Afternoon tea

Category: , , By panda_eyed
I did something quintessentially English this week - afternoon tea at the Park Lane Hotel on Picadilly. It was a birthday present last year from the very generous Diva and Nags (thank you again!).

My friend and I arrived a little early, so we took a short walk through Green park to Buckingham Palace. The sky was moody and inky-grey, although it wasn't cold - again, very British!

We were seated in the Palm Court in the centre of the hotel - a beautiful room in Art Deco style. Since the atmosphere was very composed and civilised, I didn't feel right getting my camera out, but luckily there are some very good photos on t'internet!

There was a harpist playing sweet melodies, which was lovely and relaxing. We chose our tea from a large selection - difficult! I had Flowering Osmanthus, described as a "Sweet and gentle flowering green tea hand-tied around an explosive orange Osmanthus flower". It comes as a bud that opens up when the hot water is poured in. My friend chose Whole Rose Buds, which was so perfumed and delicate, it was like drinking crushed roses. Ooh, look, I've found a menu.

We were served some cute little finger sandwiches, each with a different type of bread - crab and cucumber, smoked salmon, coronation chicken, egg and cress, and beef and rocket. In my delight, I forgot to take a pic before I started, sorry!

Then came little fluffy scones - white and wholemeal - with cherry jam, orange curd, mandarin and pineapple preserve and, of course, clotted cream. They were heaven! I could eat these every day! The cherries in the jam packed a punch, as they were marinated in rum - yum! Having always been a very clumsy girl, I managed to drop a massive dollop of the blood red jam on the white white tablecloth and spent the next half hour trying to conceal the stain in order not to look like a ham-fisted idiot who shouldn't be allowed out in civilised society!

After scones, a trolley laden with beautifully presented pastries and cakes was wheeled over, and we each chose two: mixed fruit tart, coffee and banana cake, passion fruit panna cotta, and mango mousse. By this time, we were stuffed to the brim, but these were lovely!

All in all, it was a fabulous day, and a very memorable experience. We went for a spot of shopping in nearby Oxford Street afterwards. It's days like this that I love London :)

8 comments so far.

  1. Miss Cellaneous 2:35 am, March 01, 2009
    Me and my friend went for Afternoon Tea last month at the same place - the scones were so lovely! You're photos are great.
  2. Flighty 9:21 am, March 01, 2009
    A lovely post Pandy, and a wonderful present!
    I'm a little bit envious of having such a posh afternoon tea. It's something I've done a couple of times but not for many years.
    Take care! xx
  3. Olivia 9:47 pm, March 01, 2009
    Ah, you chose a very original menu but were original with the teas! (I say, as I sip my Lady Grey...)

    It's much larger than Fortnum & Mason's tea room. I wish I had done more afternoon teas when I was there. I mean, I can here but obviously not at the same places.

    You should do it again this year somewhere else!

  4. panda_eyed 10:05 pm, March 01, 2009
    Hello Miss Cellaneous, what a coincidence :) The scones were my fave bit!
    Thank you! xx

    Flighty, it was the best present :) It was a lovely day out - I recommend this place v highly. Hope you're having a good weekend! xx

    Livs, did you mean *weren't* v orig with the teas? Since my usual cuppa is PG tips, it's all exotic for me, lol.
    I haven't been to F&Ms. I keep meaning to go and browse their products but haven't gotten round to it yet. Ooh, we can do afternoon tea when you come visit - hopefully sometime this year? *looks hopeful* xx
  5. Anonymous 6:32 am, March 02, 2009
    Oh my goodness, what a scrumtious lovely gorgeous place! Your tea looks fantastic. I remember attending a wedding reception with a harpist - I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did, but it went very well and set a lovely atmosphere. How absolutely generous of Nags and Diva (typical of those two!).
  6. panda_eyed 2:07 pm, March 03, 2009
    Nikki, it was a brilliant first 'tea' experience! The setting was stunning, and the atmosphere very calming :) xxx
  7. Olivia 7:03 am, March 04, 2009
    LOL, me visit this year? I feel as though I've only just left! Wish I could snap my fingers and appear and disappear at will, now that would be neat.

    I meant to say "very traditional menu but were original with the teas" :-P
  8. Yo Momma 3:29 pm, March 07, 2009
    oooh i love love this post! a bud that opens up in your tea when you pour hot water on it. fabulous! why didn't you take me in your carry on girl!?

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