Discovering my own city is such a treat. I constantly feel as though I know everything about London and then I discover something new. Enter the Royal Horseguards Hotel, former home of the British Secret Service. To celebrate a friend’s birthday birthday and arrival in London, we headed for an afternoon of indulgence at this hotel, which is located in London’s Whitehall. Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photographs of the hotel interiors. The lobby and tea room felt inviting, contemporary and luxurious without trying too hard.
Whether you’re talking about food, style or interior design, simplicity is always the way to go. The sandwiches here (served at room temperature as they should be) fit that mantra perfectly: coronation chicken, smoked salmon, roast beef and cucumber. The bread was soft and the fillings perfectly seasoned. The scones were delicious; the type of scones this woman dreams about, and apparently what I could do with right now! Served warm with a seemingly never-ending supply of clotted cream and strawberry jam. No complaints from me.
As part of my one-woman protest I’ve stopped ordering Japanese green tea when out. Most venues use boiling water which scolds the tea and therefore ruins the taste. I opted for Earl Grey with warm milk, which worked very well with the scones.
The desserts, however, were a serious disappointment; when a sugar addict finds dessert too sweet, you know something is wrong. The macarons – an artificial, almost fluorescent yellow colour – were basically circular baked sugar balls with one taste and one texture. This does not a good macaron make. One should be able to distinguish between the filling and the shell. Food is not naturally that colour so even if it had been nice, I wouldn’t have had more than a taste. The mini-cupcakes were forgettable but the biggest disappointment were the éclairs. Going by the colour of the interior, I think they were supposed to be coffee or caramel. Either way, I couldn’t taste anything except dry pastry and sugar. Having only had a nibble of each dessert, which says it all, I soon returned to the far superior scones. Fortunately, the staff were happy to provide an additional serving.
With its central location, comfortable interiors, affordable afternoon tea service and the soothing sounds of their harpist, the Royal Horseguards seemingly has it all. I can see myself taking a break from it all, stopping here for cream tea (which consists of scones served with clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea) but I really need to be wowed by the desserts to have a full afternoon tea again.
The afternoon tea with Laurent Perrier champagne cost £45 per person.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel
2 Whitehall Court
+44 (0) 871 376 9033
You can read more of my afternoon tea reviews here.