Since this year is a milestone birthday I wanted to make sure I planned something special. For a while now I had been hearing people rave on about how amazing the afternoon tea at Claridge’s is so I figured my birthday would be the perfect time to try it for myself.
It’s hard enough booking an afternoon tea slot at Claridge’s on a normal day, but when your birthday also happens to be Valentine’s Day you really need to be on the ball. We made our booking 3 months in advance! (Side note: for anyone who thinks it would be great to have a birthday on Valentine’s Day, I can assure you that it is not. You have to compete with loved up couples to get a reservation anywhere and everything is overpriced.)
I remember feeling awestruck when I walked into The Ritz almost two years ago for my first afternoon tea in London, and entering Claridge’s had a similar effect on me. The art deco interior is elegant and stunning.
The cloakroom is located within the Ladies Room which to me seemed a bit unusual, but I suppose its quite useful as you would probably want to store your coat before visiting the toilets anyway. The staff in the Ladies Room are incredibly polite, they even turn the taps on for you and hand you a towel when you go to wash your hands.
We were seated in The Foyer for our afternoon tea and started off with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé and a tray of sandwiches. My favourites were the chicken and egg sandwiches, while my partner preferred the smoked salmon. We were offered a second serving of sandwiches when we finished and couldn’t turn it down.
Once the savouries had disappeared we moved on to tea and scones. I had English Chamomile, while my partner went with a Cornish Earl Grey. The scones were a mix of plain and raisin, served with Cornish clotted cream and Marco Polo gelée (jam). The scones certainly lived up to their reputation, even my very British partner who has sampled many of London’s finest afternoon teas was suitably impressed.
We then moved on to the part I had most been looking forward to: the pastries. I believe the selection we were served was a Valentine’s Day special as it was different to what was listed on the menu on the Claridge’s website. By this point we were getting quite full and only managed to finish two desserts each. Thankfully, the staff packaged up our last four desserts in a beautiful box to take home and enjoy later. And since it was Valentine’s Day, ladies were also given a red rose at the end of their afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea at Claridge’s met my expectations on every level - the food was excellent, the service was attentive and the atmosphere was magical. The Foyer is an impressive setting and even though all the tables were full they are spaced out in way that doesn’t leave you feeling crammed in. It’s a fairly expensive outing (especially with the typical Valentine’s Day tax added on) but it’s definitely worth experiencing at least once.