Afternoon Tea At Langham
While recently in London, B (who is B you ask well my partner in crime: my husband of course) and I decided to try the genuine afternoon tea experience. After much research we narrowed it down to ‘The Connaught’, ‘Brown’s Hotel’, ‘Dean Street Townhouse and ‘The Savoy’. By the way ‘W Hotel’ does a very modern take on the afternoon tea with a rock n roll theme. Tea is served on a three-tier stand made of vinyl records with innovative twists such as rose petal jam and psychedelic marzipan. Getting a reservation anywhere last-minute is though next to impossible. So we went to the only place that still had a table for two – The Langham.
Afternoon tea at Langham is served in the Palm court, famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born. In fact on 10 June this year the hotel will be celebrating its 147 years and is serving the afternoon tea by offering it for the original price that it was served at in 1865, just seven pence. At that price definitely worth a punt!!
The ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to the Duchess of Bedford, who lived at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire and was lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria. She is said to have experienced a ‘sinking feeling’ in the middle of the afternoon one day and asked her footman to deliver all the tea making equipment with some bread and butter to her private room. She found this new meal so satisfying and enjoyable that she soon started inviting her special friends to join her for ‘afternoon tea’ and so the ritual began.
With the piano tinkling in the background while we enjoyed our small, sparkly and perfectly presented cakes and exquisite little sandwiches, I felt I had reached the tea heaven. Langham offers over 30 blends of tea and a tea sommelier at hand to help you make the best choice.
First up were the finger sandwiches including a selection of corn-fed chicken breast with honey mustard and marjoram, smoked Scottish salmon mousse with caviar, a wonderfully light foie gras and apple pastry in the most vivid green. My favorite was the smoked duck foie gras and blackcurrant. While I enjoyed my palm Court exotic blend tea with hibiscus flowers, rosehip and pink rose petals we were served warm marinated orange, raisins and chocolate scones to be enjoyed with strawberry preserves and Devon clotted cream.
Does tea etiquette dictate that clotted cream be spread first on the scone and then the preserve or vice versa? Well either is acceptable, this is the Devonshire method while spreading the preserve first and then the clotted cream is the Cornwall method.
Next up was the piece of resistance the beautifully crafted selection of pastries and cakes. Each was so artfully crafted that I almost could not think of devouring them. Of course having over indulged in all the other goodies I did end up getting them packed in a lovely carry box which I was happy to flaunt at my next stop “The London Eye’.
This afternoon tea experience was though far from cheap. It was most definitely worth the experience and they treated me like the royalty. Awarded the top London afternoon tea in 2010 by the tea guild which is like the Oscars in the tea world. It was all about being elegant, feeling special and leaving satisfied!