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Afternoon tea at the Athenaeum,Mayfair
Member Name: cerys82
Advantages: Delicious food, great service
My bridesmaid arranged for us to have 'afternoon tea' at the Athenaeum Hotel, Mayfair this summer as part of my London hen weekend. I thought that this was a really nice special, girly and indulgent way to spend on an afternoon without the hustle and bustle of crowds. The Atheneum is a short walk from Green Park tube station.
On arriving we were escorted to a lower floor room and shown to our seats. The room was pleasantly classically decorated, and we were placed in the garden room rather than the restaurant (which they use for afternoon tea when too many people have booked.) this meant that we got to have a good view of the Athenaeum's famous vertical garden.
On being seated you can choose which afternoon tea option that you want. The price of a regular (read non-alcoholic) is £26.50, the same but with Kir Royale is £34.00 and one with a glass of Lautree Rose Champagne is £42.00. Being a special occasions, we opted for the champagne variety!
We were then presented with a wooden book which listed all of the teas which they had available with a brief description of their flavour and samples of the tea leaves behind some casing. They varied from the traditional aromatics such as Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong to green and white teas some of which are heavily flavoured with fruit.
Shortly afterwards, the tea and champagne arrived, the tea infusing in a pot and the champagne with a flower. (A lot of the items available during the course of the meal contain flowers - in tribute to their special garden, and also I imagine to make their particular afternoon tea menu stand out from the crowd.
The first course of sandwiches came around, they were all presented to us on a plate and we were told what each of them were made of and what bread was used. Once we had selected them they were placed on our plate for us. They were all finely cut and crustless, wonderfully flavoured, delicious and moreish.
After another round of sandwiches came the scones. One each of regular and orange blossom, warmed and wrapped in a heated cloth with lemon curd, clotted cream and the most sublime strawberry jam that I have ever tasted.
Then came the piece de resistance the cake trolley. It was brought to us and we were descriptions of each of the many items - a veritable feast of regular cake, loaf cake, cupcakes, chocolates, meringues, pastries and champagne jellies. There is literally too much to choose from but somehow we managed (!). All of the items that we individually tried were delicious and often delicately flavoured with floral elements - eg rosewater meringues, lemon drizzle cake with lavender topping. It was also at about this time that we were offered another pot of tea.
Following this mammoth session we were then given the option of having teacakes or crumpets. We opted for the crumpets and they came with lavender infused butter.
We truly had a wonderful afternoon. The food and presentation was immaculate as was the service. The staff really could not do enough for you. It felt special which, I feel, is exactly what you want from something like this. I lost track of time but feel that we must have been there around 3 hours. We left thoroughly filled up - due to the way that the meal was spread out and due to the fact that we found it hard to resist the temptation to try everything.
I think that given that this was a 5 star hotel in Mayfair and the sheer quality and quantity of food and excellent service that it was extremely good value for money and certainly no more expensive than going out for a good regular meal and a few drinks, and half the price of The Ritz!
It truly was a lovely, fun, indulgent experience that we thoroughly enjoyed and that I would recommend to anybody who wants to do something special as a treat and I would certainly do it again. If you want more information on the current menu, take a look at the Athenaeum website as all of the details are on there.
Summary: A fantastic way to spend an indulgent afternoon