As an Ameri-Brit, being both American and British, I love a cultural collaboration. Proper, silver service afternoon tea combines the prim execution of English elegance paired perfectly with American indulgence. You can spend hours slowly sipping a fine selection of steeped tea, whilst stuffing yourself to the gills with delicate sandwiches, scones and cakes. There isn’t a more divine way to have a much needed catch up, and certainly couldn’t have been hosted in a more luxurious setting.
I was invited by restaurant reviewing site, Zomato, to one of England’s most typical and historically fabulous spots for afternoon tea. In desperate need of a catch up, I invited the lovely Jaia to come along as my date.
We pored over the seemingly endless tea menu, with countless pages of beautiful blends to choose from. Having never tried an elderflower green tea, but loving the flavours individually, I made my choice. She went for the English breakfast blend served at the Royal Wedding of Kate & Wills. Although, we soon found the dizzying excitement of such a sugary afternoon greatly impaired her ability to put the strainer in the cup before pouring her tea. This resulted in a fit of giggles as I watched pieces of tea leaf flow into her cup time and time again. Not exactly the polished behaviour of the Royals, but we probably had way more fun.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Room is classically beautiful, with all the refined elegance you would expect from a building visited by Royalty. With sophisticated design featuring Fortnum’s duck egg blue in pieces around the room and bright pops of gold, my date fit right in with her pretty little striped number. We asked for a quick snap from our server, which came out a little blurred. But, we’ll forgive her as she’s the one that brought us the towers of treats!Needless to say, the service was impeccable. After our server arrived with our Afternoon Tea, she talked us through each layer of delicious decadence.
We started with sandwiches. What? You weren’t going to scroll straight to the dessert, were you?!
We nibbled away on sandwiches of cucumber & cream cheese, chicken & sweetcorn, rare roast beef with Café de Paris butter, Fortnum’s smoked salmon & horseradish cream and rare breed hen egg with mustard cress.
Then, slathered scones with clotted cream and topped with Fortnum’s deliciously fruity raspberry & apricot jams.
Clotted cream before jam, right? Already feeling quite full, several pots of tea into conversation, we began to tackle dessert, without too much arm twisting.
Clockwise, the little pink eclair was flavoured with rose, the chocolate cake had milk chocolate mousse, lemon curd and a yummy, crunchy base, the snowball looking thing was a yoghurt flavoured gel consistency hiding a cherry centre on top of pistachio cake, the profiterole sandwiched a lime coconut cream and the macaron was a rich raspberry, dark chocolate. I’d have to say the chocolate lemon was surprisingly my favourite of the bunch. Although, I loved the look of the yoghurt and pistachio cake.
With cakes, sandwiches, scones and tea swishing around our overstuffed tummies, we were then offered a slice of cake from the Tea Room’s stunning selection. A white marble table sits seductively on the side, proudly showcasing the tempting cakes. I seriously considered wheeling the whole thing out the door with me, but assumed someone may take notice.
How absolutely beautiful is this mint coloured cake stand? And don’t you just want to pick that raspberry and bit of cake up with your fingers and pop it in your mouth? No judgement for screen licking.
I’d like to tell you that with all the restraint and poise of dignified ladies we politely declined, but how could we resist? Jaia went for the Battenberg.
And I caved for the insanely decadent chocolate cake. We quite literally struggled our way through as much of the cakes as we could, like greedy sugar fuelled monsters. However, we eventually surrendered to our stomachs, replete with overindulgence. We finished off our tea and story swapping, and Jaia even remember her silver strainer!
In a bit of a delirious state, we headed down to peruse Fortnum’s finest. We started in the gift shop, where I found a series of great cards.
Including one with my favourite building. And one with an impulsive penguin.
The cups themselves are mirrored, taking on whatever pattern they’re sat on. Didn’t expect that! Did you? I also found awesome, London-inspired Halcyon Days boxes to add to my collection. I’d love these beautiful candle stick holders.
Not sure if I prefer the black or the white, what about you? And just look at these mini copper pots! I definitely need these. May leave the hat, though.
But, this candle would definitely suit the bathroom. And who doesn’t need a turquoise Japanese teapot?!Having had our fill of unnecessary future home decorating, we headed to the basement, which happens to be my favourite level. Down here is the wine cellar, flower shop and most importantly, food hall. You must promise me you’ll make a visit, as I didn’t take many snaps. I was too busy scurrying around gushing over all the products.
I did happen to take a picture of these gooseberries. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a minute to properly look at them, they’re translucent! I’ve accepted the fact that I may be the only one that finds this remotely cool. But anyways, have a look.
I know if you follow me on Twitter & Instagram (@Alessandra_LDN – wink, wink, nudge, nudge) you’ll have already seen these. These strange looking flowers have an even stranger name. Do you know it?
That’s right. They’re called Banksy Hookers. So strange.
Also, be sure to stop by the first floor’s incredible chocolate collection. A very special someone received a custom made box, all hand-selected from their hundreds of options. Harder to do than you think and may have taken me far too long to choose! But, I managed to deliver them with only one stolen in the end.
Where’s your favourite Afternoon Tea? Leave a comment or send me a tweet. I’m always on the lookout for a new one to try!