The Ritz Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea at the Ritz London is something that I’ve longed to do for years, with my passion for baking and patisserie I’m obviously a huge fan of afternoon tea so when I was approached by the charity `Willow Foundation’ and offered a special day it was the first thing that I put on an extremely long list to wilted through and decide what I wanted as my special day. For those of you who aren’t aware of the Willow Foundation, it’s a charity that offers special UK days for people with a life-threatening illness ad range from concerts, football matches, west end shows and so much more. After what took a few weeks of narrowing down what I wanted to do I eventually decided on the world renowned afternoon tea at The Ritz London. The willow foundation planned and payed for everything from the train there and back, taxis to and from the train station and the Ritz, the hotel and the afternoon tea. Everything was booked and planned for us. I was shocked to see that my special day wasn’t just a day it was in fact two nights in the Grange Holborn Hotel. Which meant there was plenty of touristy stuff for me to cram in, in addition to the afternoon tea. In this blog post I’m just going to focus on the visit to The Ritz.
So, me and the darling sister rushed back from doing touristy London stuff to get ready, because as your probably aware there is a very strict dress code. We had a pre-booked taxi that picked us up from the hotel and dropped off at the door of the hotel and that’s when it all started to feel so magical. We were greeted by the door man as we entered to look upon the elegant interior. We just stood there for a moment trying to take it all in before entering the dining area. We were greeted and seated by a French waiter (by the way all the waiters were French, it’s as if they only hire French waiter to add to the ambience). To top the entrance off there was a guy paying “Tale as old as time” on a grand piano in the corner and if you know me you’ll know that I love “Beauty and the Beast” so much that I even have a “Beauty and the Beast” themed tattoo. Now moving back to the topic of Afternoon Tea. Firstly, we were offered a glass of champagne and of course we were going all out as the gift voucher that we received was for Champagne Afternoon Tea to which we sipped whilst looking at the tea selection.
The Ritz offered a huge selection of teas I opted for the Chocolate Mint Rooibos and the sister went for Earl Grey Tea. The Chocolate Mint Rooibos Tea is described as “a carefully matched combination of rooibos red tea, calendula and cocoa beans that are blended in house”. However, there was plenty to choose from and your able to try as many as you fancy. I must say as a tea lover myself it was probably the best tea I’ve ever tasted.
And then we were presented with the most exquisite afternoon tea. Upon the tiered delight, there was an assortment of sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. The sandwich selection consisted of;
• Ham with grain mustard mayonnaise served on sliced brioche bread.
• Cheddar cheese with onion chutney served on tomato bread.
• Cucumber with cream cheese, dill and chives served on granary bread.
• Chicken breast with parsley cream served on malt bread.
• Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter served on sourdough bread.
• Egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress served on white bread.
It’s obvious from tasting that there was a lot of thought process behind the menu. The classic flavours expected from traditional English afternoon tea executed perfectly with an added flare to it and a wide variety to suit a range of taste buds and personal preferences.
The next tier is the scones. Both fruit and plain scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. And they were great, a light airy texture, perfectly formed and with a generous serving of preserve and clotted cream, I think we’ve all been on the receiving end of a dry scone and a skimpy serving of cream and jam, which nobody wants!
As usual I’ve saved the best till last. Cakes and pastries! Now as I’ve previously stated all the waiters were French so when they were explaining what the individual items were, I didn’t quite catch everything they’d said. We received a blackcurrant and yoghurt macaroon, a coconut and mango mousse, craquelin filled with crème patisserie and pistachio and a white chocolate tart. They were all presented and executed beautifully. Prefect piping, gold leaf and white chocolate decorations. Most importantly the taste. The mousse was tart and creamy with jaconde sponge base for a contrast in texture. The macaroon had a sharp berry taste accompanied by the yoghurt to mellow it down slightly, the crunchy gooey macaroon with the creamy filling as expected from any good macaroon. The tart was sweet and chocolatey and the craquelin was perfect shoe pastry with creamy crème patisserie were an indulgent match.
As me and the sister tucked in we were offered more and ne one waiter stated, “the food here never stops, you want more you get more” however we really couldn’t eat any more apart from the off the cake trolley they brought round. So, we saw a waiter walking round offering out cake to their diners and me and the sister were discussing whether we would have to pay more considering it differed from the afternoon tea options. When the waiter approached us, we declined the first option but he was quite persistent saying how we must try something so we did. We choose a slice of mocha loaf and a chocolate and pear tart, which we decided to share and we were hoping they’re wouldn’t be an extra charge, because well it’s the Ritz and it’s pretty expensive. They were both delicious and couldn’t be faulted. We stayed and enjoyed some more tea before getting the taxi back as we had some time to kill. When we were presented with the bill we were glad to see that there were no extra charges.
So as an overall nothing could be faulted, it was a magical experience. Amazing food, great service and perfect ambience. I would highly recommend The Ritz for a special occasion or an expensive treat for any afternoon tea lover. I definitely want to return for another visit sometime in the future.