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Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley

Afternoon Tea for Fashionistas

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Pret-a-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley London
© The Berkeley
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is designed to add a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea with cakes and pastries inspired by the latest fashion season's catwalk designs for the style conscious. It may not be the quintessential English afternoon tea but who cares? It's fabulous darling!

Afternoon Tea Information

Venue:
The Caramel Room, The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL

Days and Times: Daily: 1pm to 6pm

Cost: From £35 per person.

Dress Code: Smart casual.

Reservations: Reservations should be pre-booked by calling 020 7201 1619 or book online.

Music: Contemporary background music can be heard.

Prêt Vespa - Delivery Option

In 2008, The Berkeley launched Prêt Vespa, the ultimate fashionista biscuit delivery service. If your fashionista friends don't have time to come to The Berkeley then they can bring the Prêt-à-Portea delights to you! A Vespa adorned in the famous Prêt colors of Pistachio green and pale pink deliver the fashion delectables in bespoke handbag take-away boxes. Initially only available in the SW1 area of London, set boxes of 10 biscuits are only £25 including delivery.

What a Great Idea! Tell Me More

Prêt-à-Portea started in about 2004 when The Berkeley's pastry team had the brilliant idea of linking afternoon tea and fashion; especially given The Berkeley's location in the heart of Knightsbridge - just around the corner from Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The Berkeley has long been a favorite of the fashion crowd so this has become a perfect combination.

The Berkeley's head pastry chef, Mourad Khiat, is now invited to fashion shows to generate ideas for his new collections. Editors from the leading fashion magazines also advise the pastry team to help them identify the key trends, colors, textures, and 'must have' pieces each season. The Berkeley now has fashion designers contacting them asking how they can get onto the cake stands.

Pret-a-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley London© Laura Porter

Speaking about his inspiration for new collections, Mourad Khiat said:

"Fashion and cakes have always been the perfect match for me. We can count on our insider fashion contacts to brief us on the latest must-haves of the season. Of course I have my favorite designers but I could never reveal who they are! Mostly, I look for vibrant colors and unusual designs and textures in the latest fashion collections and visualize how they would translate onto our tea stand."

Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea Pros and Cons

    Pros
  • The cake stand looks stunning - the detail is outstanding.
  • The cake stand delights are fully explained by your waiting staff who show you the fashion catwalk inspiration for each tasty treat.
  • Cakes, biscuits, fancies and sandwiches are all replenished so feel free to try everything.
  • Any cakes left at the end are given to you to take home in a bespoke handbag take-away box.
  • For those who prefer the savory options, sandwiches are included and they are replenished too. Special dietary options also available.
  • The cake stand includes savory canapés - as well as the gorgeous cakes, biscuits, and mousses.
  • You feel like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City or Edina in Absolutely Fabulous.
  • The Caramel Room is a relaxed, contemporary setting, but not overly modern; intimate and not fussy.
  • Everyone takes photos so don't be shy.
    Cons
  • Had to ask for drinks again - twice.
  • More mousse desserts than cakes.
  • No scones, but that's not what you come for. (I hadn't even noticed until it was pointed out to me!)

Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea Review

The Berkeley's Prêt-à-Portea is not the quintessential afternoon tea but I hope that's clear before you book. This is afternoon tea for fashionistas! Prêt-à-Portea is best for those who love shopping and following the fashion seasons, and delight in meeting with friends. The Berkeley is in Knightsbridge, close to Harvey Nichols, the shopping mecca, so can easily be combined with a shopping trip.

Atmosphere

Even before the cakes arrive you can feel the excitement in the room. There's a real buzz and it feels like the 'place to be seen'.

The tables are closer than at other afternoon tea venues but you don't feel overheard and it feels less formal and 'stuffy'. We actually had a chat with the girls next to us, one who had been before and had brought her sister to try this season's cakes and treats. And that's what you'll find if you talk to people there. Once they've tried it they're booking again for the next season, if not before. My companion started planning how many business meetings she could have there instead of at boring restaurants. And as Prêt-à-Portea is available from 1pm to 6pm daily there are many options on how to fit in a visit.

Prêt-à-Portea is certainly more popular with the ladies but I saw a few men amongst us. What was clear was the wide age range this appeals to.

Even The China is Designer

Pret-a-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley London© The Berkeley
Don't expect a silver tea service. Instead, Thomas Goode of Mayfair have produced a bespoke collection of Paul Smith fine bone china. The teapots are sizable and you can try more than one tea. Coffee is also available, which was a pleasant surprise. I tried Pear Caramel tea which is as delicious as it sounds.

Celebrities

As you would expect, high end fashion and cakes in a 5 star luxury London hotel attracts fashion icons so look out for the celebs when you visit. Previously spotted include Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Day Out Suggestions

I'd recommend combining Prêt-à-Portea with a shopping day.
  • Option 1 Knightsbridge: Harvey Nichols and Harrods
    See: London Department Stores
  • Option 2 Oxford Street: The main shopping street in London with all the High Street shops.
    Then get a no. 10 or 137 bus to Knightsbridge.
  • Option 3 Fashion and Textiles Museum
    It's a center for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewelry in London. Founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum houses permanent and changing exhibitions.
    Then get the tube from London Bridge (Jubilee Line), change at Green Park to Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line).
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