Though I rather enjoy the Library Bar at The Lanesborough, one of London’s 5-star hotels, this was my first experience at Apsleys, where one takes Afternoon Tea at the hotel. As it turns out, there were to be quite a few firsts that day.
I’m all about the details so seeing a menu which clearly states ‘Afternoon Tea’ pleases me greatly. I don’t quite understand why so many high-end hotels list this delightful tradition as “High Tea” because it’s a different meal. Slight digression… We both opted for the ‘Belgravia tea’ which includes a selection of finger sandwiches, delicious cakes and pastries and scones, but the real draw was the strawberries and cream. Enjoyed with a glass of Laurent Perrier rosé champagne, an afternoon of perfection commenced…
Warm mini-tarts of Stilton and red onion welcomed us to the savoury part of the menu. The finger sandwiches included cucumber and cream cheese, an unusual but delicious combination of ham and celeriac on cranberry bread and good ole smoked salmon. Moving on to the sweets, we feasted on blueberry cake covered in white chocolate, dark chocolate sponge and red velvet cake with a cream cheese icing. The cakes were so light! This was the first time I was served tea cakes, one of my favourite treats, with afternoon tea. It’s all in the name, right? They were served warm along with fluffy home-made scones. I try to eat dairy-free most of the time but when it comes to clotted cream, it’s simply not going to happen. Complimenting the cream was strawberry jam and my personal favourite – lemon curd. Yet another first with Afternoon Tea. The tartness of the lemon curd paired with the luscious clotted cream is something everybody needs to try. If you’ve never tried lemon curd before, please don’t buy it. Make it at home – it’s so simple, quick and tastes nothing like the ready-made version.
Now, it’s no secret that I’m a major tea snob enthusiast so imagine my excitement at meeting Karl Kessab, the tea sommelier at The Lanesborough. That’s right people, they have a tea sommelier! The first ever one in the UK to be exact. Sticking with my own traditions, I ordered green tea but Karl was having none of this! He asked me what type of taste I like and suggested I live on the edge by trying The Lanesborough’s signature Afternoon Tea Blend, Silver Needle and Rose Congou. One type of tea to go with each course. Now that’s a lot of tea, right? Just enough if you ask me and yes, they were all delightful. The very idea of floral-scented tea makes me shudder but the Rose Congou worked wonderfully with the chocolate French-style desserts.
There are no words for the service. No words at all! Okay, maybe one: perfection! It seems so simple but those little unique touches – starting with strawberries and cream, proper lemon curd and Karl the tea sommelier (I can’t get over this!) – add to the appeal of Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough. What’s the point of following the crowd when you can carve your own path, right? You shouldn’t mess with tradition and this for me was a very British Afternoon Tea.
Apsleys at The Lanesborough
Hyde Park Corner
+44 (0) 20 7333 7524
Not Just Another Milla was a guest of The Laneborough.