New? Whilst The Landmark London is one of London’s iconic hotels, having opened at the end of the 19th century, the Christmas afternoon tea has only just launched and is available throughout December replacing their traditional afternoon tea.
Where? 222 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 6JQ, www.landmarklondon.co.uk
On the Menu: Despite being called a Christmas afternoon tea, there aren’t any of the usual Christmas foods on the menu. You would have thought that they might have included some turkey somewhere, added in some stilton, made use of a pig in blanket, topped something with mincemeat or at least shape the cake into a Christmas tree. Besides the Christmas blend tea and a little chocolate sign saying Merry Christmas on the macaron there wasn’t anything Christmassy. That said the menu does include Valrhona chocolate, lavender and apple choux; Lapsong Souchong smoked salmon sandwiches and Coronation chicken on walnut bread which is just as decadent.
First Impressions: As you’d expect it was busy, but not chaotic, a harpist was playing Christmas carols and the waitresses were busy topping up sandwiches, pouring tea and bringing out rounds of scones – as you can imagine service was impeccable.
The Look: From the outside, you wouldn’t know that The Landmark London was home to the Winter Garden. Entering The Landmark London and walking through the maze like corridors you still wouldn’t know that it was there, but then you turn the corner and there it is: the Winter Garden, probably one of the most recognisable rooms in London. A vast cream room flanked by eight storeys of balconies and bedrooms, capped with a stunning glass roof atrium. A double spiral staircase now snakes round to a towering, glittering Christmas tree and palm trees punctuate the restaurant which is dotted with gold and red.
What We Ate: Sandwiches were kept classic, cucumber, egg mayonnaise, Coronation chicken and smoked salmon and were done particularly well. The salmon was smoked with Lapsang Souchong to give it a slightly smokier taste and the different use of breads such as walnut and onion gave the sandwiches a more contemporary twist. Scones were wonderfully light and served with a hefty dollop of clotted cream, something which can never be frowned on. You can choose two jams from: strawberry, blackcurrant, Bergeron apricot, cherry and gooseberry and elderflower. We went for strawberry and blackcurrant – sweet and just the right amount of tart respectively.
A crisp lavender and apple choux was coated with Valrhona chocolate and gave way to a chocolate cream centre. The salted caramel yule log (which didn’t really resemble a yule log) was balanced with a sweet pear filling and a hazelnut macaron had a delicious layer of mandarin jam. It was however the white chocolate sphere that stood out. A crisp shell filled with a white chocolate cream, which was somewhere between a ganache and a crème brûlée, and in the centre a pistachio and sponge filled with cranberry. If you overdone it on the scones and sandwiches, just find the room somewhere to try this, because it’s excellent.
As an afternoon tea it was wonderful, as a specific Christmas afternoon tea I’m not so sure.
What We Drank: We started with a glass of Champagne De Castelnau Brut Reserve, before moving on to their Christmas tea blend. Spiced with apple and orange, it had that Christmas warmth but wasn’t too fragrant so as to overpower the food.
Go With: If you’ve got friends or family coming to visit you before Christmas then this is ideal. You can tick off afternoon tea, an iconic London hotel and feeling festive – three in one. Perfect.
Final Word: On Thursday afternoons throughout December they will be adding that extra Christmas touch with carols being sung, we visited on a Sunday afternoon and whilst there weren’t carols there was a harpist performing Christmas songs.
Like This? Try These: Check out our guide to the best Christmas afternoon teas in London.