As a Christmas present, I said that I would take my ex-mother-in-law (yes, I know) for afternoon tea with me & The Girl sometime, as she has always loved her tales of our cakey exploits. It took me a LONG time to actually get around to arranging it, but we finally did two weeks ago.
I had managed to get a Groupon voucher for 4 people for afternoon tea (with a glass of Prosecco!) for £58 at The Waldorf Hotel, so my friend came along with us too as part of HER birthday present. This was the ‘posh’ part and the ‘quirky’ part had been our previous afternoon tea at Drink Shop Do.
To make it a real occasion, we got a cab from me ex-MIL’s in Stoke Newington – which was the most scary, horrible drive I have EVER experienced in my life (apart from a memorable one in Tunisia…) and one that I don’t think any of us was sure we were going to survive! Thank God it was Sunday traffic, otherwise I think Premier Cars in Church Street would’ve had a major court case on their hands!
Slightly shaken, it was rather lovely to be greeted by a liveried doorman at The Waldorf, and also to be able to be seated ahead of our booked time (the cab was REALLY moving!).The staff couldn’t have been more hospitable.
The Homage Grand Salon at The Waldorf was slightly smaller than I was expecting it to be (we were in an ‘intimate’ corner just off from the photo shown here), but had mirrored walls which made it light and bright, and seemingly larger. It was completely full too, which was really nice as it definitely adds to the atmosphere, although I have to say, our table was a little cramped and we were unable to fit all of our individual teapots on, and had to have an ‘overflow’ table.
The Girl and my MIL opted to swap their Prosecco’s for juice before me and my mate had considered that we could have nicked theirs and had two each! Doh! We had both gone for the rosé Prosecco which I have to say was very lovely indeed!
The sandwiches arrived and they were very nice. Soft, yielding bread – obviously made fresh – smoked salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and cheese, ham and mustard, tomato and cheese and egg mayonnaise. We managed to distribute them according to silly people’s foibles 😉
Unfortunately, we then had quite a wait for our tea and scones. The waiter had said that they only bring the tea once people have finished their sandwiches.
We each got a fruit and plain scone and they were excpetionally light and fluffy, although unfortunately the jam and cream servings seemed rather stingy. I think the problem is that you are given one pot of each – and that seemed to be the same for four as it was for two. There definitely wasn’t enough of either for all of us – and The Girl doesn’t even eat clotted cream, and I didn’t have jam on one of my scones. I guess we could have asked for more, but being British, we don;t like to make a fuss 😉
Then onto the cakes. We cut each one in half so that we all had a try of each cake. there were two each of a selection of four – a blueberry macaron, a strawberry and cream tartlet, a chocolate and almond meringue type cake and an odd chocolate cone with a blob of jelly on the top.
The macaron was very nice (but there is only so much you can say about a macaron), the tartlets were exquisite – the pastry was more like shortbread, it was sweet, delicate and very buttery, the chocolate and almond cakes were the ones we were a little dubious of, but turned out to be the best – a chocolate mousse in a soft meringuey ‘sandwich’ and then finally the strange chocolate cone thing. Finely tempered dark bitter chocolate filled with a berry mousse and then topped with a very sour citrus jelly. The Girl only liked the inside of her cone, but we managed to polish the whole lot off between us.
It was a lovely afternoon – we didn’t feel at all rushed and had a great chat. I think The Girl felt very grown-up having girlie time. It also felt very nice having the doorman hail as a black cab to go back to Stoke Newington – which had a lovely driver and ended up costing less than the death-minicab from Permier Cars! how does that work!
The Waldorf Sparkling afternoon tea is usually £29.50 per person. I guess that isn’t too shabby considering it is a very nice Prosecco. However, don’t go to The Waldorf expecting the exquisite grandeur of The Ritz or Claridges, as it simply isn’t the same league, lovely as it is (but then they are obviously a lot more expensive!). And don’t be too shy to ask for more cream & jam like we were!