Champagne

Where-to-drink-champagne-in-london

Yesterday’s non-stop rain reminded me of the last time we saw such a persistent downpour. I’d spent the afternoon at No.11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel which some of you may know I love. I also reviewed the hotel’s restaurant last year and as a result I was so pleased to be spending a rainy afternoon in such a gorgeous setting a few weeks ago. This place is really one of my favourite gems in Chelsea.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelFiona from London Unattached kindly invited me along to review No.11’s afternoon tea which had been originally set up in the room above but for the sake of getting a good photo, we moved into the conservatory area instead. Still, as usual with this place, I couldn’t resist snapping away because the details of each room are a great reason to enjoy the hotel.

Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelCouldn’t you spend an afternoon lounging on this sofa?

Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

As for the afternoon tea, No.11 offers a reasonably priced menu that can include a glass of Champagne if you’d like to add some sparkles to your day.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

And for me the highlight of the afternoon tea has to be No.11’s crème brûlée which I really enjoyed.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

These moist and delicious cakes were also quite something. As Fiona mentioned in her review, it was certainly a refreshing change to be given slices of real cakes which added to the sense of indulgence, along with sipping Champagne as the rain beat down on the glass roof of the hotel’s conservatory. A great way to spend an afternoon.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

No.11’s afternoon tea allows you to enjoy a sumptuous nook in the hotel or to expand the experience to include a group of friends in another room or corner. For me, the surroundings were as delicious as the crème brûlée that I still remember.

No.11 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2RJ. Disclaimer: Fiona and I were guests of the hotel. 
Chelsea Girl

This week started the best way it could – with afternoon tea at Corinthia Hotel London. Fiona from London Unattached had invited me to try their new Childhood Memories afternoon tea menu which is the creation of the hotel’s new head pastry chef Sarah Barber and which is designed to turn back the clocks to remind us of our favourite childhood treats.
Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

And I can’t think of a more luxurious setting for such a wonderful idea.
Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

When Fiona arrived we were served a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé each. You also have the choice of Laurent-Perrier Brut or no Champagne with your afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

But for me, I was thinking pink with all the fun cakes on their way. Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

The Childhood Memories afternoon tea started with a selection of sandwiches that included: Loch Var smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive coronation chicken; egg mayonnaise and watercress; Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and piccalilli roast beef and creamed horseradish; as well as Severn and Wye Smoked Trout and Cucumber. All of the finger sandwiches were very good; the fillings tasty.

Afternoon Tea, Corinthia Hotel London

As for the scones, faultless. And whilst I normally enjoy clotted cream and jam on my scones, I don’t think I have ever tried afternoon tea where I decided to abandon any guilt of indulgence as much as I did on Monday because the clotted cream was divine. Normally one spoonful is enough but in this case I felt the need to keep my scone topped up.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

After the scones, we moved onto the cakes which included a Snickers slice with peanut mousse, tanariva and aerated salted caramel; a Crunchy Toffee Cream; and a Strawberries & Cream tart with wild strawberry mousseline and lemon curd.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

On the other plate there was the BFG cake which was a chocolate cherry gateaux with kirsch chantilly and kirsch cherries; a Jaffa Cake; a Rose Choquette with raspberry lychee cremeux, rose choux bun, and crystallised roses; as well as a Bubblegum Macaron covered in hundreds and thousands.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel LondonAll of the English Tea Fancies were divine, so much so it would have been a sin to not try every single one of them. The Snickers (formerly known as a Marathon bar) was sublime; light in texture and wholly reminiscent of what it is supposed to taste like. The Bubblegum Macaroon truly tastes like bubblegum sparking nostalgia in a most enjoyable way. And as for the BFG? Anything with a slice of Roald Dahl gets my vote and especially if it tastes as delicious as this.

As for my pot of tea, I enjoyed the Dragon Phoenix Pearl Falls which is a jasmine tea blended with jasmine flower. Wonderful!

Overall the Childhood Memories afternoon tea is very similar to the hotel it is served in. There is a real pleasure in looking at it; time stands still to allow you to savour every detail; and by the time you walk away, you know you’ve just experienced one of the best. And I have no reservations in recommending this fantastic menu.

Childhood Memories Afternoon Tea is served in The Lobby Lounge at the hotel until 31st August and is priced from £50. For further information please visit Corinthia Hotel London’s website.

Disclaimer: Fiona and I were guests of Corinthia Hotel London and I would like to thank them for an exceptional afternoon tea as well as a fantastic start to the week.

Visitors to London love the city because of all it has to offer: the history, the culture, the shopping and the pace and range of excitement with its events and new openings. This city never stops.

As a Londoner, sometimes it’s difficult to keep up and yet the thrill of never being bored is one of the reasons why I could never live anywhere else.

So when you step into Harrods Georgian Restaurant on the 4th floor, a place where there is a feeling that time stands still, you experience something unique that allows you to relax and simply take in your surroundings.
The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

The Georgian opened in 1913 and still retains some of its original features. If you look up, you will see the details that made me feel we were onboard the Titanic at one point. And recently The Georgian has been refurbished under the guidance of bespoke interior designer, Christopher Guy Harrison, who sought “inspiration from the elegance of the 1920s and 1930s [so] the room fuses modernism and classicism to create the perfect environment for guests.”

I particularly love the ballerina-inspired chairs, which are just beautiful. If you visit the Georgian, take a look at details on the back of the chairs and see how the legs are crafted to convey the legs of a ballerina. Exquisite craftsmanship.

The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

I’m no stranger to the Georgian restaurant but last week was my first visit without Little Man when I wasn’t also in too much of a rush. I met up with Angie and as usual time ran away with us. The conversation just flowed and I felt like I was in the perfect setting for it.

But with such a rich historical context, it is easy to assume that the menu may be lacking in contemporary dishes. This is very much not the case.

Wilmer Valderrama

After receiving our glass of Champagne Rosé each …
The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

… Angie enjoyed her seared tuna carpaccio with …
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… aubergine purée, caponata dressing and baby basil cress whilst I …
Harrods Georgian Restaurant

… indulged in the foie gras terrine with smoked duck breast, rhubarb and cucumber chutney and a truffle muffin. This starter was sublime and whilst I don’t usually eat bread before my main, I couldn’t help but finish off the muffin. The rhubarb and cucumber chutney also gave the dish a special touch. The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

For main, Angie ordered the delicious and very healthy looking Georgian native lobster salad with courgette flowers, Minus 8 ice wine vinaigrette and candied black olives.The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

And I thoroughly enjoyed my smoked Scottish monkfish with shaved parma ham, cantaloupe melon and yuzu gel.
The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

I also had to have a side of truffle chips, which were irresistible and a real treat. 
The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods

Before having to pull myself away from such a gorgeous lunch, Angie ordered a mint tea whilst I had a coffee when these petit fours arrived at our table. I tried to practise restraint after such a satisfying lunch but I simply couldn’t resist. The mini éclair and mini cream cake were both divine. I’m not surprised this place is also popular for afternoon tea. Harrods Georgian Restaurant And as I left Harrods, walking through one of the most renowned shopping destinations in the world, and stepped onto busy as usual Knightsbridge, returning to my fast paced life, I carried the feeling of the Georgian restaurant along with me throughout the rest of the day: relaxing, indulgent and effortlessly timeless. Chelsea Girl

 

Disclaimer: Angie and I were invited to try the lunchtime menu, which I would happily return to enjoy all over again with some friends or my family. The whole experience from the staff and setting to the food and ambience was a real treat. 

A girl can treat her guy and I personally love spoiling mine. On this occasion I decided to take the OH to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for his birthday lunch where … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… before we were seated, we enjoyed aperitifs at the Mandarin Bar. The OH ordered a Gibson Martini in honour of World Martini Day and I had a glass of Moët et Chandon Rosé. Sitting in the salubrious environs of this low-lit bar, we weren’t prepared for … 

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… Dinner’s dining room. Our seats by the window extended our culinary experience into Hyde Park where we could admire the lush scenery. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Already impressed, we were then blown away by the personal service from the maître d’ who treated us to a glass of Champagne after graciously apologising for the power cut which scuppered our last visit. In fact throughout our entire lunch, we felt very much at ease with the staff at Dinner. We laughed as the OH tried and tested a couple of wines and the conversation flowed with the rest of Dinner’s team. Two Michelin stars aside, this is easily one of the most down to earth restaurants I’ve ever been to. It was an absolute delight from beginning to end.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As for the food … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH had the Frumenty (c.1730) dish, which included a grilled octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage.Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

And I had to have the Meaty Fruit (c.1500), mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread, which I absolutely loved.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For my main, I then had the chicken cooked with lettuces (c.1670), which included grilled onion emulsion, spiced celeriac sauce & oyster leaves. I tend not to order chicken when I eat out. For some reason, I don’t feel like it’s an exciting dish to order because I like to go off piste if I can and also because a lot of the time chicken tends to be overcooked. But we were at one of the Worlds Best 50 restaurants and I knew I couldn’t go wrong here. The chicken was deliciously tender and I savoured every bite of it.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For main, the OH ordered the roast Iberico pork chop (c.1820), which also included smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mead, Robert sauce. And he loved it!

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

My choice of dessert was the Sambocade (c.1390). I’ve always been curious to try a cheese cake that wasn’t made from cow’s milk so I was excited to order this dish which involved a goats milk cheese cake, elderflower & apple, roast figs & smoked candied walnuts. This is definitely one for goats cheese fans, which I am most certainly one. And I particularly enjoyed the roast figs that accompanied this dessert.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH chose the classic pudding at Dinner, the Tipsy Cake (c.1810) which also included a slice of spit roast pineapple. YUMMY! Food envy finally caught up with me here. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As much as we savoured each dish, we also relished in the notion that there was a story behind each of them. The numerical accompaniments to the name of each dish are years. This satisfied the culinary geek in the OH and this piqued my storytelling interest. But the fact of the matter is that you do end up leaving Dinner feeling that you’ve only scratched the surface of what is wonderful about this place.

Yes, the service is fantastic …
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

…. and everything you try tastes great … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal… but if you can catch a glimpse of the kitchen, which is open for passersby by to look into, or if you can take your time to research the origins of each dish, you may start to grasp the real essence of Dinner where history and modern technology meet in the middle for a culinary adventure.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

Last week I met up with Fiona for afternoon tea at The Rosebery inside the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. I’d been to the hotel a few times, either to Bar Boulud, the Mandarin Bar or their spa. But this was the first time I had visited The Rosebery itself.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

When you enter the hotel, its dark rich interior doesn’t prepare you for the spectacular light and modern design of The Rosebery. Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

From the corridor, the lights were the first to impact on me and walking inside I was struck by the huge sense of space. The tall windows and the unfussy furniture gives The Rosebery’s rooms a sense of comfort and style to relax in.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

Fiona and I were, in our general fashion, the first to arrive. This makes it great for us to take photos and to soak up the feeling of the place before it fills up, which The Rosebery did. By the time we left, there were friends, families and men in suits enjoying afternoon tea or some other wonderful treat from The Rosebery’s menu.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

As for Fiona and I, we were here for the afternoon tea which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Afternoon tea is served with a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. Or you could have either a glass of Ruinart Rosé or Krug Grande Cuvée if you prefer.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The selection of homemade pastries included an amber pyramid with floral essence, a meringue basket with berry cremeux, lilac macaron with chocolate ganache and violet petals, choux éclair with mint and coconut filling, and a white chocolate dome with jasmine.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The sandwiches were a real delight too. The bread was wonderfully light and the fillings so delicate yet tasty. I hadn’t had any lunch by the time I arrived so I enjoyed two servings of sandwiches which I had no problem doing so. These sandwiches were testament to how difficult it is to get it completely right. Sandwiches are a staple, they’re everywhere, so just like coffee it’s easy to just consume something for the sake of it. But when you do come across some that are this good, it really feels like a treat.

The fillings on this plate included slow roasted organic chicken and buttered corn, smoked salmon tartar with crème fraîche and dill, Cotswold egg and mustard cress, cucumber and cream cheese, Portland crab and crayfish fondue on brioche and Wiltshire cured ham and heritage tomatoes. A great selection.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

And as much as the food is good here, I also enjoyed the fine details of The Rosebery. This amber apple that hangs off the stand on which the afternoon tea plates sit … Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

… as well as the beautiful designs on the crockery that arrived on the table.
Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

But most of all, I enjoyed the madeleines on this plate which were easily the best I’ve ever had. So wonderfully moist and flavoursome, it feels difficult to go back to the run-of-the-mill.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

As for the scones, I’m not a huge expert on scones but I know good scones are hard to find. These were balanced in their texture and moistness. And they were very easy to enjoy.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The tea I chose was an apricot white tea, which was divine both in taste and aroma.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

I also sneaked in a soya flat white which complimented my macaron very well. Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

When it comes to afternoon tea the experience is made up of the setting as well as the food and drink. And when it comes to The Rosebery, I think they excel in both in spades. I wholly recommend a visit.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin OrientalFiona and I were treated to complimentary afternoon tea for the purpose of this review and I would happily return as a customer.

The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7L.

Chelsea Girl

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