no london experience is ever complete without some traditional afternoon tea, and the fact that i study and live here doesn’t stop me from doing “tourist-y” things like this once in a while 😉
having gotten a good afternoon tea deal at kingsway hall hotel via afternoontea.co.uk last year, it was that trusty website that i headed back to when a friend and i decided we were going to treat ourselves to an indulgent afternoon before the madness that school can become sets in.
this time, we got an amazing deal at the marylebone hotel – traditional afternoon tea at just £12.50 per person!!! considering how plush the hotel was, the impeccable service, and the quality of the food we were served, i would say this is the perfect deal if you’re looking for an affordable tea-time treat.
we arrived to a beautifully laid out table, and i loved the fact that we were seated on a huge cushy sofa in a lounge rather than stiff chairs around a table in a coffee house:
afternoon tea is served both in the lounge and the drawing room, and despite the very nice set-up, the staff are informal and unfussy, making you feel comfortable and right at home!
tea began with the waitress bringing us a selection of teas on a tray, explaining each one and letting us sniff them all before making our decision on what to get. they serve a selection of wonderfully fragrant “jing” tea there (which i found random packets of in my kitchen at home over summer and proceeded to make earl grey chiffon cake with – it tasted amazing and even better than when made with twinings tea!), and you’re allowed to have as much and as many kinds as you want throughout the afternoon. the selection of teas isn’t oustandingly extensive (i think we had 6 choices if i remember correctly), but is definitely enough to satisfy your tea desires, from black teas to fruit teas!
here’s the menu for afternoon tea:
the sandwiches and scones were served first, and everything was plated really prettily (as it should be at afternoon tea!):
these were the sandwiches we had:
though simple, they were a case of classic afternoon tea sandwiches being done really nicely. the proportion of ingredients to bread was just right, and fillings for the sandwiches were fresh and tasty while the bread was nice and soft. fortunately, they didn’t really fill me up as much as i had expected – they remained light despite all that butter, cream cheese and mayo in them – , because more good things were to come! 😉
next, on to the quintessential part of afternoon tea – freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and jam!i love scones. and when they are really good ones which are freshly toasted and warm, that’s just icing on the cake (what an apt expression to use :P)! the clotted cream was good stuff – thick, smooth and not too sweet, while the homemade jam was very nice too, with whole bits of strawberries! we had a raisin scone and a plain scone each, both of which were delicious – they had risen very nicely and the slight crunch on the outside (which i love) gave way to a perfect airy, soft and moist inside. such a plain-looking thing in comparison to the other fancy tea-time offerings, but so yummy.
and finally for the sweet end to the tea, we got to choose cakes and pastries from a wide range on display which was rather exciting:
they had macaroons, tarts, cakes and biscuits – more than enough to keep that sweet tooth in you happy and satisfied!
our selections were later served to our table:we were actually pretty full by the time we moved on to dessert, but still soldiered on anyway because they all looked too good to resist!
my favourites were the carrot cake and the dark chocolate + caramel tart!
the carrot cake was really dense, moist and had a good amount of nuts, raisins and carrot strips in it. the icing on top was also very light, nice and not overly sweet at all – it went super well with the cinnamon-y cake. yummm.
(sorry for all these pictures of half-eaten food; we were clearly too excited to tuck in)
my other favourite was the dark chocolate & caramel tart (seen at the front of this picture) – the dark chocolate was so amazingly rich and lovely and the caramel and hint of sea salt prevented it from becoming overly chocolate-y. the tart base was nice and crisp and wasn’t too thick!
the macaroons however, were quite a let-down – they were quite dry and didn’t quite crumble in the way i like them to; we didn’t touch any of the other 3 after having the first one they weren’t exceedingly terrible, but we’ve certainly had better and wanted to save our stomach space for the other treats! (pierre herme macaroons forever!!!)
we also tried a slice of the traditional victoria sponge cake!
the sponge was nice, airy and fluffy while the cream was super fresh and light! we did find the jam a tad too sweet, but all was good otherwise. i wouldn’t exactly rave or shout about this cake, but it was definitely another simple classic done well!
all in all, we had a great experience at the marylebone hotel at a truly unbeatable price. good conversation with a great friend was made even better with such nice surroundings and yummy food, and at no point in time did we feel obliged to leave (in fact they kept asking us if we wanted fresh pots of tea) at all – we sat there from 330pm to close to 7pm without realising how much time had passed! will definitely be booking this offer again if its still available the next time i’m looking to pamper myself by indulging in some traditional british luxury 😉
The Marylebone Hotel
47 Welbeck St
London W1G 8DN