2009 Top Tea Award
The English Tea Room At Browns Hotel has achieved the highest accolade of the tea world by winning The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2009 Award.
Also see the
Tea-Tox Afternoon Tea review, Brown's Hotel's take on a healthy afternoon tea.
For more afternoon tea reviews see:
Best Afternoon Tea in London.
Afternoon Tea Information
Days and Times:
Monday to Friday: 3pm to 6pm.
Saturday and Sunday: 1pm to 6pm.
Cost: From £35 per person.
Dress Code: Smart casual.
Reservations: Reservations should be pre-booked by calling 020 7493 6020.
Room Size: The English Tea Room can seat up to 75 people.
Children: Children are welcome.
Music: Relaxing music comes from the Baby Grand piano played in the English Tea Room.
About Brown's HotelSet in the heart of Mayfair on Albemarle Street, Brown's was the first ever hotel to open in London. James Brown and his wife Sarah - a couple who had formerly been valet and maid to Lord and Lady Byron - established their hotel for 'genteel folk' in 1837. It was purchased by the Ford family in 1859 who added the first public dining room in London.
Alexander Graham Bell visited Brown's Hotel towards the end of 1876 and made the first successful UK telephone call from the hotel. American Presidents Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt stayed here, as did Winston Churchill and other high profile guests.
Brown's joined The Rocco Forte Collection of luxury hotels in 2003 and underwent a £24 million restoration in 2005.
Brown's is composed of 11 Georgian town houses, and all 117 bedrooms (including 29 luxurious suites) have been individually designed. As well as luxurious accommodation, Brown's Hotel has The Albemarle Restaurant, The Donovan Bar, a relaxing spa, plus The English Tea Room which has become a British institution.
Afternoon Tea Review
- The location is superb. Brown's has so much history: the oldest hotel in London, Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book in the English Tea Room, Agatha Christie based At Bertram's Hotel on Brown's, etc, etc, etc.
- Excellent service
- Tea advice is offered
- No fancy breads for the finger sandwiches
I visited with my young daughter and we were both made to feel most welcome. She was treated as a young lady although she was under five.
Tea SelectionBrown's offer a choice of 17 teas, including Brown's own blend, plus a Cornish Grown Tea which must be the first true English tea as it is grown in southwest England. There are also white teas and infusions but if you find the list overwhelming advice is available. If you explain what you like or don't like about tea then the staff are all able to help you make a selection. You are welcome to try more than one blend so don't worry if you want to try a few.
Your tea is served in an antique silver tea service which is part of the tradition of afternoon tea that I really appreciate. A silver pot of hot water is also brought so you can refresh your teapot when you choose so the tea doesn't get too strong.
The English Tea Room
Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while staying at Brown's and he often wrote while taking tea in the English Tea Room. Agatha Christie wrote At Bertram's Hotel about Brown's. Brown's was London's first ever hotel so I hoped there would be some great history to discover and I was not disappointed. All the staff know more about the hotel so do ask questions if you are interested in finding out more.
Brown's was renovated in 2005 and The English Tea Room is light and airy while still retaining it's sophistication. The room still has its original wood paneling, fireplaces and Jacobean detailed plaster ceiling.
The Cake StandThe 'wow factor' of any afternoon tea visit is the arrival of the tiered cake stand. At Brown's the bottom layer is for finger sandwiches, with special dietary options available. The middle tier is for freshly baked fruit and plain scones that are served warm so a napkin is placed over to keep them warm. Don't worry if yours have cooled when you get to them as they can be replaced without fuss. These are served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The top tier is for the pastries which can be replenished as often as required.
It seems common these days for the sandwiches to be made with a selection of breads but Brown's have chosen to keep it simple with just white and brown bread. This is not a criticism, just an observation.
The warm scones were fabulous and the clotted cream was so thick I could almost slice it - that's a good thing!
On the day I visited the pastries included a mini battenburg cake and a small rhubarb crumble which were both welcome treats. There was also a chocolate macaroon and a pistachio cream which my daughter devoured in seconds.
Just when you think you can't eat any more the cake trolley is brought to your table and you can try a slice of one of the freshly baked cakes. My options were Victoria sponge or Dundee Cake, and these change for seasonal occasions such as Easter or Christmas. I chose the sponge and one mouthful made me smile.
Actually my whole visit to Brown's made me smile. This is a truly wonderful location to enjoy afternoon tea. It's not stuffy but it is certainly sophisticated. The Baby Grand piano playing soft music makes you feel relaxed and majestic and I found the staff attentive but not intrusive. Actually the staff were outstanding as my daughter wasn't the best behaved (she is under five and all that sugar can have quite an effect on one so small!) yet they went out of their way to ensure she was occupied and that the other guests were not distracted.
I noticed The English Tea Room was popular for business meetings as well as family celebrations, friends and lovers. You can't help but feel special at Brown's and I wholeheartedly recommend afternoon tea in The English Tea Room.