Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester, London

I spent the last three months contacting The Dorchester in hope of getting a reservation but since I usually go to London at the weekend, they were always fully booked. Needless to say, my patience was wearing thin but the wait was worth it. I should probably keep this until the end of the post but… Afternoon tea at The Dorchester was hands down the best I’ve ever had. As I sit here reminiscing about that lovely afternoon, I genuinely cannot think of anything better. Major statement and yes, you can quote me.

Despite spending most of my life in London and frequenting restaurants in the same area, I’d only ever been to The Bar at this London landmark. What kept me away? Who knows but learn from my mistake and get booking now! Never did I think that making a sandwich was an art form but those soft, creamy, spongy, just made ones were all we could talk about. From the fennel bread to the tuna sandwich of a lifetime, we ate with enthusiasm and marvelled at such a simple thing – a tuna sandwich – tasting so freakin’ good. How do they do it? Sandwiches were served to us over time and not just dumped on a plate. It was clear that these had been just made. Seriously getting hungry here… The warm, seemingly fresh-from-the-oven scones served with lashings of clotted cream and good ole strawberry jam are pretty much the only thing I ever want to eat again.

The stunning floral arrangements, the champagne glasses and the pale green & white china (“Illusion” from Haviland, just in case you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas) all laid out in such an elegant manner, further cementing my view that I would rather spend my time and money in such a beautiful establishment once a week than go to some crappy bar every night. That may sound a little particular but well, that’s how I feel. Spending an afternoon with two lovely, intelligent and warm ladies – Jackie and Lasca – in such exquisite surroundings is exactly how I like to spend my Fridays in London. You cannot beat good food and good company.

Despite pronouncing the raspberry macaron “macaroon” (clearly I’ve been in France too long), the three of us had a ball. I cannot remember his name but our waiter provided some of the best service this woman has ever experienced. The Dorchester should be proud to have him. Excellent! The only downside, and this is a typical big city thing, is that you have a limited reservation time. Living in Paris where one can spend 4 hours in a café, this is a little frustrating. Even more so because The Promenade is such a plush, comfortable and welcoming place, but like I said, this isn’t unique to The Dorchester. Damn it people, I won’t hear a word said against my new favourite London joint.

The moment I confirm my next London trip, I will make a reservation for tea again. I think my mum would love it here. I really want to explore more of London because I feel I’m losing touch with my home and I want to experience Afternoon Tea all around town, but this is my new local. Other restaurants take note: standards have been set.

The Dorchester
Park Lane
London
W1K 1QA
+44 20 7629 8888

34 Comments

  1. 18 September 2011 / 18:14

    Divine .. so civilized and romantic and other-worldly. Once I barged in with coats and bags and they pretended I hadn’t just done that. Tea in London (drinks,tea) is the best (maybe Hong Kong learned it from them) .. drinks in the basement at Blakes, breakfast at Claridges where once staff told me that the Brit who’d just had a heart attack and was stuck in the revolving door was “resting.”

    LOVE this.

    Great photos

    • Milla
      Author
      18 September 2011 / 18:57

      That made me laugh! It has been so many years since I’ve been to Claridges – on the list! I wish you could come, I want to know everything about your life!

  2. 18 September 2011 / 18:42

    Wow..you really love your tea..I have been reading through your blog…and your love of luxury and tea really shines through. Thanks for stopping by my blog…Loved your photos from FNO- beautiful:)
    As for this post…you had me at …the bucket full of chilled champagne…as you like your tea..this girl loves a great glass of bubbly! So glad you had such a lovely afternoon…isn’t it nice when something is ACTUALLY worth the wait.
    Be back soon.
    C

    • Milla
      Author
      18 September 2011 / 18:54

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Carly! A life without tea and champagne isn’t a life I fancy, that’s for sure!

      Have a great Sunday!

  3. 18 September 2011 / 22:33

    how lovely/fun! beautiful place.

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 10:43

      Thank you! It really is lovely.

  4. 18 September 2011 / 23:53

    How refined! We can always try to imitate them but there’s no beating the English for the best afternoon teas!

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 10:38

      Just as there is no beating the French when it come to patisseries. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

  5. 19 September 2011 / 02:35

    Wow that sounds and looks like such an incredible time! Next time I’m in London I’ll be sure to try to get a reservation 🙂

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 10:39

      Oh Dawn, you must! A trip to London without a trip to The Dorchester simply won’t do.

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 14:44

      Have you been there yet? You simply must go before you leave France.

      x

      • 19 September 2011 / 16:24

        Yup we’ve been a couple of times but last trip was in 2009 and that was too long ago! We went for tea at The Savoy and it was a dream but now I need to try The Dorchester thank you very much Milla! 😉

  6. 19 September 2011 / 11:32

    Oh Milla, your food photography is really good! I am now wishing that it’s 6pm already so I can leave the office and start preparing dinner!

    And so glad to know that you’ve finally found THE place to have tea! Oh, I must find a job asap so I can save up and visit you in Paris! Now please excuse me as my tummy is grumbling already.

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 14:44

      Totally blushing over here but like I said Prof, I learnt from the best!

      Forget Singapore and come on over!

      • 20 September 2011 / 12:49

        Lol aww, it means a lot to get compliments on my photography. And don’t you mean Malaysia? 😛 But yes, we will have tea one day, either I fly there or you fly here!

        • Milla
          Author
          20 September 2011 / 12:59

          No, I mean forget going to Singapore and come to France! I can imagine our meeting: no talking just pure photography. Hehe 🙂

      • 20 September 2011 / 16:55

        Lol well I couldn’t care less for Singapore, but I WILL visit Paris one day!

        Oh, I’m quite talkative, believe me! We’ll be taking photos AND talk until the restaurant closes 😉

        • Milla
          Author
          21 September 2011 / 12:18

          Sounds like a perfect girlie date in Paris! Bring it on!

  7. 19 September 2011 / 12:43

    Living in Pimlico, I pass the Dorchester most days – i.e. when Bond Street and Oxford Street make their dual siren call – and, yet, have not taken the time to visit.

    How limited is the reservation time?

    Sarah x

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 14:39

      Oh Sarah, you must – I know a lady with your fine taste will appreciate it. The reservations are for 1h45 minutes. Is that standard in London. I thought it was about 2h15, but I may be mistaken.

      xx

  8. 19 September 2011 / 12:49

    P.S: Milla, is our lovely little book club continuing this month? With ‘Lunch in Paris’? x

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 14:37

      It is indeed! I’ll get back to reading ASAP 🙂

  9. Sarah
    19 September 2011 / 13:33

    Ooooh big call!!! I absolutely wholeheartedly agree-I would rather have one nice thing less often than a crappy thing more frequently! What’s the point of spending money if you won’t be enjoying the product?! That’s why I’m sacrificing doing things now (wait I have no social life so not much of a sacrifice!) so I have more money to enjoy my trip!!
    Okay we will definitely have to do this while in London-if you say it’s the best you’ve had, well we must do it then! How long you reckon I should book in advance for January?
    Did you have the 80th anniversary champagne afternoon tea? So if you had a limited time, how long did you have and how long is a normal afternoon tea in London? Definitely have to stop in here to fuel up before shopping 🙂 Only 4 months exactly til I leave!! Come faster trip….

    • Milla
      Author
      19 September 2011 / 14:37

      Sarah, if there only one place you go in London, this is it. Seriously. And you know I wouldn’t lie about tea! Start looking 2 months in advance (very easy online system) – it would be awful to miss out. Booking are for 1h45.

      I understand – I should be in a state of sacrifice right now (for Canada) but I am currently enjoying a net-a-porter moment… I need a winter coat as it is starting to get so cold.

      Four months is going to fly by. Is your mum excited as well?

      • Sarah
        20 September 2011 / 09:05

        Good to know about booking and times….would you recommend same for Paris?
        Sacrificing for Canada? Did you mean Australia and say Canada because you were talking to me? Hey I am all for winter jackets….can’t have you getting hypothermia!
        My mum is definitely starting to get more excited as well. The lucky cow is in Maui right now with my step-dad so I’m the only one focused on it this week haha. But I’m excited enough for both of us!!

        • Milla
          Author
          20 September 2011 / 13:05

          I’ve never had a limited booking in France. Personally I think between 2-2.5 hours is ideal because you get to experience the ambiance, aren’t rushed and I prefer to have my hot tea with the sweet part of the meal, so it’s more leisurely.

          I usually do confuse places but no, I’m off to Canada in the spring. Well, European spring. Will email you about it.

          Maui, London and Paris? An envy-inducing itinerary.

  10. 19 September 2011 / 15:29

    That sounds and looks so good! I need to eat everything you just mentioned, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

    I’m greedy and proud of it!

  11. 20 September 2011 / 10:50

    Everything looks fantastic. One of my blogger friends had dinner at The Dorchester a few months back and she was thrilled, the food, the atmosphere, the services were exquisite. And after reading your post I’m telling myself that this is something I must experience. 🙂
    Ada

    • Milla
      Author
      20 September 2011 / 13:02

      So happy to hear that your friend had a good experience. Yes, it’s a must. I can only imagine how wonderful dinner is there.

  12. designedbyann
    20 September 2011 / 14:01

    I’ve had an afternoon tea in London only once in the Langham hotel! It was delicious! couldn’t stop taking pictures of the sweets. They named them bijoux and one of them even sported thw Chanel logo!! Oh and they hade delicious rose macaroons…the best I’ve ever tried! I have some pictures from the tea in this post of mine: http://designedbyann.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/love-never-dies/
    And I have to add that I’m really jealous that you live in Paris (my dream city) but also are from London (which is the city I’ve visited most in my life, apart from the one I live 😛 )

    • Milla
      Author
      21 September 2011 / 12:44

      Ann, what lovely pics! I go weak at the knees for a pretty cake.

      Did you have a nice time in London?

  13. 20 September 2011 / 15:45

    What a great review. I, like you, have only ever visited the bar. Shame on me. You had me here at “warm scones” – the only thing that is putting me off is the limited reservation time. For afternoon tea I want to spend the whole afternoon there. Have you ever tried the tea at The Charlotte Street Hotel? The hotel is rarely busy, you can stay as long as you like, I really love this place.

    • Milla
      Author
      21 September 2011 / 12:32

      Shame on you big time! Hehe, listen to me like I’m a regular. The limited reservation time is normal at any high-end resto, but afternoon should be more leisurely. I adore the Charlotte Street Hotel (wrote about it here) and cannot fault it, but it’s on a different scale – quality, style, experience. I couldn’t begin to compare them.

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