Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, London

What could be more quintessentially English than afternoon tea, and what better place to have it in, than at The Ritz? This iconic hotel on Piccadilly played host to Margaret Thatcher during her final days, featured prominently in the film Notting Hill, and regularly provides catering services to Prince Charles who has since, awarded it a Royal Warrant for catering services.

Afternoon tea takes place in the The Palm Court, which keeps in tune with the hotel's Louis XVI style architecture. Tea here requires a reservation be made way in advance and compliance with a strict dress code. One is entitled to a two-hour slot where you are allowed to eat to your heart's content. Needless to say, my friends and I starved the entire day in order to ensure we got the most out of it.

Afternoon tea began with a selection of rather traditional sandwiches. The Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter remained a personal favorite, with the Ham Sandwich with Grain Mustard Mayonnaise coming in close second. Both of these were highly satisfying and got us craving seconds. 

The Chicken Breast with Horseradish Cream was alright, though the Cheddar and Chutney, Egg Mayo and Watercress, and Cucumber and Cream Cheese sandwiches were rather disappointing. I expected more refined a taste and more superior a quality for a place as esteemed as the Ritz. 

We were then served some Plain and Raisin Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream (pictured below). These were undoubtedly one of the best scones I've had. Cutting through them were like through knobs of butter - a smooth and clean slice. The marshmallow-like texture magically transformed into a crumbly satisfaction upon it hitting the mouth. With the Cream and Jam, it was simply divine. 

There are a wide variety of traditional tea blends - about 16 in total. I had ordered myself the Darjeeling First Flush - a delicate floral flavor - to begin with, ending with the Ritz Royal English - a deep malty blend consisting of Assam and Ceylon teas. It was definitely satisfying and up to a standard that one would expect from the Ritz. Quality silver teapots and bone china helped keep it warm and drinkable.

We were then offered a selection of delicious patisserie.  These desserts were decadent, yet light - encapsulating a multitude of flavors and textures within each bite. The Rhubarb Dome proved to be our ultimate favorite as mousse, cake and jam went hand-in-glove. The Salted Caramel Macaron with a chocolate disk sandwiched between was also another favourite of ours.

There were trays of cakes being wheeled around by waiters in tailcoats, as we were offered a choice between Lemon Drizzle and a Pecan Cake with a Toffee-Cream Frosting. I was too full to have tried the lemon drizzle, but zesty scents of it emanated from every slice my friend had made. My pecan cake was dense and deep in flavour - incredibly satisfying but quite the belt buster!

As we munched on our dainty morsels in the gilded surroundings of the Palm Court, we were surprised to have found out how quickly two hours had went. What happened as a result was what I was most disappointed with: we were simply handed our bill, and the card machine brought to us without question. It was unfortunate that such an enjoyable experience was brought to an abrupt end. 

I understand the rationale for this, seeing as The Ritz is often considered 'the' place for afternoon tea - but traditional London hotels such as Goring and Claridge's often do not have such limits, as afternoon tea is generally regarded a leisurely activity. In conclusion, afternoon tea for £47 per person at the Ritz would definitely be worth going for once. But think twice if you plan on coming back again. 

Address: The Palm Court, The Ritz, 50 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR, United Kingdom

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 6.5/10





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