The Elegence of Afternoon tea!

When I travel, I love to try the local food and bring back herbs and spices so I can try to recreate the flavours back home and keep that holiday spirit alive! I don’t claim to be a food expert but I know what I like and hopefully I can share some of my favourite foodie hot spots here!

Being British, I love an afternoon tea, and its a great way to catch up with friends, and living in London I have an array of places to try out!! A good afternoon tea comes down to good tea, sandwiches, a great selection of cakes and moist scones! Teas are not something just for special occasions, they are a great way of catching up with friends as well. There is most definitely a boom going on with afternoon teas as they have become very popular and more and more places, are offering an afternoon tea option, the standards however vary greatly! I think the following quote sums up a great afternoon tea,

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

My most recent visit has been to the Charlotte Street Hotel – http://www.firmdalehotels.com/london/charlotte-street-hotel.
The Charlotte Street Hotel is located on a quiet street just off Tottenham Court Road, its elegant, charming and the staff polite.  You can sit outside at the front of the hotel and watch the extravagant cars pull up or sit in the restaurant for tea. They have two tea options, the traditional tea or one that includes champagne.

The hotel has a standard variety of tea on offer, they don’t have the widest variety so if you are a tea aficionado and wanted a wider selection of lesser known teas this would not be tea for you.  They do have a list of speciality teas but there is a supplement for these. I am not entirely sure why, as surely the whole point of an afternoon tea is the tea!

The sandwiches and cakes were presented on an elegant cake stand, and they were split one between two in our case. The sandwiches were for me nothing special (egg mayonnaise, smoke salmon, goats cheese and pastrami) I have certainly had more variety in other establishments, but the ones we had were very nice and there was the offer of refreshing them should we want.

The cakes were the star of the tea, they were almost miniature deserts than cakes. We had strawberry tarts, chocolate pots, lemon sorbet, fondant fancies, and of course scones ( plain and fruit) with clotted cream. I always think afternoon teas should have the choice of fruit or plain scones and not just the fruit ones, so I was very happy!

The Charlotte Street hotel afternoon tea is a not a show stopping afternoon tea like you would get in the Savoy or Ritz, but if you are looking for somewhere to meet friends, and catch up over dainty sandwiches and delicious cakes in a relaxed atmosphere then this is the place to go. Cost wise I believe it is a great deal, £25 for the standard tea, which by London standards is great.

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