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Im sure you read that title and thought jeeeez Kerry, you love an afternoon tea! You would be right of course, I blooming love them, and themed ones even more so. It is my mission to go to as many as possible in London, not only because of the experience itself, but because you get to see all of these beautiful hotels. The afternoon tea with Beauty and the Beast at Kensington Hotel in London was launched at the start of the year, but sold out very quickly. We had missed the boat. Then, a couple of weeks ago a friend had managed to acquire some tickets as someone she knew was unable to go, so I jumped at the chance for two of them. A nice little treat for me and my Mum that I thought Id not get to sample.
The Kensington Hotel is located about 5 minutes walk from South Kensington station, so its really easy to get to. That part of London is always nice to wander through as you have all these little mews roads, the houses within them with gorgeous window boxes and beautifully cared for. The hotel itself is located on the very corner of two roads, and as you approach, a bowler hat wearing doorman opens the door for you with a cheery welcome. I always feel so fancy when you get that at a hotel. I also always get the crippling fear that it will be at this point, as Im trying to look like Im always being greeted by doorman coz I am so fancy, I fall off my heels or trip up my own feet. So far, Iv averted that disaster but I know, one day………
The Kensington Hotel is very pretty. The entrance has a little terrace with black and white striped cushions and a vintage bike. Its too cute! Inside, it has lots of little nooks and crannys that you can sit in, and the dining area that we were shown too had cabinets full of books! I don’t need to tell you how happy that made me. Tea, cake, books, thats my utopia right there! As you went through to the table, there was also a table at the restaurant entrance adorned with the Rose in the glass dome, Lumiere the candlestick and Cogsworth the clock. I was so excited!
We were shown to our table and left to look at the tea menu. There was lots of teas to choose from as is normal at high tea, but we chose good ole English Breakfast, which is unusual for me, I tend to try something a bit weird. The tables were set very traditionally, with crisp table cloths, napkins and high gloss china. I was a little surprised to see that there wasn’t really anything to indicate the theme at the tables, other than biscuits shaped as Belle’s dress. I have to say, it was a shame that the scene wasn’t set right from the off I think. Any other themed afternoon tea we have been to has had the china in the theme, and the whole table was dressed to theme. I know some people would take their children, especially little girls, to the Disney themed afternoon teas and I think it would be nicer if they walked in to it from the off? Just my own opinion.
Along with your chosen tea, the first thing you are served is a little plate of savouries. Mine was the vegetarian choice so it was a mushroom pastry, a cheese soufflé and a vegetable tartlet. Unfortunately, there was a little mix up and when I cut into one of the savouries, I knew straight away that it was meat! They had served me venison! Thankfully, it went nowhere near my mouth, but it was not great. The waiter was mortified, and couldn’t apologise enough. The maitre’d also came over and was so apologetic. We were given a glass of champagne by way of apology, and a new dish was served.
The main event was of course the tiered stand of finger sandwiches and sweet treats! This was brought over, along with Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts the tea pot to decorate our table. They were so cute! The cake stand also had a mousse served in a little “Chip” cup (another character from the story for those not in the know), a marzipan cake as the character Cogsworth. There was also a jelly with an edible rose petal suspended in it. The idea was you poured cream from Mrs Potts onto the top of the jelly to create your desert. I don’t like cream so I didn’t do that, but it was a cute idea. On the lower tear was some brioche battens, (to represent the baguette scene in the story).
Now I do have another little niggle here. One of the beautiful little Chip cups that the mousse was served in, had a big chip out of it. We mentioned it to the waitress, who replied with “yes they do sometimes get chipped when we are washing them up”! Now, in my opinion, I would never serve someone in my home anything on or in chipped table wear, let alone in a high end hotel! It made it worse that they were aware that it was chipped, yet served it anyway. I know I can be a fussy cow, but I don’t think that serving chipped china is ever acceptable. Do you?
Of course, it didnt detract from the food and the wonderful day we had, but it would certainly mean that I wouldnt rush back to this hotel, even though it was beautiful. There was plenty of food, and on the most part we did enjoy the offerings, but I have to say I have enjoyed other afternoon teas that we have attended, (and I have covered on the blog, the Diptique one I reviewed here was amazing value) far more. The price for the afternoon tea is around £55 with a glass of champagne, so they are pricing themselves up in the higher price bracket, yet the attention to detail and standard were lacking in my opinion. Its such a shame as it really is a beautiful hotel in a lovely part of London.
So, my final verdict. It was a wonderful day with my Mum in London as always, but we were a little disappointed by the afternoon tea. It almost felt like they traded off of the popularity of the film, but didn’t provide the standard and effort I would expect from a hotel of this calibre. I can imagine that small children would delight in the wonder of it all, but it just missed the mark for us. Still, it was another one to tick off of our list in our quest to try as many London high teas as possible! Time spent with my Mum is never wasted, so it was overall a wonderful day.