Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good old fashioned afternoon tea. Years ago I had spoken with a friend about going for afternoon tea at the Ritz after qualifying, but alas, it never happened. So for my 30th the hubby remembered this conversation and decided to book it for my birthday instead. Definitely one of the best afternoon tea places I’ve been to, and here’s why:
Elegant decor, classy atmosphere, and oozes opulence. Doormen with top hats open the Ritz doors as you enter the luxurious hotel. We were formally dressed and handed coats into the cloak room before being seated in the famous Palm Court for afternoon tea.
The tables appeared widely spread out and all staff members wore masks. Our table was interestingly oval-shaped with the seats paired together, allowing close conversation. Conveniently, there was a ledge under the table to place bags – I wish more places had this practical feature. Free wifi is available across the hotel, which was handy as the tea menu was accessed via QR code.
The tea set on the table looked simple and elegant – much like the wonderful meal we had. Plenty of space on the table for two people – no plate tetris was played, unlike at other afternoon tea places I’ve been to. The plate stand was definitely large enough to cater for four people, so for just the two of us, everything looked dainty and demure.
A tight ship is run at the Palm Court. On a three-tiered stand, initially only two plates are provided: desserts and sandwiches. Then partway through eating the sandwiches, an extra plate of sandwiches are placed on the third (previously empty) tier. The staff later asked if we wanted more sandwiches! Once the middle tier of sandwiches are devoured, a plate of scones replaces this tier, saving table space.
The staff also replaced the tea pots partway through the service and provided a spare pot of hot water so we needn’t ask for more. I really appreciated the smooth manoeuvring of plates. Also, for once we actually ate the desserts before the scones, which actually makes a lot of sense. After finishing the desserts and starting on the scones, we were directed to a trolley of desserts and cakes that they kept trying to tempt us with. Alas, we were too full.
When we visited, the sandwiches provided were:
- egg mayonnaise and watercress on a brioche roll;
- cucumber with cream cheese, dill, and chives;
- chicken with tarragon creamed mayonnaise;
- ham with mustard mayonnaise;
- salmon with lemon butter; and
- cheddar cheese with chutney.
The bread was fresh, and there were hints of flavours and little flourishes instead of heavy flavours. You could definitely taste the extra watercress and cucumber and the tiniest amounts of pickles – not too overpowering, which was nice.
There were three desserts which looked amazing. Though, truth be told, when I saw these weren’t cakes I was a little surprised. One dessert was inspired by banoffee pie. There was a cute little chocolate R for Ritz on top, and there was a lot of content inside which made it a bit difficult to scoop up and eat. I’m not the biggest fan of bananas, but this was definitely the best dessert I’ve ever had with bananas.
Next up was a raspberry biscuit dessert. This was a little difficult to eat as the biscuit was tough to cut into – as was the raspberry base. It got a little messy! But the raspberries and cream were super fresh.
Last was a beautiful, light strawberry mousse dessert. This was so deliciously light and delicate, with a jelly or jam filling to counteract the lightness of the mousse. This was divine – I only wish it was a little bigger.
Last but not least were the scones. One plain and one with currants, served with strawberry jam and clotted cream in their own tiny dishes. The scones were decently sized, any larger and we wouldn’t have been able to finish them. They were easy to cut and not crumbly at all. I usually prefer scones when they’re still warm and fresh from the oven. These weren’t warm but they were still pretty good scones.
And surprisingly, to my delight, we also received a cute little birthday cake. On the booking the hubby had noted that this was for my birthday, and the staff were very sweet to give me a birthday cake with a candle. This was unexpected and we had absolutely stuffed ourselves silly, but the staff put the cake in a little box for us to take home. This was the best vanilla sponge cake I have ever tasted!
The middle had cream and a delicate pomegranate jam or jelly, with fondant icing all over. The cake was amazing. I’m not too fond of fondant icing personally, but what a wonderful touch to an amazing afternoon tea.
Very traditional with the sandwich fillings, but with just the right hint of flavours not to be too overpowering – a very delicate meal. The desserts weren’t too sweet, which can often happen in afternoon tea places. The sweets were so light and delicate, bouncing off the tongue, definitely more-ish too and not heavy at all.
Definitely one of the best places I’ve been to for afternoon tea. Live piano music to Disney and popular songs, which was adorable. Very attentive staff and beautiful decor – it was a wonderful atmosphere. Would highly recommend and would definitely return in future.