What? To celebrate Christmas and that joy everyone feels when you hear the sound of a cork being popped, Palm Court at The Langham has joined up with Perrier-Jouët has created an afternoon tea that pairs each course with a different glass of Champagne.
New? Yes, the tea launched at the end of November and will be running until the 1st January 2018, so you’ll need to book quickly. Book it as a way to relax after what will most likely be an experience close to hell – Christmas shopping on Oxford Street, or do as we did and skip the shopping completely and get away from the crowds pronto. If you’re in London over Christmas then it would be the ideal way to spend an afternoon in those timeless days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
Where? Palm Court, The Langham, 1C Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B 1JA, www.palm-court.co.uk
On the Menu: The festive afternoon tea menu sticks to the classic format of sandwiches, scones then cake and pastries, but there is also the option to go for the high tea which adds on an extra ‘main course’ such as a slice of pigs in blankets sausage roll. Although having seen the main courses they aren’t that main so don’t be put off by thinking it might be too much food.
The Look: The tea is served in the sumptuous Palm Court, with its pink-grey walls, velvet dusky green chairs and mirrors which let the warm lights dance around the room. Especially for the Perrier-Jouët tea there is a Perrier-Jouët Christmas tree and a unique Perrier-Jouët centrepiece, Eclats de Bulles which represents the moment a Champagne bottle is opened.
What We Ate: To start were of course sandwiches, I’d worry if there was any other way. Classics were given twist, so rather than a smoked salmon sandwich, there was rolled smoked salmon filled with horseradish cream and decorated with Lilliput capers. There was a squishy brioche bun stuffed with gloriously golden duck egg and black truffle mayonnaise and the cucumber and creamed cheese was given a hit with chives. The Christmas sandwiches come in the form of smoked turkey, marjoram stuffing and watercress sat between slices of sweet cranberry bread and a particularly strong Farmhouse stilton with red onion and port relish, served between walnut bread. It’s an acquired taste, dividing us at the table, but if you like your cheese strong, and I sure do then you’ll love this.
Scones were warm, with just the right amount of crumb and the buttery flavour was highlighted by the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rose that accompanied it.
Rather than take the classic Christmas cakes and pastries: the gingerbread men, yule logs and mince pies, this tea has created pastries shaped as classic Christmas decorations but without necessarily the flavours. There’s a rather good pistachio choux wreath decorated with cranberry jelly and a chocolate candle filled with chestnut cream, blackcurrant and spice, it has a rather decadent chocolate candle holder and despite being a self-proclaimed eating machine when it comes to chocolate, even if I couldn’t finish it.
The sweetest little Christmas pudding complete with teeny tiny holly leaves is filled with cinnamon cream and representing the gold, frankincense and myrrh is caramelised puff pastry with piped salted caramel and vanilla. A Father Christmas hat looks rich but is in fact a wonderfully light sponge with passion fruit and coconut. The pastries were just the right size so that you could eat it all without feeling like a human sized version of the Christmas pudding and are the most imaginative Christmas pastries I’ve seen so far.
What We Drank: Champagne and plenty of it! Each course is matched with a different glass of Perrier-Jouët. When we arrived, we started with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Brut NV before moving on to the Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs NV. An 100% Chardonnay Champagne, the fresh citrus natured works perfectly with the smoked salmon and cuts through the farmhouse stilton. With the scones was a pale-pink Perrier-Jouët Blason Rose and we finished with a Belle Epoque Cuvée, which has been aged for six years in the bottle. And at the end of all of that we felt very festive indeed.
Go With: Given the number of times the pianist played Happy Birthday, this is clearly a popular birthday destination. If you’re not going for a birthday, take a friend from out of town to this quintessential London hotel.
Final Word: Carols on the piano, Champagne and little cinnamon and chocolate Christmas puddings, this is the perfect festive afternoon. If you don’t think you can manage four glasses of Champagne, then you can of course go for the festive tea, which starts with a glass of Champagne on arrival and then you can follow it up with tea – I recommend the traditional Langham blend.
Like This? Try These: Check out our guide to the best Christmas afternoon teas
Palm Court: The Langham 1C Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B 1JA