A chocolate themed afternoon tea, why of course I will partake! That is what the Hilton hotel on Park Lane offer as their entry into the world of afternoon teas. The venue, the Podium restaurant and bar on the ground floor. The views from the windows are not great as you are on the ground floor, but the space itself if modern and spacious and creates a nice atmosphere. When we were there they had a gentleman singing and playing a guitar, and he even sang happy birthday to one of the clintele ( yes he worked there and wasn’t someone who wandered in off the street!)
The tea itself was nice, you are presented with a plate of five open sandwiches first, simple but tasty.
Then once you are done with the savoury the sweet stuff arrives. Your three-tiered cake stand arrives filled with chocolate delights. The bottom layer is home to scones, plain, fruit and chocolate chip. Annoyingly you only got one chocolate chip and one fruit, as there were two of us and neither fans of fruit scones we had to share the one chocolate chip. As this was a chocolate themed tea I am unsure as to why there were not two chocolate scones. It was certainly novel having chocolate chips in a scone and certainly something I will be trying at home!
The second tier of the cake stand was home to cakes, miniature cupcakes, chocolate cake and a green Battenberg. Both the cupcakes, one a red velvet and the other chocolate were delicious, light and airy topped with sweet butter cream and both had a flavoured centre. The chocolate cake was a typical Sacha Torte. The top layer is where the artistry is a truly Wonka worthy tier. The miniature fancies are elegantly presented on a solid chocolate disc( that you get to take away no less!). You have such delights as pistachio macaroons, a profiterole topped with a shortbread butterfly, a lemon and raspberry marshmallow cone and a meringue lolly pop. There is a lot of sugar in the mix here!
There is also a good selection of tea on offer. The tea menu is short so you do not spend too much time looking at it wondering what on earth to have. There are a couple of unique blends, and your waitress will bring you a selection of teas to smell if you are unsure what to get which is a nice touch. I went for the Hilton Afternoon Tea Blend which is a faintly perfumed black tea, not as heavy as an English Breakfast.
Unfortunately this is a tea that looks stunning but tastes just ok. I had hoped that the taste would rise to the challenge and all the cakes be excellent but some were just average. I certainly enjoyed it but it’s not one that I would rush back for. In places like the Ritz or the Savoy you get both style and taste, this one at the Hilton is going for show stopping. My biggest problem was that there was only one of each thing, which means you either have to cut everything in half or fight it out with your friends for the pieces on the table. Most afternoon teas provide you with one each of everything to avoid such conundrums.
This afternoon tea is a good one to try with friends if you want something a little different. We found this one as an offer on travelzoo, and from the looks of it a few people in the restaurant had too. If you can get it on an offer I would throughly recommend it for a show stopping sugar hit!