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Afternoon tea


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Browns Hotel in Albermarle Street - newly revamped by Rocco Forte. Historically has had a formidable reputation for afternoon tea, which appears to be continuing under Sir Rocco. Choose between a modernised light, airy space or the more traditional panelled tea-room.

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What does the very best afternoon tea in London consist of (in terms of both food and atmosphere, since they seem to be two separate elements)?

I imagined it would consist of a perfect combination of both traditional and excellent food and a traditional and warm atmosphere. I cannot think of any fusion type afternoon tea in a minimalist decor....

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Browns is very good indeed now after the refurbishment ( I didnt know how it was before). Really good cakes and pastries with a mixture of traditional ( Dundee cake and Victoria sponge from the trolley) and not typical 'French style' pastries..only negative...tea is from a German company.. :huh: .for an English traditional afternoon tea? .The Ritz is great but do you enjoy 'sittings'? (they serve 'afternoon' teas from 10.45 till 7.30!). Lanesborough and Claridges also very good.

None of the places mentioned on this thread though hold a candle to Bettys in York/Harrogate and Ilkley.

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What does the very best afternoon tea in London consist of (in terms of both food and atmosphere, since they seem to be two separate elements)?

an incredibly overpriced trip back to a golden age that never really existed.

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Browns is very good indeed now after the refurbishment ( I didnt know how it was before). Really good cakes and pastries with a mixture of traditional ( Dundee cake and Victoria sponge from the trolley) and not typical 'French style' pastries..only negative...tea is from a German company.. :huh: .for an English traditional afternoon tea? .The Ritz is great but do you enjoy 'sittings'? (they serve 'afternoon' teas from 10.45 till 7.30!). Lanesborough and Claridges also very good.

None of the places mentioned on this thread though hold a candle to Bettys in York/Harrogate and Ilkley.

Ritz: do they kick you out after xx minutes ?

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What does the very best afternoon tea in London consist of (in terms of both food and atmosphere, since they seem to be two separate elements)?

In my own (admittedly limited) experience, a traditional London afternoon tea is 1% food and 99% people watching. Nobody in their right mind would bother with char and cake in midafternoon if it came without the human theatre.

Hence, I'd ignore places like The Ritz (which is Disneyland Britannia) and Sketch (disqualified for being Parisien) in favour the somewhere with a bit more character and eccentricity. So: The Orangery in Kensington, The Lanesborough, or Sotheby's Cafe. Their crustless sandwiches are just as dull as the competition, and you're much more likely to get to earwig some choice conversations as the purple-haired dears discuss all that's ill with the modern world.

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What does the very best afternoon tea in London consist of (in terms of both food and atmosphere, since they seem to be two separate elements)?

comfort

Good answer.

London afternoon tea is one of those things I know about only from books, like learning about "treacle" from "Alice in Wonderland." (I still remember getting the dictionary to look up "treacle," but that didn't work for "London afternoon tea.") It took a while before I realized that "tea" included food, too. :raz: (Doesn't it interfere with dinner?) I also used to think it was just for the "rich folk," but reading Dickens put an end to that, even his characters have their afternoon tea. Next time I'm in London I'll have to make a point of experiencing this ritual. Will it offer comfort to an American? :smile:

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WHat characters in Dickens mean by "tea" (and what many English people mean today) is their evening meal. Especially up north, the meals are breakfast, dinner and tea. Nothing to do with crustless cucumber sandwiches and scones. :)

(It's also a class thing: despite growing up in a rural family that ate the main meal at noon, my husband says lunch and dinner, because apparently it's not posh to eat your tea at 6pm.)

An English friend of mine says Fortnum & Mason offers better value for money for afternoon tea, but I can't comment personally. Thankfully, my parents have never demanded to be taken out for it. (Although my grandmother wanted scones and clotted cream when we were in Devon, but that's all right. :) )

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I would rule out the Orangery. Went there once and the service was rushed (felt like we were in a cafeteria), the sandwiches and cake dry... no refills of tea offered. It wasn't a good experience.

Have heard great things about the Savoy.

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The Lanesborough is shortly to be serving Queen's tea, in honor of Her Majesty's birthday. I'm not sure exactly what this is, though am booked for the 18th May. I believe they will be doing this special tea until the end of the summer.

Marlena

ps will report on it, post-tea, the 19th.

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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I think the Lanesborough would be a beautiful place to have afternoon tea.

What about the Cadogan? Has anyone had afternoon tea there?

Built in 1887, the Cadogan Hotel became associated with Irish poet Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) who was arrested here and who wrote the famous book 'Dorian Gray'. The Cadogan Hotel is a historic town house that has been welcoming discerning visitors for over 100 years. Situated on Sloane Street, it is an ideal and discreet place to stop for tea after a busy afternoon of shopping at Harrods or Harvey Nichols. As soon as you pass into the entrance hall there is a sense of tranquility and timelessness. The Queen Mother has had lunch here and Lord Cadogan stays at this hotel when in London. The Cadogan Hotel is very traditionally English and has the feeling of a private town house. Afternoon tea is served from 3.00-6.00 pm in the Edwardian Drawing Room. Sink into the deep comfortable sofas and armchairs and enjoy the peace. Bookings are advisable and dress is smart casual.

If you don't want to pay a fortune, you could also go to the Tea Palace, but you won't have the same ambiance and the other suggestions.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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