Two friends waltz down Park Lane, in search of The Grosvenor House Hotel for a magical champagne afternoon tea that they would never forget. The air is crisp with promise, the sun beaming down on their bare legs, it felt like heaven. The birds trilled in the nearby trees, signalling our ascension into the glory that was Grosvenor House, a towering giant among human kind. Through the sturdy doors we clambered, as we entered ‘The Park Room’ where our glorious afternoon tea would await. But for now we reveled in the angelic decor, forest green sofas juxtaposed against flower arrangements and marble pillars, we imagined what it would be like to stay here, what it would be like to feel like royalty. The 5* hotel was brought to us by the gift fairies themselves ‘Buyagift‘ who wanted to celebrate ‘Afternoon Tea Week’ in style, with bottomless prosecco poured down our needy throats. The guests mingled with the piano player who played classic tunes on the piano and we sat transfixed as the music transported us into another world, where the cakes and scones danced on the tip of our tongue, teasing our senses , and the champagne was free flowing. Except it wasn’t just a dream…
We imagined ourselves living here, sipping champagne on the balcony of our premium park view suite, as we looked out into the world below, remembering a time when we were dulled to what was around us. But there was no dulling of the senses here, we indulged in chitter chatter among friends, toasting each other’s success while we awaited the arrival of our afternoon tea. For now, champagne glasses clinked in unison, smartphones and cameras poised in action, while the piano tinkled gently on by. But lo and behold the arrival of tea, in miniature saucers and teapots, quintessentially British you see. The aroma of caffeine free tea wafted under our noses, a soothing amber hue, where you could almost spell out your fortune. It warmed our bellies and made our hearts glow, but each person had a different tea to match their personal preferences. A few moments passed and the afternoon tea’s had arrived, almost glistening from afar, our bellies rumbling in anticipation of its arrival. It was almost as though it was a sign, the afternoon tea was named ‘Anna’, and they couldn’t be more meticilous with the way they presented our scrumptious treats.
We had the ‘vegetarian afternoon tea stand’ chock full of cakes that stole our breath, sandwiches that lined our bellies and a copious supply of champagne that left us feeling like we were on cloud nine. The sandwiches were conquered first, oozing with oodles of flavour and wondrous texture. Cucumber slivers sandwiched between garden mint butter danced on egg mayonnaise and chive breaded triangles, washed down with amber herbal tea that soothed us into foodie submission. We surrendered to our senses and plundered into the awaiting plain and raisin scones, topped lovingly with Devonshire clotted cream, that seemed like manna from above. There were a variety of British preserves to choose from, but raspberry and rose petal had stolen my heart, slathered generously on fresh scones, the cream licked off cake hungry lips. The cakes were a marvel to look at, works of art in miniature trios, what would we try next? The ginger curd with passionfruit coulis proved to be a welcome entry into the cake kingdom, but arguably the Lemon Myrtle and Raspberry Pavlova had me begging for more, a white mound of epic proportions. Green apple and coriander mousse was an interesting collaboration of taste and texture, but surprisingly moreish in the mouth while the milk chocolate, almond and banana sponge was offset by the frank zestiness of the accompanying herbal tea. Refills were made and cakes and sandwiches replenished until at last we could eat no more, our stomachs filled with love and joy.
We learned that the champagne afternoon tea was award winning, awarded the Highly Commended Awards of Excellence at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2018, no surprise given the quality of our food. But there was one more surprise that Grosvenor and Buyagift had in store, a freshly baked cake that we could take home and devour, and devour we did. It was a lemon drizzle cake, crumbly and soft, best paired with hot chocolate or tea and washed down with desire. But for now our cake lay dormant in our bags, as we learned a little more about the people around us and the inspiration behind ‘Anna’s Afternoon Tea’. We found that Anna (who like the modern version aka me) had a habit of starting food trends, curating the ritual and etiquette of afternoon tea in the early 1800’s much to the delight of her guests. The 7th Duchess of Bedford understood how the magic of afternoon tea would bring people together and she was right. Over two centuries later, the public would laugh and drink, tearing scones in their eager hands as their mouths clamped around delicious debauchery in cake form.
The time had come to bid our goodbyes, as we were propelled into the real world once more, dreaming of tea and scones on the tube sunk into silent slumber. But the night wasn’t over just yet, oh no, it was off to an open air theatre for me, leaving behind Grosvenor House with reluctant hesitance. And as the night sky fell, we remembered that a cake lay waiting for our once famished mouths, slipping down our throats with easy delight. It was a blessing.
Have You Ever Had A Champagne Afternoon Tea Before?
Please note we were given complimentary afternoon teas at Grosevenor House but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by complimentary service.