“It was in 1840 that Anna,
the seventh Duchess of Bedford,
noticed she felt a ‘sinking feeling’
around mid-afternoon. Once served
with a pot of Darjeeling tea,
some bread, butter and biscuits,
she felt decidedly better.
The afternoon tea was born.”
That’s written in the first page of Corinthia’s afternoon tea menu and it’s a lovely way to start proceedings. Equally lovely is the gorgeous foyer it takes place in, topped with a spherical chandelier, the pianist which elegantly echoes throughout the hotel and the tall, comfortable armchairs we sink into.
Traditional afternoon tea at this glamorous five star hotel costs £45 per person. We opt for the one with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne (£65) which is poured from a Champagne trolley wheeled to the table. Such a lovely touch.
The sweet treats are also served table-side from another trolley. But first, the sarnies. Roast beef is more well-done than I’d usually like but the sweet caramelised onions work brilliantly with the crisp beef. Fillings of tandoori chicken with green apple, London smoked salmon, egg mayo truffle with watercress and cucumber with radish and cream cheese come in a variety of breads; white, brown, granary and spinach. All are exquisite.
Plain and sultana scones, all soft and fluffy, are served in a wooden box. We slather them in rhubarb and tonka bean jam and Cornish clotted cream. Jam or cream first? Who cares, just get it on and enjoy.
Of the sweets my favourite is a chocolate peanut sphere cos’ it tastes like a posh Snickers. And I love a Snickers. Rhubarb, strawberry and crème patisserie sit in a buttery tart casing. The pastry is impossibly light. Diced kiwi and dragon fruit surround a baba in a little glass cup. The exotic flavours are something else.
If all that sugar isn’t enough there’s fruity marshmallows, canelés and lemon drizzle cake. The latter goes particularly well with the Jasmine Pearls green tea brewed to an exact 85 degrees. I know that because the Tea Sommelier tells me. He really cares about teas.
Afternoon tea is a pretty indulgent treat wherever you have it. The one at Corinthia feels particularly special though – from the trolley of bubbly to the trolley of puddings it’s all designed to make you feel as comfortable as possible. You just might not want to leave.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant