The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has started serving afternoon tea in the Paul Hamlyn Hall, which is that magnificently grand part of the building with the glass arched roof. As I love a bit of tea slurping and cake guzzling, I was kindly invited down to try it out – sorry Jay!
It’s such a beautiful space; if like me you have a soft spot for the Opera House then you can’t help but love every second of being there. It’s a humungous room yet it didn’t feel drafty or like we were sitting in an aircraft hanger – it all felt very civilised.
It’s priced at £37.50 for the standard afternoon tea or £47.50 which includes a glass of Ruinart champagne. The sandwiches were dainty little buggars which were gladly replenished as often as required. Cucumber and cream cheese, free-range egg and cress, salt beef with cornichon and Severn & Wye smoked salmon blini were all delicious flavour combinations with the latter being a real highlight as the salmon was of such high quality. The blini could have done with a tad longer in the oven though.
The scones (both plain and fruit) were charmingly misshapen; there’s something about a perfectly formed scone which just looks factory made to me. Warm scone, insanely thick clotted cream and strawberry jam – you’d have to be a right misery not to sit there with a giant grin on your chops.
The mini desserts were very pretty indeed, especially the Opéra Gâteau which was topped with music paper chocolate. The banoffee macaron was a little too sickly for me but the pistachio éclair with praline grains and mandarin and kumquat amandine were perfectly balanced sweet treats. Again, all were replaced whenever you wished.
I’m not sure why I was surprised by the service, it was the Royal Opera House after all, but each member of staff was utterly brilliant; friendly and chatty yet so on the ball. That matched with the glorious surroundings, delicious food and a lovely pot of Second Flush Darjeeling, made for a truly enjoyable afternoon.
I dined as a guest of the restaurant