For a Decadent Afternoon Tea on Bond Street
Afternoon tea can be traced back to 1840 when the Duchess of Bedford is said to have asked for a light refreshment between lunch and dinner, served with tea. Fast forward to today, and this quintessentially British tradition is still going strong. Indeed, from pretty patisseries to dainty finger sandwiches and lashings of Earl Grey, the afternoon tea ritual never goes out of style. For the definitive guide to the best places to enjoy a cream, classic or champagne tea in and around Bond Street, read on.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Connaught puts a playful twist on a traditional afternoon tea, served in a beautiful light-filled dining room overlooking a stunning water feature outside the window. Here, classic British ingredients fuse with Southeast Asian flavours. Think of a hint of mint added to dainty cucumber sandwiches, or, a coconut and pineapple mousse. As for English scones, these are prepared to a time-honoured recipe. Warm from the oven and topped with Cornish clotted cream, they'll have you feeling suitably refuelled to resume shopping back on Bond Street.
At Claridge's, delicate savoury delights and hand-made pastries are served on the very finest signature sage and white striped bone china in its elegant The Foyer & Reading Room. Trust executive Chef, Martyn Nail to bring a classic afternoon tea menu right up to date with seasonal British ingredients. Take the Clarence Court duck egg and tomato sandwiches for instance or the rich clotted cream straight from Cornwall. And what better accompaniment to this veritable afternoon feast, than a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut?
Follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and enjoy a delectable afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel. Served in the cosy, wood-panelled Drawing Room, pillowy scones filled with fresh cream and jam and smoked coronation chicken sandwiches are best savoured with a pot of Oolong tea or a chilled glass of Ruinart Rosé. In this luxurious setting, striking contemporary artworks provide another feast for the eyes. Mind you, it might be difficult to concentrate on anything other than the delicacies that fill each layer of the cake stand beneath your nose!
Settings for afternoon tea don't get more magical than the Palm Court at The Ritz. Against this ornate Louis XVI backdrop, enjoy lashings of Darjeeling Flush as classics from a bygone age are played by the hotel's resident pianist. Equally memorable is the impeccable service and seemingly endless supply of sweet and savoury treats and tea. And if you can't squeeze another scone, petit four or sandwich in, then the kind staff will happily pack any leftovers up in a portable cake box tied with a bow.
Sitting down to tea under The Wolseley's high ceilings and soaking up the grand café atmosphere in the heart of Piccadilly is an experience like no other. Situated just a stone's throw from Bond Street, it is the perfect spot to drop your shopping bags and rest your weary feet. Whether you prefer a Lapsang Souchong to a Darjeeling the finest tea leaves taste even better when poured from a beautiful silver teapot. Other menu highlights including éclairs, Millefeuille and Battenburg cake are hard to top.
Fortnum & Mason
Afternoon tea in Fortnum & Mason's beautiful Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, opened by her late Majesty the Queen no less, is a most delicious tradition. The quintessentially British department store serves an array of precision-cut sandwiches from cucumber and minted pea to Scottish smoked salmon, fresh fruit scones and the finest selection of teas such as the celebrated Royal Blend. And since this is the ultimate treat, why not add a little sparkle to your afternoon in which case, a glass of Fortnum's Brut Réserve is a must.
Tempted by the thought of pots of the finest tea blends, cucumber finger sandwiches and fluffy scones with friends and loved ones? Be sure to book a table and savour every minute of this delicious afternoon tradition.