Afternoon tea – a British tradition and something I absolutely love and cannot get enough of. If you follow me on Instagram you will see photographic evidence that I am an afternoon tea addict – FACT! Therefore I take the opportunity to indulge in my addiction as often as possible. So when my best friend and I made a flying visit to London we decided to have afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge.
The Berkeley is a very modest hotel from the outside, in fact if you have never visited before you have to look very carefully for the name beautifully chiselled into the wall. There are no massive, garish signs here just understated elegance and fits in beautifully with its Knightsbridge neighbours. If you love shopping then this is the place to stay with Harrods, Harvey Nicholls and many other high-end designer shops on its doorstep.
And to fit in with the very fashionable neighbourhood in which The Berkeley sits they offer a Fashionista’s Afternoon Tea. This is an afternoon tea you will NOT find anywhere else….there isn’t a scone in sight. We chose the Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea which includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé for £58 per person – yes pricey. Was it worth it?
In a word YES!
You are greeted by very friendly staff that show you to your table. We were very lucky we were seated right by the window. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the nicest day in London but regardless still one of the best seats in the house. Our jackets and umbrellas were taken from us and placed in the cloakroom for the duration of our visit. We the ordered our champagne (and a bottle of still water) which came promptly and was much needed. When I had booked the table I had stated that we were both vegetarians therefore would like meat-free and fish-free sandwiches. This can sometimes be a problem and as a vegetarian you are sometimes given a plate of cheddar cheese sandwiches. This was not the case at The Berkeley. Here we were each given 5 delicate sandwiches each one different and each one delicious – my favourite being the cream cheese and roasted pepper. Being greedy when offered a replenishment we eagerly accepted – cue another 5 sandwiches each (oink).
Then you are presented with the most colourful and varied 3 tiered stand. It looked so perfect I didn’t want to touch anything! The bottom tier consisted of savoury bites of goats cheese and other lovely little things – again we accepted the replenishment when offered.
The cakes and biscuits which made up the top 2 tiers, well what can I say? Just look at them. The wonderful waitress explained what each one was, that they were the colours of the season and each designed by a world famous designer.
- Mathew Williamson sequin macaroon with Mont Blanc cream ganache and psychedelic swirl of black & white
- Jimmy Choo monochrome chic Cayla zebra print bag in Dulcey chocolate moelleux topped with a rainbow of meringue drops
- Moschino’s quirky ‘Yellow M’ handbag of blood orange victoria sponge swathed in red quilted chocolate
- Charlotte Olympia ‘Sarah’ knee high dark chocolate biscuit boot covered in sultry scarlet and black
- Diane von Fürstenberg’s iconic golden gown ginger biscuit with a sprinkling of sparkle highlighting 40 years of Hollywood glamour
- Chistopher Kane silk-organza peanut sponge cake and Poire William brandy mousse with delicate pink meringue layering
- Manish Arora pink lady apple, cassis jelly and crème de Menthe mousse crowned with a marzipan Candyland apple cap
- Valentino’s sexy sixties mini dress chocolate tartellette filled with caramelia cremeux, whipped ganache with red and pink chocolate polka dots
- Dolce and Gabbana’s whimsical night owl with blackcurrant bavarois and star anis pannacotta savouring the designers’ Sicilian forest fantasy
Each one delicious! And again when we were offered replenishment we graciously accepted. I try and justify this in my head by saying ‘well you only get one of everything so you need the replenishment so you can both try everything’ yeah right the truth is we were simply being a pair of greedy mares!
Tea, I’ve forgotten to mention the tea! Such a varied choice!
- Loose leaf English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Ceylon, Lapsang Souchong, Organic Assam, Vanilla, Pear Caramel, White Peony
- Herbal infusions Camomile Citron, Wild Blossom and Berries, Chocolate Mint Truffle, African Amber
- ‘Well Being’ fruit infusions Funky Fruits, Posh Pomelo & Melon, Gorgeous Ginger, Luscious Lemon and Amazing Apple
- Exclusive Signature infusion Caramel Indulgence
The truth is I can easily sup 10+ cups of tea but I am a boring tea drinker and usually stick to English Breakfast and this occasion was no exception my friend opted for the Chocolate Mint Truffle tea (because we’d not got enough sweet stuff on our plates already(!)
This was delicious and very refreshing. ‘More tea’ was offered constantly throughout the afternoon and I’m sure if we had asked we could have tried others.
Once finished and fit to burst we were each brought our coats and the cutest carry out I have ever seen which was an added bonus of the afternoon. Inside we each found 2 of the fantastic cakes as listed above. I had every intention of saving mine for my husband to try. Unfortunately for him they were too yummy and I ate them on the train home!!! 100% recommended if you are not bothered about the absence of scones. Would love to visit again especially if/when the Fashionista Afternoon Tea is updated to the Spring/Summer 15 collection.