A few months ago, I went to a baby shower with a difference – a swish Viennese Afternoon Tea at Covent Garden’s Delauney restaurant. Inspired by the grand cafés of Europe, the Delauney is a sister restaurant to the more famous, Wolsey in Piccadilly. It has a central European inspired menu of pierogies, schnitzel, beetroot, goulash, sausages (and things like steaks and burgers too), as well as amazing pastries.
The design of the restaurant is old-fashioned glamour, think wood panelling, green leather banquette, shiny polished floors, thick table clothes, beautifully arranged roses and silver cake stands. Trendy, it is not but as Coco Chanel said, fashion fades, style remains.
We were lucky enough to get one of the elegant private rooms for the baby shower. There is no extra charge for this though there is a minimum spend. I think because we had the private room, our tea menus were personalised with name of the mama-to-be, a lovely keepsake! Given the sophisticated atmosphere, we asked not to bring any baby shower decorations but we did happen to have a couple of balloons attached to a gift bag and they gave a subtle nod to the occasion.
The shower was a surprise for the mama-to-be. She thought she was having afternoon tea with just a couple of friends, not the 11 of us that were in situ when she arrived, all brought together from different groups of friends. She may have shed a happy tear or two when she walked into the room, pregnancy hormones eh.
Emotional greetings aside, it was time to get on to the tea. We had all opted to all have the Delaunay Viennese Tea which is assorted savouries, poppy seed Gugelhupfs with apricot jam and whipped cream, a selection of classic Viennese cakes and a choice of teas (or coffees). The food was served on beautiful silver stands, one stand per two guests. In theory anyway. There were a quite few of us with dietary requirements (vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy-free, gluten-free) and these were met with no problem (though we did warn them!) and additional sweet and savoury options on top of the standard amount. So, a lot of food! Not complaining. My pescatarian savoury options included beetroot cured salmon & horseradish creme fraiche on nordic bread, cream cheese sable (which looked a bit like a custard cream and was amazing) and an egg mayonnaise mix on rye bread.
For tea, I opted for the Delauney blend Delaunay Blend which has a subtle dusky rose flavour and was served in a monogrammed china cup and saucer. The Viennese cakes were seriously good – a choice of lingonberry cheesecake, battenburg, raspberry tart, mozart torte (with a chocolate treble clef on top!), coffee stroh rum slice and lemon and pistachio financier. We cut these up so we could manage a bit of each.
Then it was onto the poppy seed mini Gugelhupfs. These were instead of the scones you would find at a traditional English afternoon tea. They are a classic Austrian dessert apparently, and look like a Bundt cake. We weren’t quite sure whether to slice them like you would a scone or fill hole in the middle with cream, so between us we tried both options. They were lovely though I could only manage a little bit as was pretty full by then. We took leftover Gugelhupfs home with in a cute little box with us.
During and after eating we played a few, simple baby shower games, I might share those another time. I won the bingo round, hurrah!
The service was perfect. Charming, attentive but not overbearing.