I booked The Berkeley's famous 'Fashionista Tea' for my Birthday last year (2010). I booked it for the end of June little knowing at that time what an important date it would turn out to be..
It was the Football World Cup that year and as the date neared and England were doing well it became apparent that the weekend of the afternoon tea was going to be monumental... Unfortunately England failed to top their qualifying group which meant that a crucial game was going to be played on the Sunday of the afternoon tea - England v Germany.. Bad planning ?
We opted to make a day of it and booked a table at a gorgeous pub pretty much opposite Harrods. It was the Tea Clipper Pub - we missed the beginning of the match but our table was safe!
I do like to watch important matches and maybe I do allow myself to get a little too enthusiastic ...and it couldn't have been more exciting ..for the Germans. We lost 4-1 and we left the pub feeling deflated but at least we had an afternoon tea to enjoy.
The Berkeley - Prêt-à-Portea
In case you are not aware The Berkeley's Afternoon Tea menu is slightly different from the traditional ones on offer. The Berkeley London designer afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea, is uniquely inspired by the themes and colours of the fashion world. The menu is transformed every six months to follow the changing seasons in fashion which keeps it fresh and relevant.
We feasted on fashion inspired from the Spring/Summer 2010 Collections.
Prêt-à-Portea is served in the mouthwateringly named The Caramel Room. Having been to quite a few afternoon teas in London, I must admit I was most disappointed with the room. I found it to be small, cramped and dark. Perhaps this is meant to be atmospheric?
However, I think that I will award The Berkeley with the best afternoon tea crockery. Paul Smith designed..
We ordered our chosen teas.. and this is where The Berkeley was disappointing. We had to wait ages for the tea to arrive and I really do mean ages. All of our sandwiches had been eaten before a drop of tea had passed our lips.
We did complain to the manager at the time who was hugely apologetic and to the hotel's absolute credit we were treated exceptionally well after this.
I chose to drink 'Pear Caramel' tea and I can recommend it as a fabulous scented and delicately sweet tea, perfect for the occasion. I later switched to White Peony tea, I was not disappointed.
I enjoyed the food greatly, the sandwiches were tasty. The canapés a nice touch and well the cakes and fancies were quite simply to die for!
On The Fashion Menu -
Anya Hindmarch light apricot sponge summer 'Halen' bag wrapped in marzipan with playful bow.
Paul Smith orange, papaya and pink lavender bavarois topped with chocolate bowler hat.
Season's must have Chanel clog biscuits adorned with chocolate studs and white leather glaze (a favourite of mine).
Yves Saint Laurent soft romantic white chocolate mousse and raspberry custard finished with crunchy meringue scattered with mini strawberries (this was my absolute favourite dessert of the afternoon).
Sonia Rykel nautical vanilla and raspberry jam layered mousse topped with humorous yellow hat.
Belted Jason Wu poppy-seed cocktail dress biscuits embellished with ruffled purple icing.
Erdem dark silky chocolate cake filled with passion fruit and delicate lace.
Christopher Kane pale pink almond macaroon filled with white chocolate and elderflower ganache topped with a pink checker-board.
Jean Paul Gaultier fluorescent cheese cake on almond and oat base accessorized with a bright yellow sugar twirl.
Completely apt for fashionistas, I think you will agree!
We had a fun afternoon and left with goody bags of the biscuits we couldn't finish
Prêt-à-Portea costs £36.50 per person. For more details click here