It's 3 o'clock. I'm strolling down Sloane St, the most exclusive shopping district in London, when it suddenly hits me. That sinking feeling when its hours since lunch and I know that dinner is still a long way off. Thankfully the craving for sustenance has come at just the right time. I'm on my way down to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower to take part in a quintessentially British tradition - High Tea.
Escaping the crisp air outside, I stroll into the hotel's gilded lobby like I own the place. Across from the entrance I spy Chinoiserie restaurant, my port of call for the afternoon. I'm here to try the new 'I Love Paris' tea, which boasts a delectable range of treats that could make Matt Preston green with envy. With a menu designed by master patissier Eric Lanlard, I knew I would be in for a treat.
I did a quick scan of the room as I made my way to the table. The restaurant was already at capacity, with well dressed business men, ladies who lunch and families all getting stuck into the High Tea. I’d imagine this is the kind of place the Sex and the City girls would visit if they were in London.
From the corner of my eye I spot a stack of multi-coloured food emerge from the kitchen. At a distance it looks huge, and it only gets bigger as it comes closer. It's mine. In front of me is a multi-tiered array of the tastiest looking treats I've ever laid eyes on. Thankfully a menu card tells me what each dish is. As I reach for the brioche, I wonder how I can possibly finish all this food...
I start with the savouries; brioche filled with pâté de foie gras, lemon and poppy seed smoked salmon macaroon and mini quiche Lorraine, and then move onto the sweet stuff. There’s a dark chocolate mousse shaped like a Magnum ice-cream, Crème Brûlée Tonka with fresh raspberries, and the obligatory scones with jam and cream. I bet CWA ladies back home would kill for this recipe.
Mid way through the treats before me, I start to wane... sugar overload. It's all too good to waste though. Thankfully it's at this point that the waiter tells me I can actually get a take home box. Will definitely be diving into the box after dinner. I wonder if it will fit in my tiny hotel fridge...
There are some who scoff at the idea of having such an extravagant afternoon tea, but judging by the number of people surrounding me not everyone agrees. I'm sure the Duchess of Bedford, who is credited with having created afternoon teatime, would be proud of the ongoing ritual.
The 'I Love Paris' afternoon tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower costs £40 per person or £45 per person with a glass of champagne, excluding service charge. It may seem like a rather indulgent way of satisfying your 3:30-itis, but I can assure you it's worth every single penny.
Afternoon Tea is served daily from 15:00 to 18:00.