Along with crafting, something else that I used to do significantly more often in my pre-motherhood years was visiting various London establishments for Afternoon Tea. Amongst others, I’ve been to the Ritz and the Connaught for Christmas-time teas, The Goring (now famous for being where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a single lady) for a relaxed garden hen party tea and tried a few of the Firmdale hotels for funky and reasonably priced teas for girls’ afternoons out.
There are still tons of places to try though and I happily headed to the Langham in March for a hen party and to try their Wonderland Afternoon Tea. Tea is served in the sumptuous Palm Court where we were seated in armchairs across two tables. The service was the right side of attentive and the waiter happily negotiated a mix of dietary requirements necessitating variations to the set menu. We kicked off with tea and quite boringly, I opted for Earl Grey. I’m not drinking a huge amount of tea at the moment to keep within pregnancy caffeine guidelines so in my defence, even the boring option was a bit of a treat! We also ate the lime posset that was already on the table, not sure if we were supposed to at that stage but we were hungry! The posset did look a little like a candle, especially as the fleck of edible gold on the top could’ve been a fancy wick but as soon as one of us was brave enough to investigate whether it was edible or not, the rest of us dived in.
Then out came the sandwiches, my pescatarian / pregnancy friendly options included crab, cucumber with avocado, brown egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and roast pepper and cream cheese. There were delicious and the waiter came round with second helpings for those that wanted them.
Then followed the scones, cream and jam. The scones were very light and crumbly in texture and tasted almondy too.
Next we moved on to the mini pastries which were a passionfruit and mango dome, a Valrhona chocolate tart, lemon and poppy seed cake and a Eton mess layer push pop up. The latter was reminiscent of childhood sweetshop treats and were presented stood up in edible green sherbet (or ‘kayline’ as the bride-to-be called it!). It was also quite runny so those that attempted the push up first had to quickly eat it as the gooey layers oozed out over the top of the container!
Totally high on a sugar rush, we retreated to hotel’s Artesian bar (voted ‘The World’s Best Bar 2013’ by Drinks International), for cocktails, hen gifts and quiz. The cocktail of choice amongst the group was vodka based ‘Forever Young’ which was served in a silver glass which sat in front of burning opium incense and behind a smoky mirror which you looked into whilst you drank.
I contended with a pretty non-alcoholic cocktail of which the only ingredient I can remember was almond and obviously some sort of juice. And a flower on top. Here it is next to its sophisticated older cousin, the classic Champagne cocktail.
I sensibly left for home and an early night at this point but the others went to Ronnie Scott’s to dance the night away (not jealous at all, not, not, not….).