The Handbook
The Handbook

What: It’s safe to say the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has had quite the year, it was meant to be the year they celebrated the end of their major 18-month refurbishment project. However, disaster struck in the form of the fire at the start of June. Six months later the hotel has picked itself back up, dusted itself off and kept going, after all it is the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Set to fully open in Spring 2019, the spa, event spaces and restaurants have now reopened just in time for Christmas. We went to toast the iconic hotel and its journey with a festive afternoon tea at The Rosebery. 

New? Yes, the tea launched at the start of December and will be running until the 6th January 2019.


On the Menu: I tend to spend most of December resembling a pig in blanket, one because it’s so cold in my house (you can see your breath indoors) that I find myself shuffling around in a blanket most of time (although I must state it isn’t an actual blanket of bacon) and two because I eat like a pig, I take the festive feasting seriously. As does The Rosebery, their afternoon tea is filled with the likes of roast and smoked salmon sandwiches with kohlrabi, fennel, sumac and crème fraiche; roast turkey with dried cranberries, orange compote and sage and Portland crab rolls. After scones there are Christmas themed pastries including a praline and passion fruit Opera and a reindeer yule log.

What We Ate: ‘What didn’t we eat?’ is probably a better question and the answer would be nothing. We ate everything and more. I expect you’re thinking the pig in blanket reference seems more plausible now. Favourites from the sandwiches included the roasted butternut squash with caramelised pecans and a knock-your-socks-off strong Stilton cream. We also order a third round of the Cotswold egg sandwiches which came with a rich, woody black truffle mayonnaise. We piled scones high with Devonshire clotted cream and a light rose petal jelly before devouring the pastries. A chestnut tree with a pear centre and edible gold star was particularly good as was their mince pie bauble with orange glazed shell. There’s a chocolatey reindeer yule log complete with red button nose and cutting through the sweet chocolate, mince pie and pear tart, a praline and zingy passion fruit Opera. We just found space for the Christmas mignardise which included a berry and cream filled tart. 

What We Drank: To toast the hotel’s come back and the fact that we had successfully battled our way through the crowds in Knightsbridge without our default London setting of passive aggressiveness breaking out into full aggression we chose a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. When it came to tea we started with our usual orders – smoky Lapsang Souchong and a light Jasmine Pearls tea before handing over to the tea sommelier to choose something we would never normally go for and he certainly chose something different. First up was the Sticky Rice, which really did taste and smell just like sticky rice, with an almost nutty taste to it, with each infusion producing a different taste. For a tea with festive notes of ginger, cinnamon and orange peel then go for the Kama Sutra…why it is called that is still not entirely clear. 

Where: The Rosebery, The Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA

Three Reasons You Should Go: The service is exceptional, yes you expect it when you’re in a 5* hotel and paying 5* prices but the waiters and waitresses were excellent. Going with children? Then they’ll receive a Harrods’ Oliver Bear to take home. And if you’re feeling hungry then you’ve come to the right place as they’re very good at persuading you to have, just one more sandwich. 

Like This? Try These: Want more Christmas afternoon teas? Then luckily for you, we have rounded up the best London has to offer. Check them out here.