I am sure that you are all very much aware now, of my love of an afternoon tea. When I was approaching my 40th birthday, my husband suggested writing a list, almost like a bucket list, of 40 things that I would like to do over the next few years. (you can read about The List in these two posts if you would like, here and here). One of the items on the list, was to sample as many afternoon teas as possible. (See what I did there, it cunningly went on the list as one item, yet is an ongoing treat, the gift that keeps on giving you could say…….)
My Mum’s birthday is in January, and everyone always gets that after Christmas slump, so I like to do something for her birthday that gives her a treat to look forward to. When we were in London the first week of January to go and see the musical Everyones Talking About Jamie, (its fabulous, I fully recommend it) we went into Cafe Royal Hotel as we often do, for cocktails. To get to the cocktail bar in the hotel, after passing the most amazing floral displays in the lobby, you walk through a reception room that has display cabinets along the corridor, and on this occasion, the most amazing smell that hit you as soon as you walked in. The cabinets are full of the most stunning Jimmy Choo shoes, (you may have seen them on my Instagram stories) fine jewellery, and Diptique candles. There are also candles lit along the pathway you walk down, and this of course was the source of the amazing scent.
Now, being a shoe fiend, I always stop to ooohhh and ahhhh over the shoes, and also wanted to see what fragrance the candles were. I saw that the candles were to celebrate the collaboration that the hotel was doing with Diptique, in way of a limited edition, themed afternoon tea. Candles and cake, two of my obsessions combined! How blooming lovely! A mental note was made to look into it for Mum’s birthday, my dreams of ever owning the crystal encrusted shoes were pushed to the side and I went to join Mum in the bar for our Kia Royales’
Afternoon tea is served in the Oscar Wilde Lounge, and walking into the lounge at Cafe Royal Hotel, is a sight to behold. It is just beautiful. Very grand, very opulent, and just so very special with its original ornate detailing. The lounge, formerly called Grill Room, dates back to the 1800’s and was renamed in honour of the hotels most loved patron. It was in this room that Oscar Wilde fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust and Elizabeth Taylor came to dance the night away. Oh how I would love it if those walls could talk! Imagine the stories they could tell……
Once we had taken our seats on the gorgeous, pink velvet button backed chairs, our afternoon tea itself started with a beautiful, cold glass of champagne. Of course, as you would expect in a place of such graduer, it was poured by the waitress with such flourish, and a pianist was playing soft music, creating atmosphere and ambience. Any dietry requirements were noted and we were left to soak up the ambience and enjoy our drinks.
The food we were served at this afternoon tea was beautiful. Delicate finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and preserve, tiny pastries and deserts that were intricate works of art. You had a selection of 30 teas to choose from too! I chose the Elizabeth Taylor Earl Grey to accompany my savoury course, and it was delicious. Between your savoury and sweet courses, you are served an “amuse bouche” to cleanse your palette. This was a cold, delicate minty and berry drink that was delicious. It was a welcome interlude between the courses.
The cakes and pastries take their inspiration and flavours from the Diptique candles most popular wintery scents, so berries and rose are given a nod. The food was plentiful, interesting flavours and amazing. My second tea that I chose, The Oscar, was the weirdest tea I have ever had with its smoked, oaky taste, but I actually really liked it. It was different. I like different.
One of the things we loved most about this afternoon tea, was how un-rushed it was. We were left to enjoy our drinks, sandwiches were eaten without rush and we felt totally relaxed and could sit back and soak it all in. A little while after our sweet course was served, we heard the pianist start to play Happy Birthday, and our waitress came over with a slate tray with truffles and Happy Birthday written on it for Mum. It was so unexpected! I did not know they were going to do this, and assume it was because when I booked it I had mentioned it was a treat for my mums birthday. What a lovely gesture and great service. It made mum feel special, although she felt a little shy when everyone clapped haha.
We really had the most wonderful, fabulous day and this afternoon tea is very special. Although the Diptique one has finished now, they do others throughout the year. I would fully recommend this, award winning afternoon tea. The setting alone makes you feel like you are really experiencing a treat. The perfect ending was when they brought over two gift bags for mum and I, with a Diptique candle in the hotels signature Baies scent to take home, full details here if you love candles.
Whenever I light the candle at home, it will be a lovely reminder of a wonderful day. Perfect!
Do you enjoy afternoon tea? Like me, do you enjoy being all fancy for a day? I always feel like its a glimpse of how the other half live, do you? As it is an ongoing quest to sample all the afternoon teas that London has to offer, Id love to hear any recommendations you have.
Disclaimer – please excuse the picture quality in this post. My big camera was playing up so I had to use my phone, in artificial light. Not great but the afternoon tea was too lovely not to share with you all. Forgive me…