Looking for a taste of fit-for-royalty English traditions while in London? Put on your lace cocktail dress and dainty headpiece – I’ve got you a charming spot for an afternoon of classy affair in London with my delectable experience of English Afternoon Tea – read on!
The sound of popping champagne bottles told me it was ‘afternoon tea o’clock’ in London on one fine spring day. I found myself sitting on a cute-as-a-pin cosy armchair surrounded by beautiful bouquets in crystal vase, open fireplace and antique decor. Then the irresistible aroma of freshly baked scones had me drooling even before the silver trays were brought to my table – I knew I was in for a Lace n Ruffles’ type of treat. 🙂
I had the pleasure of being a guest at the splendid Park Lounge at the five-star heritage-listed Milestone Hotel in Kensington on the last day during my London trip. English afternoon tea has always been my cup of tea (literally). I remember vividly the dessert carts that got wheeled around at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong which I frequented with my mum while I was a kid. Since a very young age, I’ve learned to appreciate this dainty English tradition beyond its gourmet offering. It’s a merrymaking and elegant pastime (yes – ensure minimum disturbance to others while munching those heavenly scones!). From the scent of tea leaves to those delicately hand-painted teaware and fresh roses or peonies on your table, every bit of detail makes an English afternoon tea experience reinvigorating for the senses.
Having spent a good few hours at the Victoria & Albert Museum before heading to my afternoon tea session, I arrived with with a rumbling stomach ready for a fine fete. I was accompanied the lovely Hannah who’s a Manchester-born PR Executive working with the hotel. She ordered us the Champagne High Tea set, while I’ve selected the Sri Lankan black tea based on their recommendations. An extensive tea menu with exotic flavours and free refill? Bring it on! Not long after we got served two tall glasses of sparkling golden drops, while we started to exchange our travel tales enthusiastically as two equally wanderlust-struck souls. I think we could easily lounge there and chat away for the rest of the afternoon! But wait – the real feast had just begun with the three-tiered tower of delicate treats impeccably presented on our table.
Here’re my highlights & verdict:
♥ Two plates of silver tray are filled with almost 10 choices of exquisite bite-sized desserts – passion fruit American cheesecake, rosewater & white chocolate lollipop, carrot cake, coffee opera chocolate cake, hazelnut macaron, dark chocolate & coconut delights, raspberries cupcake, eclair and meringue – OH MY! Where do I even start?
♥ Selection of scrumptious finger sandwiches include smoked salmon, ham & mustard, cucumber & cream cheese, egg & mayonnaise watercress, chicken & mayonnaise with toasted almonds and cheese & tomatoes.
♥ The hazelnut macaron is an objet d’art! Velvety and not too sweet hazelnut cream sandwiched in between two perfectly airy macaron biscuit – a bite of bliss 🙂
♥ I ain’t usually big into savoury treats but their chicken and mayonnaise sandwich with toasted almonds have given me the ‘love at first bite’ moment. Crunchy almonds on the side with fluffy, soft bread and juicy chicken pieces – it’s amazing how such a simple treat can give so much joy to the tastebuds!
♥ Service is truly five-star. It was speedy and attentive, yet nothing stuffy like what you’ll get at some top-hatted restaurants in London. We had our dedicated wait staff greet me with his welcoming smile and explained what was on the menu (watch this video!).
♥ A vast selection of fine tea is available to choose from the tea menu. Free flowing of hot tea was a massive delight! I could totally idle away in my oversized armchair sipping Ceylon tea for the whole afternoon (guess that’s why they have two sittings for the afternoon tea from 1pm to 2:45pm, 3pm to 4:45pm and 5pm to 6:45pm!)
♥ The presentation of their sweet treats is a winner! The rosewater & white chocolate lollipop guarantees to please your Instagram fans – this is seriously a dainty treat that’s looking too cute to be eaten!
♥ Serving size is very generous with a great variety of oh-so-satisfying treats. We both rolled out of the tea room with happy tummy and we even had some sandwiches to take home.
♥ LOVE LOVE LOVE the vintage-esque and floral filled decor of their tea room! It creates this quintessential British vibe that give makes you feel you’re truly in London but not anywhere else. The only other thing I’d ask for? A British Shorthair kitten for free cuddles would make this experience complete! 🙂
♥ Overall it was a truly classy English afternoon tea experience with tastebud-pleasing treats, attentive service, an inviting environment oozing with historical charm that’s fit for royalty! It far surpasses any other afternoon tea experience in London and anywhere else I’ve ever had.
Planning your own English Afternoon Tea experience? Here are my tips:
♥ Book ahead as soon as you confirm your itinerary as the Park Lounge is fairly small and the tea sessions are popular among locals and tourists alike – it can get booked out in the weekends pretty fast.
♥ Dress elegantly casual and smart – no sportswear is allowed. I’d say a vintage lace dress, a little fur cape with a pair of t-bar Ballerina flats on a sunny spring day will never go wrong 🙂
♥ The perfect itinerary for the day? How about a sleep-in in and a light brunch, and then skip lunch and head to see the beautiful Kensington Palace and its garden which is right opposite to The Milestone Hotel?
♥ Don’t let yourself fall into a sugar coma afterwards – how about some retail therapy on Kensington High Street after the feast? Topshop, Zara, Miss Sixty and the Whole Foods Market selling all sort of organic treats are only a few blocks away from the Milestone Hotel. You’ll walk pass these shops if you’re heading to the nearest Tube station at High Street Kensington (less than 5 minutes walk). With this seriously adrenaline-pumping workout, you can totally afford to have that extra spoonful of clotted cream on your scones, #guiltfree.
So tell me fellow classy travellers, have I enticed you to treat yourself like royalty with an English afternoon tea experience in London? Have you stumbled across any other charming nooks for afternoon tea? Share your most Lace n Ruffles’ tea experience with your fellow travellers in the comment below.
P.S. If you’re heading to London and want to follow the heels of the a-listers to shop and dine in style check out our top tips here!
Until next time! Stay elegant.
Disclaimer: I was a guest at The Milestone Hotel while all opinions are genuinely my own.