For more afternoon tea reviews see:
Best Afternoon Tea in London.
- The Lanesborough Tea Guild Awards
- Award of Excellence: 2006, 2007, 2009
- Top London Afternoon Tea Award: 2005, 2008
Hyde Park Corner
Tel: +44 (0)20 7333 7254
Monday - Saturday: 3.30pm - 6pm
Sunday: 4pm - 6pm
- The Lanesborough is one of the top hotels in London
- The restyled Aspleys is a chic location
- The staff are professional, courteous and all have received tea training from the in-house sommelier
- You are welcome to stay for the full 2.5 hours
- Good for a pre-theater dining option
- You get a lot more food than you would think
- Iced water is served upon arrival which is a nice consideration and still not usual in London venues
- Pianist plays contemporary classics
- Weekends can get booked up so try and go on a week day
Lanesborough Afternoon Tea Review
I took a friend who hadn't drunk tea since she was a child so I knew she would benefit from the expert tea training the staff at The Lanesborough all undergo. I hope you are lucky enough to have Faldo serve you as his tea knowledge was superb and his comparisons for tea flavors were wonderfully honest. I won't tell you which tea is like a "damp cave" but I'll tell you malt whisky drinkers like it. Faldo was attentive but not intrusive and even noticed when my friend and I clinked Champagne glasses to celebrate her birthday so he arranged for a birthday treat to be brought the table.
As before, I would recommend upgrading to a Belgravia Tea (£40 2009) so you can also receive a glass of Champagne, strawberries and cream, and a tasty pre-dessert; mine was a chocolate mousse with mascarpone and pistachio. And this is all before starting on tea and cakes.
Large square tables for two mean plenty of space to not block your companion with the elegant cake stand. I was surprised to see I had a dinner plate on the table, as you normally get a side plate for afternoon tea, but when the food arrived I could see why the large plate was a good idea.
The Cake Stand
A standard afternoon tea cake stand has sandwiches on the bottom, scones in the middle and cakes on top. The Lanesborough provide a lot more.
Firstly, served next to the cake stand we had mini quiches that were still warm. The cake stand did have sandwiches on the bottom layer but the next two layers were all cakes. Yes, all cakes. That's a lot to get through but you'll be pleased to know, in the spirit of good research, I tried all they provided.
The sandwiches are less traditional so you can expect to see bread varieties as well as a brioche roll or a wrap. There were even different shapes - fingers, squares, triangles - which looked wonderful altogether.
The cakes included a rhubarb macaroon, carrot cake, cheesecake and a chocolate cake with cola used in the decoration! There was an incredibly sticky marshmallow and chocolate creation which looked lovely but was difficult to get off my fork but the staff quickly changed by crockery and cutlery so there was no problem.
Just when you think you've eaten your fill the scones arrive along with toasted tea cakes. It is unusual these days to get your scones at the end of the tea, and also teacakes are not common in London venues, but it works well as it can be time to try a new tea to compliment the end of your meal.
The scones and teacakes are served with traditional clotted cream, strawberry preserve but an extra was lemon curd, a thick paste-like jam.
TeaTea is served in a silver teapot and a tea strainer is no longer needed as there is a compartment inside the top of the teapot for the tea leaves. Hot water is poured over the leaves and then, with the lid down, the tea is steamed but not soaked so the taste doesn't get too strong while waiting to be drunk.
I didn't see the samovar but understand it is still in use at The Lanesborough to heat the water for afternoon tea. The tea was certainly hotter than from a standard electric kettle.
Teas we tried:
- Ceylon Surprise - amber colored black tea, full bodied but too strong for me.
- Dragon Well Green Tea - very light and tasted of hints of mint and lemon. Very lovely.
- Flowering Osmanthus - in a glass teapot so this is as much fun to watch as to drink.
- Silver Needle White Tea - just for old times sake as this was the reaon I started drinking white tea regularly.
ConclusionAs before, I do believe afternoon tea at The Lanesborough is good value for money and an excellent opportunity to enjoy this luxury five star hotel at a fixed price. The tea expertise of the staff is hard to beat and I was left thinking how could they not have won the Top Tea Place in London for 2009? (The splendid English Tea Room at Brown's won this coveted award.) I'll never stop enjoying The Lanesborough though.
Disclosure: My Afternoon Tea was complimentary and the Lanesborough knew I would be writing a review.