What? The 1920s, a time of frivolity post-war, a time when England was recovering from First World War, a time when the likes of Cecil Beaton and Nancy Mitford were at the centre of London’s raucous party scene. It was also the time that the building that the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square now resides in, was the headquarters for the Port of London Authority. Looking back at its history, the hotel team have now launched an afternoon tea and cocktail menu inspired ‘The Bright Young Things’ (the name given to the It crowd of the day).
New? Relatively, the tea launched at the end of this October.
Where? Another one of the new hotels to open in London this year, it’s at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ, www.fourseasons.com
On the Menu: The classic afternoon tea is given a 1920s twist with pastries in the shape of cigarettes, hat boxes and a rather plump pair of red lips. Scones are also the prettiest we’ve seen in a pale pink rose colour and served in vanity boxes and sandwiches are finished with delicate flowers.
The Look: The afternoon tea is served in the imposing Rotunda lounge, an art deco room sitting beneath a glass dome; a replica of the original which was badly damaged during WW2. The walls of the room give a nod to the building’s heritage, the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority, as a frieze depicts the elements with scenes of waves and clouds and details reminiscent of naval knots fill the room.
What We Ate: The tea starts with sandwiches, not just your usual slabs of bread which are always a little dry, instead, you’ll find a soft, squidgy brioche bun filled with beetroot, hazelnuts and a goat cheese mousse and delicate salmon rillettes filled with lime mayonnaise and sprinkled with balm leaves. Coronation chicken sandwiches are given a pop of colour with pinky, purple allysum flowers and an egg sandwich is given the luxe treatment with the addition of truffle and half a quail’s egg perched on top.
Next up were scones, these weren’t just normal scones though, they were stained pink and served in a vanity box, luckily though they still came with plenty of jam and clotted cream. To finish was quite the assortment of pastries, I do like it when they give you one of each, sometimes sharing isn’t caring, sharing is a pain and I think when you are paying for two afternoon teas, you really should get one of each cake. You won’t have that problem here though.
There’s an excellent lime panna cotta and raspberry jelly which is finished with a lump of sugar doused in absinthe and set alight – I’m sure they liked to be extra in the 20’s too. A rubi grapefruit cheese cake is shaped into a rather plump pair of red lips and a citrus mousse is topped with mango jelly, coconut and ginger dacquoise and shaped as a hat complete with poppy decoration. Unlike the delicate sandwiches the cakes are bold, bright and vibrant, brilliant reds, royal blues and glorious golds.
What We Drank: If you want to up your tea game, which I’m sure you would want to, the 1920’s after all were a time of partying, then you can have your tea served with a glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne or ‘Go Royal’ and have it with a glass of Charles Heidsieck Clos Des Millenaires 1195 brut Champagne.
Go With: A fan of the 1920s, whether they party like Gatsby, channel Downton Abbey (series 3) vibes or have entered into a Lady Chatterley’s Lover-esque affair (although you can keep that to yourself).
Final Word: Sat further away from the London’s main glut of hotels, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square might seem a little far away to go for afternoon tea but it’s worth the journey. We try a lot of afternoon teas at The Handbook (it’s a hard life) but this offering has ranked as one of our recent favourites. Get on that District Line and head on over to Tower Hill.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square: Tower Hill, EC3N 4AJ