Afternoon Tea

London-Afternoon-Tea

How many days until Christmas? Someone is counting somewhere. I’ve seen evidence on Twitter. It’s exciting and it’ll be amazing how, before we know it, we’ll be running around on Christmas Eve buying last-minute presents.

Surely that’s not just me? I’m quite the last minute shopper and when it comes down to Christmas and except for perhaps a holiday, anything to organise I tend to go with the flow. But the other week, I went along to a *drumroll* Christmas afternoon tea with a few bloggers. I say a few but there were quite a lot of us. So much so, I didn’t get to say hi to everyone. Both Selena from Oh, the places we will go! (I have to ask Selena next time I see her if her blog is reference to Dr. Seuss’s awe-inspiring read.) and Melanie from Sunny in London, did such a great job organising a fantastic afternoon tea that has raised the bar for me.

The location was Conrad London St. James, which you might have known as the formerly named Intercontinental London Westminster.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The setting was Christmas afternoon tea with bubbles.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

Our price included a glass but a few of us couldn’t resist a couple more. It was very easy to get in the mood, especially given our airy and light surroundings as a harpist entertained us. (We had a room all to ourselves, it was really quite fantastic.)

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The pastries and sandwiches all had a festive twist. And whilst I was particularly impressed with the venison bite in puff pastry, the brussel sprout palate cleanser truly surprised me because it was very pleasant and easy to enjoy.

Along with the sandwiches, which included smoked salmon & lemon crème fraîche, cured gammon & mustard as well as beetroot & spinach, I also really enjoyed the scones which arrived with clotted cream, home-made strawberry jam and blackberry curd.

And as we ate, drank and talked away, I thought the afternoon’s delights were what I saw before me. What I didn’t know – or any of us knew – was that the Christmas Snow Scene afternoon tea also included more treats. Many more treats.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

These …

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

A closer look below. Don’t they look scrumptious? They included, a winter berry Christmas tree, a chocolate orange Battenberg present, a snowflake macaroon, a white forest yule log, Christmas postcard marshmallows, mini meringue snowmen and edible snow. Amazing.

My favourite was definitely the winter berry Christmas tree which turned out to be a mousse when you cut into it. So light and tasty, I’d left the tree until the end and ended up wishing that I had started with it.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James HotelAs far as afternoon teas go, this one exercised both imagination and great craft. And when it comes to Christmas treats, I think this would be difficult to beat. An all-round wonderful experience with great company. Win, win.

Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway, London,SW1H 0BH. 

A couple of weekends ago I caught up with two very lovely bloggers, Angie from Silverspoon London and Melanie from Sunny in London, for what turned out to be an epic afternoon tea at La Brasserie that lasted for hours into the evening.

La Brasserie afternoon teaBut this wasn’t your average afternoon tea because contradictory to any expectations, there was actually no tea involved – just Champagne and cocktails – just how I like it.

Brasserie - CocktailsThis probably explains why I haven’t written many afternoon tea posts as I realised when Angie asked me about my favourite places: I’m not a big tea drinker. I’ve been to quite a few but I tend to opt for places where I can have cocktails with my cake. Or mocktails when I was pregnant.

At La Brasserie, we started with a glass of Champagne each …

La Brasserie Champagne… before moving onto the cocktails.

La Brasserie cocktailMy first was La Brasserie Martini (Belvedere Vodka, elderflower cordial, Château de Bligny Champagne with a twist of grapefruit), which came with its very own oyster! You probably wouldn’t expect to have an oyster during afternoon tea but I couldn’t say no to this delicious cocktail which I’d already tried once before.

What I loved about this French restaurant’s offering was its delicate and yet delicious servings. The scones were soft and tasty whilst the cakes were perfectly proportioned that the whole experience felt less guilty and more pleasure.

La Brasserie Afternoon TeaThe sandwiches were also very very good. The bread was light so each bite meant I could focus on the freshness of the fillings.

Brasserie Afternoon TeaWith a fantastic cocktail menu and great company, I’d lost track of time. And on a Saturday afternoon and into the evening, the restaurant remained buzzy with people coming and going.

So all I can say is that if you are looking for somewhere delicious for a girly catch-up, an afternoon tea with cocktails at La Brasserie is a very good place to consider!

At the time of writing this post, La Brasserie’s traditional afternoon tea was £16.50 and its Champagne afternoon tea was £26.50. For full details of their menus, click here.

Disclosure: The afternoon tea was complimentary for the purpose of the review but this certainly didn’t affect my opinion. The fact that La Brasserie is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary is testimony to how popular this place is in Chelsea.

Baby boy is too young for this but I wanted to share the details of The Kensington Hotel’s Children Afternoon Tea because I think it’s a great idea and I’ve seen first hand how much fun it is for the little ones and grown ups.

Children's Afternoon Tea

The concept is simple: afternoon tea for children and adults on the last Thursday of each month from 4pm to 5.30pm. But there is a twist. There is a different story each month, which is performed by The National Youth Theatre and the kids love it.

The theatricality is interactive so the children have a chance to get up and get involved, if they’re not sitting on cushions around the actor(s) listening attentively. It’s such a great after-school treat, I can’t wait until baby boy is old enough to go along.

If you’d like to find out more about the Children’s Afternoon Tea, click here. The next event will take place on March 27th and the next story which will be performed is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. What a classic!

Disclosure: The Kensington Hotel are a business client but this isn’t a sponsored post nor was I approached to write this post. I genuinely think this is a fab experience for the little ones.

1. Visit the Michelin-starred Chinese dim sum teahouse Yauatcha for lunch or afternoon tea.

Not only to try the limited edition desserts: Red Macarons filled with mandarin ganache and mandarin pâte de fruit as well as the Red Petits Gateaux, which are jasmine mousse filled with a honey panna cotta centre, caramelised mandarins and sesame brittle. But also because …

YAUATCHA AND HARVEY NICHOLS TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR

… each guest at Yauatcha will receive a red envelope containing vouchers for fashion and beauty treats, along with a bespoke Chinese New Year cocktail created by the Yauatcha and Harvey Nichols bar managers. The cocktail is also available at the Fifth Floor Bar.

Eight special golden tickets will also be given to guests at random, containing lavish prizes such as meals and cocktail masterclasses at Yauatcha and makeovers at Harvey Nichols.

2. Head to the White Horse pub in Parsons Green for Burns Night supper. Each of the five courses will be matched with a Brewmeister beer. You can see the full menu here.

3. Catch the last weekend of Daumier, 1808-1879, Visions of Paris at the Royal Academy of Arts. London Evening Standard describes the exhibition as “An exciting and astonishing exhibition, an aesthetic boxer’s blow to the heart.” More information

4. If you’re a Hobbs shoes fan, hurry to the Hobbs three day sample sale from 24th until 26th January 2014, at The Music Rooms. Here are the opening times as well as a list of other sample sales at the same venue.

5. If you love music soundtracks and fancy a nostalgic evening of live music locally. The Pink Singers will be performing A Night at the Movies at Cadogan Hall on Saturday night from 7pm. You can book your tickets here.

What’s your plan for Halloween this year? Will you be donning a fancy dress outfit and heading to the nearest party? Getting drunk with your mates and seeing who can carve the best pumpkin face? Or will you be taking your little ones trick or treating in your neighbourhood?

One way to get into the Halloween spirit is to indulge in the finer things in life with a spooky twist. From now until 31st October 2013, the Michelin-starred Chinese dim sum tea-house Yauatcha will be offering an exclusive range of seasonal macarons and chocolates available both à la carte and from the front-of-house patisserie.

They include Pear and Liquorice macarons; Pumpkin Spiced macarons and Halloween Toffee-Apple Eyeball Chocolates (white and dark chocolate eyeballs filled with green apple paté du fruit and salted caramel).

Halloween Afternoon Tea

Macarons are available from £1.60 each, £9 for 6 pieces or £18 for 12 pieces. The chocolate eyeballs are available for £3.50 for 40g; £8.50 for 100g. So you could pick up a gift-wrapped box and take it to a party or treat some lucky kid who knocks on your door.

If you want to sit down and savour each morsel for yourself at the restaurant, there is also Yauatcha’s Chilli Martini to wash the sweet treats down with. Yauatcha’s Chilli Martini which includes Belvedere vodka, Aperol Barbieri, chilli syrup, orange juice and Champagne is the perfect way to add a touch of sophisticated indulgence to this fun evening.

Happy Halloween!

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DL, www.yautacha.com.

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