We had to change the number of people going a few times, and even the time of the booking and to The Savoy's credit they handled it well. My husband also called up a few days in advance to notify them of his request for dairy free, and was assured this wouldn't be a problem.
The Savoy has recently reopened having undergone a £100 million restoration so I was excited to be one of the (relatively) new visitors. The hotel is set back from the main road and looks stunning, Walking up to the entrance I felt a real sense of grandness as I approached this "Rolls Royce" of a building!
The reception area is huge and befitting this 'Grand' hotel.
We were taken through to the Thames Foyer where Afternoon Tea is served and shown to our seats. The Thames Foyer is the heart of the hotel. In the ceiling there is a glass cupola feature which allows natural daylight to flood in and the centrepiece of the room is a magnificent winter garden gazebo.
I was delighted to be seated opposite the new Beaufort Bar (actually at the time all we knew was that we were sat opposite some mirrored doors, which later opened up to reveal this gorgeous setting. I am looking forward to enjoying a drink there one day!) and behind us was the pianist in the gazebo which I loved.
|The Beaufort Bar|
We chose our teas and sat back to enjoy a relaxed Afternoon Tea in this truly sumptuous of surroundings.
There is a wide selection of teas to choose from - teas that are included in the price and some rarer ones that can cost up to £20.50 extra! I started with a Scented White Tea - The White Peony and Rose Tea and later switched to an Oolong Tea - Oriental Beauty. This is famed to be one of the Queen's favourite teas so I simply had to try it... Both were delicious, delicate and highly recommended.
|A close up of the Rose Tea in the teapot|
The first hint of disappointment was when the sandwiches arrived and there was no mention of the dairy free items. My husband queried it and there was a look of surprise from our waiter. He disappeared and after quite a while had passed and the rest of the party had eaten a whole round of sandwiches, he returned with a separate platter for my husband. After this gesture dairy free was not mentioned again by the waiter.
|Our sandwiches and scones (there were 2 of these on our table)|
There was plenty of food on offer - The finger sandwiches included honey roasted ham with apple-cider mustard, egg and cress and smoked salmon with mild horseradish. A choice of two scones plain and raisin followed with a choice of strawberry preserve or lemon curd and of course the obligatory Devonshire clotted cream.
Beginning to feel full we were then brought my favourite, the selection of French pastries - these were amazing and moreish so we had more brought to us!
On the plate are
Black Forest Swiss roll
Savoy chocolate and pistachio “Opera”
Valrhona chocolate éclair
Hazelnut financier with caramelia mousse
Blackberry and roasted white chocolate macaroon
Passion fruit tartlet with exotic fruits
Yum, yum and more yum.
As I mentioned it was my sister's birthday and once the pastries had been eaten, the pianist started to play 'Happy Birthday' some of the room sang along and this was brought to our table
By this time we were quite full and yet there was another final (phew!) course. The trolley was wheeled to our table and we had a choice of 3 Thames Foyer signature cakes. For my sins I chose chocolate as did some of the party, the others probably wisely, chose the carrot cake.
The Thames Foyer is a large room and a lot of the time we were waiting long periods for our waiter to return to top our teas up, refresh our teas which had gone cold or ask for more food. Most of the time we couldn't even see our waiter to catch his eye. My husband was disappointed that The Savoy was not better prepared to deal with dairy free requests, and when no alternative was offered/ forthcoming when we were enjoying our delicate desserts he requested some fruit, a tiny plate of fruit eventually appeared.
We spent 3 hours, chatting, eating and listening to the wonderful pianist. She happily accepted requests and was very appreciative if you clapped at the end of each of her pieces. I loved the surroundings, the chairs were comfortable, the gold decor magnificent and decadent, the ambiance of the room and the live music but sadly the day was hugely let down by the lack of 'service' - which you pay 12.5% extra for. I wasn't paying but the bill payer paid it not wishing to make a fuss, but I could see that they were left feeling hard done by.
Afternoon Tea costs £36 per person and is served from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.
Dress code - Smart Casual, No Sportswear.
For more details click here.