I had heard that many people’s favorite spot for traditional afternoon tea in London is the iconic Dorchester Hotel, so naturally this was my first choice when trying it out for the first time last week.
Walking in to the hotel, there is an area above the entrance called “the balcony” which is where you are seated if you choose the vintage afternoon tea. To me that area looked slightly dull so I was very pleased when the receptionist pointed the way to the promenade – a beautiful long restaurant with stunning interior.
Our table was perfectly located on the corner alongside the wall which made it more cosy and relaxed in comparison to the ones in the middle that looked a bit more formal. Although the restaurant was quite busy on Saturday afternoon, this wasn’t noticed because of the good distance between the tables and the pianist who was playing live music in the background, adding to the beautiful atmosphere. The restaurant attracts tourists as well as locals. I spotted families, ladies having gatherings and children treating their parents which I found sweet.
The tea collection was extensive – we chose Jasmine tea and Vanilla tea, both which were very nice. Shortly after the tea was served, they brought a selection of unlimited finger sandwiches:
* Chicken with wholegrain mustard mayonnaise on basil bread
* Ham and mustard on granary bread
* Cucumber with cream cheese on caraway seed bread
* Egg mayonnaise with shiso cress on white bread
* Smoked salmon on granary bread
Personally, the only two which I really liked were the chicken and the ham, simply because of the strong flavors – the rest in my opinion were quite bland.
The waitress came around to offer more but we declined as we knew that the pastries and scones were about to be served. After we had finished with the sandwiches, we were served a small chocolate appetizer. It was a mint chocolate which tasted exactly like After Eight.
The scones came warm and carefully wrapped in a napkin, you get one plain and one with raisin scone each.
I would have loved some cream with the scones but it came with butter and 2 jams, strawberry and mixed berry jam. In hindsight I guess I could have just asked for cream because after all, that is what they state on their website menu, but I was too engaged in the nice catch-up with my mom.
The scones were directly followed by a selection of beautifully presented French pastries – a chocolate layered gouache slice, a mango and coconut mousse, a rhubarb/cream cheesecake and a raspberry cream éclair with pink chocolate.
This selection was rather disappointing as I found the pastries quite flavorless and none of them stood out for me. They do offer you a take away box if you are unable to finish them. The teas were heated up from time to time whenever needed and we did not feel rushed, in fact I think we stayed longer than we should have.
Overall the experience met my expectations of a traditional afternoon tea at one of London’s top hotels. The ambiance and service was excellent, making you want to linger and not rush the afternoon away. I did not want to leave and did I mention how comfortable the seats were? The price per person adds up to around £50 each and I recommend this for a special occasion.