What: Limited-edition Jazz Afternoon Tea at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane.
New? The music-themed afternoon tea launched on 30th April, which coincided with International Jazz Day, and will be available until 30th July 2017.
Where? Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Mayfair, W1J 7BX www.sheratonparklane.com
On the Menu: Sandwiches and scones are served alongside four specially created cakes; a chocolate tart with basil lime ganache topped with an edible saxophone; a Sable Breton with a light honey mousse; blackberry gêlée with a delicate chocolate sheet of music on top; a coconut dacquoise with piña colada crème and tropical compote, and finally a red velvet cake with orange butter.
First Impressions: The tea is served in the hotel’s Palm Court, where efficient staff explain the menu as we settle into the comfortable burnt orange sofas. Keeping with the theme of the tea and drawing inspiration from the golden era of jazz, when the hotel first opened, there were live musical performances throughout the afternoon which greeted us as soon as we walked in.
The Look: The recently renovated Palm Court is one of the best examples of original Art Deco design and architecture in London today and so a suitably stunning location for afternoon tea. Sir Richard Bracewell Smith, whom built the Park Lane hotel in the 1920s, oversaw the placement of the ground-breaking internal steel structure, nicknamed ‘the birdcage’, and as a slightly playful touch and nod to that, the tea is served in a birdcage type stand. Crystal lights dangle from the ceiling and gold-clad mirrors add to the elegance and whilst it’s been brought bang up to date, the original features could almost transport you back in time.
What We Ate: The sandwiches were inventive and although the classic egg mayonnaise didn’t feature, the rest were more adventurous – such as the grilled courgette and artichoke, and beetroot bread. As well as clotted cream and berry jam (which bordered on being too tart to my taste) the scones were accompanied by the most divine passionfruit curd and apricot conserve which made for a welcome change. The coconut dacquoise with piña colada crème tastes exactly like a piña colada without being too alcoholic (have a glass of Champagne instead), while the chocolate tart will indulge any chocolate lover’s cravings. The orange cream with the red velvet cake was a little too subtle and lacked a definitive zing of citrus, but the Sable Breton was delicious. The points here really go to the presentation though – even if you’re not a grade 8 musician you’ll appreciate the chocolate score and mini saxophone that garnish the pastries. Afternoon tea is always photogenic but this was especially so.
What We Drank: There are 27 teas to choose from which is a nod to the year 1927 when the Palm Court started serving afternoon tea. We went for the Superfluity which, as the name suggests, has a light, fruity taste and a wonderful, deep purple colour. Champagne can also be added if you’re in the mood for a little alcohol and the piña colada crème doesn’t quite meet the mark.
Go With: Fans of jazz will love the live music and incorporation into the food but any afternoon tea fan will appreciate the small touches that make this stand out from the rest.
Final Word: From the glamorous setting to the inventive sandwiches, the whole afternoon tea was excellent. This is definitely one to try, musical competence not required.
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane: Mayfair, W1J 7BX