* Prices may differ from that shown
Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially English tradition and one I was able to take part in during my recent visit to the Palm Court Restaurant at the Park Lane Hotel in London.
According to an article I read, the introduction of afternoon tea is usually credited to Anna, Seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the early 19th century. Apparently she became hungry between an early lunch and a later dinner one day and came up with the idea of a separate meal served in the relaxing atmosphere of her own bedroom to stave off her hunger pains and that of her guests. This tradition turned into afternoon tea as we know it and has become a firm British favourite ever since.
I was actually given the gift of Afternoon Tea from a friend for my 30th birthday. I had never really had a dedicated tea before. Of course I have had the scones and tea in various tea shops across the country on days out but this is a different thing all together. What I like about afternoon tea is that it is now seen as an event, something to do and enjoy with friends. It's become extremely popular amongst young people, probably due to the fact that a lot of them serve champagne as well as tea!!
Like I said the Palm Court Restaurant is located in the Park Lane Sheraton, Piccadilly, London. It's not far away from Buckingham Palace and some other London landmarks so it's perfectly situated for tea after a spot of sightseeing.
The restaurant itself is quite elegant and chic. It has an art deco style of architecture, quite bold wallpaper and lots of chandeliers, greenery etc. The room itself is quite long with a tables and couches on both sides and a huge bar at the end with a drinks cabinet on the wall. The chairs and couches were extremely comfortable and you could definitely sink into them and relax while you had your food. The lovely thing was that there is a harpist in the room playing beautiful music while you ate; it was I felt a real luxury and added an air of sophistication to the whole event.
According to their website the Park Lane Hotel was bestowed with an Award of Excellence by the United Kingdom Tea Council which was recognition for consistency on service and food quality through the years. Also, The Tea Guild 2007 called the Palm Court Lounge one of the most wonderful settings in which to take Afternoon Tea! I would agree; it was a perfect setting and perfect food which I will go into now.
We were shown to our seats by a very polite waiter and shown the menu from which to select our tea. Tea is served here from 3pm to 6pm. On the menu there are 30 different types of tea to choose from, from the plain (English Breakfast), to the exotic (Lapsang Souchong (as far as I'm concerned avoid at all costs!!)) and various fruit teas. I can definitely recommend the Green Mango. The tea came in lovely pots with proper strainers and was poured out by the wait staff. The nice thing was that they kept on coming back with refills, lovely and hot and I drank so much tea that day.
There are a couple of different package price options available depending on what you would like/want to pay. We just had the basic tea menu which was £27 pounds each. Firstly came a selection of finger sandwiches. Again we could have as many plates as which liked which was fabulous! The sandwiches came without their crusts on (very posh!) and were little but very tasty. They included egg, salmon, coronation chicken etc. On the next plate if there was one you did not like you could request that they bring you out something different instead.
After the sandwiches came the scones, clotted cream and preserves. The scones were white or wholemeal, freshly baked and still warm. They were extremely tasty and the jam looked home made which was nice.
After the scones was the final course, a variety of fine French pastries. I think there were four to choose from and we were able to choose two each. You could not have any more of this course but to be honest by the time we got here I had had so many sandwiches and scones that I was just about full anyway. I suggest that if you do go for a tea go hungry because you definitely get enough food to fill you up!
The other packages available at the Palm Court Hotel include:
A Strawberry Afternoon Tea - £36 per person
A Chocolate Afternoon Tea - £36 per person
An Art Deco Afternoon Tea - £34 per person
A Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut Afternoon Tea - £130 per couple
For more information I suggest visiting their website at www.palmcourtlondon.co.uk
I had a lovely time at this hotel/restaurant. The staff were friendly and well presented, the food was very tasty, the atmosphere lovely and relaxing and I definitely recommend tea as a great day out. It is also a great Christmas Present idea for those people who have everything and you are not sure what to buy for.
London's most prestigious lounge in the Park Lane Hotel.