range of fine teas, weighed, infused and prepared at the specially appointed tea station before being brewed to perfection. Daintily nibble on sandwiches including egg mayonnaise, truffle and watercress on spinach bread or roast beef, caramelised onion and wholegrain mustard. Don’t worry, there’s scones with clotted cream and jam waiting too and another trolley about to be wheeled round, this one serving handmade pastries and cakes created by Head Pasty Chef Lois Carbonnet.

This is exactly the sort of tea you would take your mother to, where you’d want to celebrate your engagement or work promotion; not a gimicky tea timed for the release of the latest Mission Impossible film. Please can we have more of these? In the meantime, head to The Corinthia.

The Corinthia: the new afternoon tea has launched and is available daily, Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD,