Afternoon tea Claridge's Style
Written: May 23, 2001
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Elegant, beautiful, THE thing to do if you can't get into the Ritz!
Cons:The price (whoa!) and the fact that most of the other diners are tourists too
The Bottom Line: Go for the experience, not for the food, and take your camera!
Calling Claridge's home when staying in London is something that few of us can aspire to; however, afternoon tea is definitely achievable!
We decided to have a mother's day tea at Claridge's, although we were staying elsewhere. When we rang to book, we were told that there was no space available for over a month! Disappointed, we decided to go shopping instead, and when we neared the hotel, ran in to check that there had been no cancellations. Fortuitously, there was space for us and we eagerly entered the foyer to check out how the other half live.
The foyer is amazing - it is huge, white, marble and mirrored, with real silver leaf decorating pillars. Between two pillars lies the area in which afternoon tea is served. There is a central pillar, with an enormous flower arrangement on top, around which people can sit for tea. Then there are low tables with plush green chairs for larger groups (including us).
When settled, immaculately dressed waiters offer you a selection of menus; basically you can choose first between afternoon tea with or without champagne, and then select the tea you wish to drink. Champagne adds about $20 to the cost. The tea menu is fabulous - never have I seen such an array of teas! You can ask for as many 'top-ups' as you like while you sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
The other diners are mostly tourists, dressed in their best, resplendant with cameras and backpacks over suit coats and cashmere. However, the nonchalance and apparent apathy of some immaculately attired diners gives them away as THE REAL THING! They sit and read the financial times whilst sipping at endless cups of tea and barely touching their food!
Ah - the food. Come prepared not to be filled full of fabulous tucker, but to taste tantalising tidbits. Whilst the selection is predictable (a tray of sandwiches, one of scones and one of petit fours - on a multilayered trolley) the quantity is minimal. The taste, however, is super.
I'd recommend tea at Claridge's to anyone who wants to experience a real British afternoon tea and is willing to pay the price (about $US45). While you're there, check out the pictures on the walls - there's one of Prince Charles as a boy. And don't forget to go to the bathroom - when you're done, a sink of warm water has been prepared for you, soap is squirted into your hands, a warm towel is offerred and you then sit in front of large mirrors to fix your makeup and select from any of the fragrances on offer to refresh! An experience!
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