All my friends seem to be turning the big four-oh recently! One of my oldest friends (one I’ve known the longest time obviously – not actually the oldest) hit this magnificent age on Sunday, and so we arranged for me to treat her to the rather opulent Afternoon Tea at Claridges on Monday.
We had both gone for Afternoon Tea at The Ritz about 3 years ago together with some other friends – which had been a lovely treat, although I had been very disgusted by the toilets, which were down some dark dingy stairs, had a queue right out the door and smelled totally gross and un-Ritzy.
We happened to go to the loo before we had our tea – and the difference was rather pleasant!
Once seated in the ‘comfortably posh’ foyer lounge, we were first able to choose which teas we would like (we both went for the Royal Claridges – as when in Rome…) and that was brought across to us with our plate of finger sandwiches. The selection included cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon and horseradish mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and tomato, smoked chicken and hickory mayonnaise and ham with mustard mayonnaise – of which the last was definitely the nicest as it was in the most gorgeous malty bread. And when offered, we accepted another plate of sandwiches
The service was impeccable – all of the waiting staff were so polite, on hand to pour our tea through our lovely silver tea-strainer but not at all intrusive.
And when they saw my friend open her card, they arranged for the pianist and cellist to play Happy Birthday and brought her out a special cake with a candle – which was a lovely
touch, and I think made her day
Next came our lovely light scones with clotted cream and jam, and thus started the ongoing debate as to whether you shoudl put your jam or cream on first. I say cream then jam, my friend says the other way! Now, if it isn’t clotted cream, then I can understand putting the jam on first, but as far as I am concerned, clotted cream is far thicker and more difficult to spread than jam, so you put that on first as it is easier to spread/drizzle jam over the top of it, as when you do it the other way round, the cream slips around on the jam underneath as you try to spread it!
Then was the exciting bit as this week is Chocolate Week in London, and instead of their usual pastries and cakes, we had a selection of beautiful chocolate creations by master chocolatier William Curley. Every single one of them was gorgeous – and I think we were
both a little disappointed that we’d pigged out on sandwiches, and had to turn down an additional plate of cakes! Although it could have made us sick, I guess!
At the end, we were both presented with a little box of two special chocolates to take home, and I gave mine to The Man.
A gorgeous experience that I would recommend to anyone. I love love love Afternoon Teas and am determined to treat myself more often!