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I think for those of you that know me, the words afternoon tea and Kerry go together like egg and chips, beans on toast, Brad and Jen (ok that last one is just my wish, I have never quite got over the golden couple splitting) I just blinking well love getting a little dressed up, and going to a beautiful venue to eat posh sandwhiches and cake. The Pret a Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley was our latest discovery.
In December every year, Mum and I go into London to sample one of the many festive afternoon teas that the capital has on offer. This year we chose the famous Pret A Portea at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge. This fashion-ista themed tea has been around for a long time, and is always inspired by the trends on the catwalk. Now, Im no fashionista, but give me a cake shaped like a Prada handbag and I will love you for it. This is the theme of what you get at this tea. Your sweet treats are all inspired by an item on the catwalk, or an iconic item from the fashion archives. Cute eh!
The Berkeley is a gorgeous hotel, really lovely and it has that oppulence and granduaer what you would expect of one of the Cities well known hotels. Outside, you will be wowed by their famous “snowfall” christmas lighting. A swathe of gold, silver and white fairy lights cascading down from the roof of the entrance to the hotel.
The doors are opened for you by the uniformed doormen, and you walk in to a festive, but incredibly classy decor. Large Christmas trees, their branches adorned with beautiful ornaments are in every corridor, candle light and fairy lights welcome you in with their twinkling. It is a beautiful hotel. The hotel is situated just off of the main road in Knightsbridge, so you have the shopping and boutiques of Belgravia and Knightsbridge on your door step. After our afternoon tea we decided to walk the calories off a little with the ten minute stroll down to Fortnum and Mason. If you are in this part of London at christmas, you must see the Fortnum and Mason windows, always amazing.
Mum and I always like to start our afternoons festivities with a cocktail in a swanky cocktail bar. We decided to have our drinks in the Blue Bar at The Berkeley, as its cocktail choices are legendary. I opted for a champagne cocktail, while Mum went for a martini. They were delicious. We sat and enjoyed the drinks, taking in the christmas decorations and atmosphere that The Berkeley does so well. When it was time to go to our table, our waitress took our drinks for us and escorted us to our table in the Collins Room.
As is tradition with afternoon tea, you start with finger sandwiches and savouries. The savouries were little dishes of the most beautiful quinoa salad and tuna bites. Delicious. I adore finger sandwiches. There is just something about eating these little slices of loveliness with the crusts cut off and delicious fillings. For the first time ever, I even asked for more. They were gorgeous. I had meat free options, so things like egg and cress, humous and cream cheese. Yum. You also get a huge choice of teas to choose from. I always like to try something different with my tea, so while Mum went for traditional English Breakfast, I had a darjeeling with rose and ceylon. It was delicious. We had also opted for the tea that gives you a chilled glass of champagne, so this was served to us with our savoury course.
You are not rushed through your food in any way. We were left alone after the savoury course, to enjoy our tea and let the food go down a little. It gave us oppertunity to admire the beautiful gingerbread houses that had been made by the hotel, and were set in a display near to where we were sitting. They were gorgeous. After a suitable length of time, out came the sweet treats. There were biscuits, sponge cakes and decadent chocolate offerings. Amongst other things, there was Victoria Beckhams iconic handbag, a Valentino orange dress, Prada handbag and Fendi cowboy boots. All were beautifully presented and fun. Mum and I ate just one item each, and had the rest boxed up. I think the extra sandwhiches were our undoing and we just couldnt fit more in…….
I do have a small gripe at this stage. We had booked this particular tea, as it was a “festive afternoon tea” There was absolutely nothing festive about the food. We asked our waitress what the “festive” part was, and she said that we had the option to have a glass of mulled wine instead of champagne. That was it. Now, if you read the menu on The Berkeley website, it says, “We will be serving festive pret-a-porte. This will include our fashion-inspired delicacies, as well as festive treats and a glass of Laurent-Perrier (or your choice of non-alcoholic beverage).” There was nothing festive inspired on this tea, except my coffee to finish was served with snowflake design on the top.
Although everything was delicious and amazing, we were a little disappointed. These afternoon teas are not cheap. We would have booked an alternative venue if we had known that it wasn’t festive. I feel the website misled us a little. We did the Claridges one last year, and you were given a beautifully boxed Christmas cake as a gift to take home, and some of the sweet course was Christmassy. It was a little disappointing that this one did not match up.
That being said, it was a wonderful afternoon, a fashionably fabulous afternoon tea, and as ever, great to spend time with my Mum in the City we love. It was just our expectation that the tea would somehow be festive that marred it a little, not the afternoon tea itself. Its our tradition to have a really Christmassy day together, see the London lights, shop in the big stores, and of course, eat lots of cake!
You can see full details of the Pret A Porte afternoon tea here
So, what do you think? Are you an afternoon tea fan? Do you have any little Christmas traditions that you do each year? I would love to hear about them.