It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

High Tea at The Berkeley Hotel, London, UK

Some of The Berkeley's current High Tea favours ...

My gorgeous friend Kris was visiting London from the US with her hubby and I managed to snag some very cheap flights on Ryanair to go and spend some time with her in one of our favourite cities. Because we'd not seen each other for ages, we decided to treat ourselves with a lovely High Tea, and the offering at The Berkeley seemed just the ticket.

It's billed as a fashion afternoon tea, with the little delicacies based on the current seasons catwalk fashion from the big international designers.  Yes, I know that sounds a wee bit quirky, but it kind of works.  The High Tea starts at 44 pounds per head and escalates sharply if you want a glass of champers to accompany it - you also need to book well in advance.

We dressed up (do dress up) and arrived promptly at our appointed time, and were escorted to a beautiful table, laid with The Berkeley's own High Tea china (that gorgeous harlequin pattern pictured above - WANT!).  After perusing the tea menu and deciding to upgrade to a glass of champers each (squeeeeee!), our attendant scampered out with our etagere of treats.  Now, we were both a little miffed that there was only one of each thing - and there were two of us - and it cost 44 quid (cue the raised eyebrows), but it was explained that it was a "bottomless" service and that we could have as many of those things as we wished.  Whilst that's rather generous, it meant that we had to cut things in half or take a bite each, to see what each thing was like - not ideal (or posh).

We were still on Autumn/Winter 2013 collection (it's now Spring/Summer 2014), and this is what we were served:-

  • Oscar de la Renta's orang bavarois gown topped with shocking pink chocolate embroidery
  • Jean Paul Gaultier's quilted gold banana and caramel cremeux with passion fruit compote and a leopard print chocolate shard
  • Burberry Prorsum's ginger trench coat biscuit with caramel icing
  • Giles' gold chocolate feather set on a base of Sachertorte
  • Miu Miu's polka dot Joconde and Gianduia mousse with playful orange neck scarf
  • Gianvito Rossi's chocolate knee-high boot biscuit with snow white icing
  • Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania checked mint green macaroon coat
  • Saint Laurent's autumn red Classic duffle 6 Victoria sponge cake bag

There was also a tray of gorgeous little sandwiches, the best of them being an egg salad on brioche - YUM - we kept ordering more of those.  Let me just say that it all looked totally amazing and we were rather thrilled, but sadly it didn't taste as good as it looked.  It was all "nice", but certainly not mind blowing.  Several things merited a "Not worth the calories" statement after the initial bite, though it was all certainly incredibly pretty - slightly more style over substance.

The only other slight niggle was that every single staff member we dealt with only spoke English as a second language, a very highly accented second language, and we rarely understood anything they said.  Now, I'm certainly not knocking people who can master English as a second language (it's a shockingly difficult language to learn), but I could see that many other tables were having the same problem.

Don't get me wrong, we had an absolute ball and stayed for several hours, but I don't think we'd go back again and would probably try somewhere else next time.

The Berkeley Hotel
Wilton Place
London  SW1X 7RL

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