Eat | Afternoon tea at The Connaught, London

DSC09547-edited One rainy London afternoon, we found ourselves back at The Connaught with a glass of rose champagne in our hands and plenty to catch up on. And where better?



Fresh, hearty yet elegant sandwiches, particularly the Coronation chicken and the smoked salmon, raised the expectations (and there may have been a second serving…). My vegetarian, gluten-free friend was well-catered for – none of that goats cheese and spinach nonsense.



Warm scones, topped with lashings of clotted cream and a choice of jams: orange and ginger, wild strawberry and fig. The crowning glory was the orange and ginger jam. I could feel a delicate heat from the ginger whilst the orange tantalized my taste buds.




Dessert was typically French: exquisitely-presented, delicious, a touch of sugar and, as always, had me thinking that I really need to start dating a pâtissier!


Listening to a talented harpist, we relaxed in the sumptuous surroundings of the Espelette restaurant discussing how these moments of friendship are so important, and particularly enjoyable in such plush surroundings and with finest service possible. Yet another moment of gratitude for this sweet life of mine.

Espelette at The Connaught
Carlos Place
+44 (0)20 7499 707

Eat | Afternoon tea at the Rosewood Hotel, London

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCWith a fondness for comfort, routine and the familiar, my poor little blog often gets neglected as writing about the same places, the same meals and, naturally, the same coffee seems rather trite. As 3 years of studying French at an academic level drew to a close, it was time to break the mould and try something new to celebrate our triumph over what is arguably one of the most complicated yet utterly exquisite languages.  Off to the Rosewood we went…

I learnt about the Rosewood when a friend introduced me to their Slow Food & Living Market; the courtyard market filled with high-end tea, smoked salmon, honey, bread and cheese. The dream! However, it wasn’t until my fellow French class survivor and I stepped through the doors that the modern elegance of the hotel became apparent. With mirrored ceilings, luxuriant furnishings and impeccably-attired hostesses, we settled in for a little champagne and some rather delicious sweets.  The details from the central floral display to the fireplace and dessert counter reflect a homely, unpretentious yet detail-focus nature of the design. Sadly, we did not have the place to ourselves so I didn’t take any shoots of the interior (basically, I don’t like strangers in my photographs). Next time!

Our sandwiches were presented beautifully but, comme d’habitude, it was the scones and clotted cream which captivated my attention.  Lemon curd is my favourite scone topping; it is quite simple to make but very rare to find the right balance where a hint of sweetness cuts through the acidity. Here, at the Mirror Room, it was absolute perfection in a serving dish. We may have had an extra serving… With natural light beaming through the windows, we sipped tea and even took a walk around the expansive restaurant where, despite being in the middle of afternoon tea, one of the staff members offered us more cakes from the dessert table. Well, saying no to a slice of blueberry and pistachio cake would be blasphemous and, as upstanding members of society, we do not engage in such behaviour. Yes, please!

With the Rosewood’s close proximity to school and the British Museum, its bar will undoubtedly be exploited during my why-am-I-doing-this moments. Oh, and they have a dog. No, they have the cutest dog!

The Rosewood Hotel
252 High Holborn




Eat | Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea, Wellington Lounge, London

image image image image image image image image image image image image imageAs we sat down for an afternoon of culinary indulgence courtesy of the Intercontinental Park Lane, our waiter set the scene as he spritzed our surroundings with Floris scents, created by Perfumer Nicola Pozzani, to commence our afternoon tea of the senses. With plush surroundings, chic white floral arrangements, a Park Lane view and good company, what more could a lady desire?

Bright summer sandwiches of rose pickled cucumber with mascarpone, (my favourite) salmon and bergamot in lemon bread followed by peppercorn and thyme chicken and honey roast pumpkin with feta on spinach bread all helped along with a touch of rosé champagne, as suggested by our French waiter. As a purist, I tend to scare easily at non-traditional combinations but they worked. The bread was particularly light and the flavour delicate.

Another spritz of a different scent and it was scone time: warm, buttermilk scones served clotted cream but that was where the tradition ended. Instead, infusing a quintessential British flavour – Earl Grey –  with butter was served in addition to heavenly pink peppercorn lemon curd (we asked for an extra serving) and wild strawberry jam.  All devoured with a pot of Assam tea in elegant porcelain.

Dessert was rather peculiar; this is always my favourite part of a meal but in this case, it felt like sacrilege every time I took a bite! The colours, shapes and sheer array of sweet treats available wowed me. The selection included bergamot and blackcurrant flower macarons (sorry, French people, they really are flowers!), beautiful Jasmine tea cakes garnished with edible flowers and those pebble-like objects were solid milk chocolate with raspberries dotted around to refresh the taste buds.  The only disappointing aspect was that the macarons were a tad too sweet.

With all senses perfectly fulfilled, it was time for a photo or two with the hotel’s seasonal flowers, which perfectly matched my pearls. Sadly, the Scents of Summer afternoon is only available until 27th September so book quickly! I wouldn’t mind if the Wellington Lounge kept the dessert platter for a little longer though. And the peppercorn and lemon curd. Maybe the salmon and bergamot sandwiches too. Okay, the entire afternoon tea package.

Wellington Lounge at InterContinental London Park Lane
One Hamilton Place
Park Lane



Eat | Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard

Asian-influenced afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard A little champagne and a stunning view Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard Clotted cream = heaven on a spoon Scones, clotted cream and mango jam Moi at the Shangri-La at The Shard Asian-influenced dessert at the Shangri-La at The Shard Is this the best matcha cake in London? I think so! Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La at The Shard A lovely, authentic musical touch at the Shangri-La at The Shard A view of my wonderful city

This was my third experience having afternoon tea at the Shangri-La and so, after having my proverbial socks blown off in Paris and Tokyo (to be blogged at some point…), I was expecting greatness. Fortunately, the only disappointing thing was that we had to leave at some point.

It has been a particularly intense year; the weight of academic expectation finally hit me and I pretty much spent the entire academic year in a committed relationship with my library card and a sore left shoulder from lugging books around. So, to celebrate the end of our exams, Andrea – a classmate and friend – and I decided to indulge in scones and champagne, Asia-style, meaning tea with a view. 128 metres above ground and a stunning view of my city, we opted to share both the classic and the Asian-influenced afternoon teas. From the delightful afternoon classics like smoked salmon on wholemeal bread to my favourite cucumber sandwiches to switching continents and sampling prawn dim sum and pork gyoza served warm. An afternoon tea first for me.

Listening to our helpful French waiter speak Mandarin to a table of fellow diners added to the international vibe and, for language learners like us, served as a boost to persevere with our studies, though obviously not until dessert had been served. Priorities! The combination of both classic and camomile scones served with lashings of the creamiest clotted cream in the city, and both strawberry and mango jam, made this rich, sweet and tangy combination a culinary dream come true. It’s interesting because in Asia desserts aren’t sickly sweet as they tend to be in The West, and that influence really came through at the Shangri-La. Usually scones are my favourite part of afternoon tea but that was before I tried the matcha cake… The sponge is light and the matcha flavour strong without any bitterness. A masterpiece! The egg custard tart was creamy and the pineapple dessert balanced coriander and ginger flavours. As if this wasn’t enough, I got to share this experience with a friend whilst overlooking the sights of London. Happiness abounds!

Three and a half hours and two servings of matcha sponge cake later, we bid farewell to the Ting Lounge and left our little piece of Asia feeling even more in love with London’s diversity and a stiff resolve to return to the Shangri-La in the very near future.

Shangri-La at The Shard
31 St Thomas St
+44 20 7234 8000

Eat | Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

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One of my favourite pastimes is indulging in afternoon tea in a beautiful hotel. Depending on the season, I rather enjoy eating scones and sipping tea on a pretty terrace with friends but afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo was a decidedly different affair. This time, my scones were served 38 floors above the city! On clear days, you can see Mount Fuji from one side and Tokyo Skytree from the other.

As I discovered, savoury part of the meal was very light – hors d’oeuvres style – with focaccia served with smoked salmon, prosciutto with yellow peach and cucumber and egg salad. Afternoon tea in Japan is a sweet affair – the endless supply of beautiful cakes influenced by Japan, France and naturally, the Great Britain. The scones were so cute! Small (compared to what you will find here in the UK), bite-sized portions which are offered in three flavours – plain, coconut and cranberry. I’m a bit of a purist but was amazed by the coconut scones and there was clotted cream! Real clotted cream! I’ve been for afternoon tea in other countries outside of the UK and they served scones with double cream. Quelle horreur ! I knew Japan wouldn’t let me down.

Summer in Japan is all about the beloved, succulent peach and afternoon tea is no exception: the petits-fours included peach macarons, yellow peach tartlets, crème brûlée with white peach sauce and a mousse with verveine and peach coulis. Yes, we love peaches in Japan!

Probably the biggest surprise was that sencha, or any form of Japanese green tea, was not on the menu. As I discovered during my trip, this was quite normal in luxury hotels but such a shame. As a visitor, all I wanted to drink is green tea but I understand that for others, the abundance of herbal, flavoured and Indian tea may be more unique to the experience. Fortunately, the staff was more than happy to prepare some for me. As the menu allows you to choose as many different beverages as you want, I opted for different teas throughout and sipped espresso to finish.

The menu is light, sweet and with a view over my wonderful Tokyo, there’s  little more this woman could ask for. It was a wonderful first foray into the great British tradition, Tokyo-style and I am looking forward to returning.

Mandarin Oriental
2 Chome-1 Nihonbashimuromachi