Happy Afternoon Tea Week, UK!
Afternoon Tea Week (ATW) started yesterday, 10 August, and will end on Sunday the 16th. In honour of ATW, I will take a break from blogging about Paris, and blog on two afternoon tea’s I had in London in April. The first one was at Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
Fortnum & Mason was founded in 1707 by one of Queen Anne’s footmen, William Fortnum. The St James Restaurant on the 4th floor was opened in 1957 and was renamed as the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in 2012. It was opened by the Queen, who was accompanied by the Duchesses of Cornwall and of Cambridge (see photos from Daily Mail here).
Having Afternoon Tea at F&M was a spontaneous decision as we were quite hungry and wanted to have a little snack. Since we ended up having afternoon tea around 3-4pm, we stayed for quite a few hours and were too full for dinner.
- cucumber with mint & cream cheese
- rare breed hen egg, mustard cress
- coronation chicken
- Fortnum’s smoked salmon with caper & lemon dressing
- prawn & gem lettuce, Marie Rose sauce
- Fruit scones
- Selection of sweets from the Cake Carriage
- Classic Blend tea (Single Estate tea for 4 pounds more)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 12-7pm, Sunday 12-6pm
Cost: £40 x 2 = £80 + service charge = £90
Since we were in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, I chose the Jubilee Blend. It is a blend of teas from Ceylon, China, and India that has a ‘sturdy and refreshing’ taste. I would certainly recommend it.
Overall, I felt a little let down by the afternoon tea at F&M. Perhaps it was the interior decor. Or maybe the selection of pastries were not as delectable as I had hoped. Or, perhaps I felt that £40 was a little too overpriced for the quality of food. Or – and this is probably the case – I am just very picky. 😦
I did, however, enjoy the sandwiches, so we had an extra serving of those – despite the fact that we could hardly finish everything on the three-tiered tray. I also found the teapot with the historical depiction of a Chinaman highly amusing. (I don’t know too many Chinese with upward slanted eyes!) But my favourite part was listening to a senior pianist play my favourite opera arias and music from Pride & Prejudice (the Kiera Knightley version) on the piano. In fact, whilst waiting for our tea, I got up and went to the pianist to tell him how much I loved the music he had chosen.
Yes, time for my famous lavatory section. As you can see from the photo below, the ladies room is simple, elegant, and clean. I loved the artwork of elegant women inside the ladies room and in the hallway.
I hope my experience won’t deter you from having afternoon tea at F&M. I enjoyed the main floor with all the delectable sweets and teas and beautiful decorations. I’m certain your experience will be better than mine!
I think the treats do look a little ‘standard’ and modest compared to the one with the flamboyant caramel apple. And £40 is fairly steep! But I love the decor and the washroom, and I would still like to try it one day! I especially want to try their violet creams since the Duchess of Cornwall was so taken by them. I keep imagining what they would taste like! Did you try some of their sweets aside from the tea? 🙂
P.S. I have only met one or two Chinese with noticeably slanted eyes. 😛 Very few and far between!
You know, I don’t recall trying the violet cream so I imagine it wasn’t part of my order. It seems the average for an ‘upper class’ afternoon tea is 40 pounds and up.
Did the Chinese with slanted eyes look anything like the man in the teapot? I’ve always wonder what ethnic background they’re from (since China has so many ethnic groups in one land).
I wondered if you might have wandered around the store a bit before having tea and sampled a few goodies! But then upon reflection, you probably would have saved your entire appetite for the tea itself. 🙂
Hmm.. well his wasn’t as exaggeratedly slanted, but more so than most Chinese/Asians I’ve come across. Definitely didn’t have the mustache, though! 😉 So yes, I do think that teapot took some very artistic liberties. As for their background, I wonder too! What an interesting world we live in.
Yes, I did wander around a few floors but I didn’t sample any goodies other than the afternoon tea I had. I should add more photos to this post. 🙂