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Afternoon tea at the Athenaeum
Member Name: Leolover
Date: 18/08/02, updated on 18/08/02 (2675 review reads)
Advantages: relaxed, informal setting, not as expensive as some other hotels, lovely food and tea
Afternoon tea – I just love it! It’s so me! A refreshing little pot of tea, yummy scones and cakey things....Mmmmm! Since my wonderful family treated me to afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel for my birthday last month, I’ve acquired quite a taste for the whole thing. So when a friend suggested we meet up in London this week, instead of the usual bar crawl we normally end up arranging, we decided to ‘take tea’ at one of the other London hotels – the Athenaeum.
The Athenaeum hotel is a beautiful hotel situated in Mayfair, about five minutes walk from Green Park station and ten minutes from Hyde Park Corner. It differs from some other renowned London hotels in that it has a friendly, informal atmosphere and welcome, despite its grand appearance and luxurious décor. The second you walk through the imposing front entrance, the door held open for you by a smiling doorman, you feel instantly relaxed and pampered.
A friendly concierge greeted us and showed us to the Windsor Lounge, where afternoon tea and light refreshments are served (evening meals are served in Bullochs, their restaurant, which I have tried and also heartily recommend for a special occasion – see earlier op). The Windsor lounge is furnished with big, comfy armchairs, squishy sofas and tables. It’s decorated in warm, earthy tones and is a lovely place to relax and unwind.
**** MENU AND PRICELIST
The afternoon tea menu offers the following selections :
Pot of tea - £2.50
Patisserie trolley - £2.75
Two scones, jam and cream, pot of tea of your choice - £10.50
Finger sandwiches (egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cucumber and dill, chicken salad), Two scones with butter, jam and cream, cream cake selection, pot of tea of your choice - £17.00
Finger sandwiches (egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cucumber and dill, chicken salad), Two scones with butter,
jam and cream, cream cake selection, pot of tea of your choice, glass of champagne - £19.50
Being the geedy hedonists that we are, my friend and I went for the last option on the list, and I’m glad we did, ‘cos the champagne was lovely!
The sandwiches were dainty and delicious, the scones were superb – still warm from the oven – and accompanied by a good selection of jams and a huge pot of clotted cream. We had a cake each – I opted for a fluffy chocolate mousse thing and my friend chose a strawberry tart – both scrumptious. The perfect afternoon tea selection.
We tried the Earl Grey tea, which was very nice indeed – proper tea served from a delicate china teaset, and with plenty of hot water to top it up. Other teas available included English breakfast, Ceylon, Lapsang Suchong and the special Athenaeum blend.
The champagne was lovely – quite sweet and fruity and well chilled. I was tempted to order another glass but managed to resist the urge!
Our waitress was charming and friendly. She didn’t have to constantly hang around to see if we needed anything because each table was supplied with a call button you could use to summon someone when you needed them. As a consequence our tea was relaxed and unhurried, we could take as much time as we liked to sit, eat, drink and chat, confident in the knowledge that our waitress could be ‘summoned’ in seconds!
The Athenaeum is the perfect place to take afternoon tea after a hectic mornings shopping or to catch up with old friends. The atmosphere and approach is relaxed and informal, but you still really feel like you’re treating yourself. For a more special occasion, I’d probably opt for somewhere like the Lanesborough or The Ritz – they’re a bit more stately and formal.
le to book afternoon tea at the Athenaeum, especially if you intend to take a large number of people along, or are planning to go at the weekend, as they’re quite a popular venue.
**** HOW TO GET THERE
The Athenaeum Hotel – 116 Piccadilly
Tel: 0207 499 3464
Fax: 0207 493 1860
From Green Park Tube Station – Exit at the entrance to the park and turn left. Walk about five minutes towards Mayfair and the hotel is just across the road.