Thursday 5 February 2015

Grosvenor House London Anna's Afternoon Tea - Review

The introduction of Afternoon Tea, a quintessentially British tradition, is usually credited to Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, in the early 1800s. It is therefore only natural that the Grosvenor House London should name their traditional Afternoon Tea Menu 'Anna's Tea' in homage.

The menu

Selection of delicate finger sandwiches

Plain and raisin buttermilk scones with Devonshire clotted cream

Choice of British jams: Strawberry, gooseberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, rhubarb and ginger

Assortment of tantalising afternoon tea pastries

Fresh home baked cakes

Choice of leaf tea

My thoughts 

Recently I was invited to experience Anna's Tea for myself and one cold Saturday afternoon in January my husband and I headed off to Park Lane to partake in an afternoon of food indulgence. 

Afternoon Tea is taken in the Park Room which is a spacious, relaxed and almost homely room with nice cosy touches and a variety of seating arrangements and table sizes. As there was just two of us dining we were given one of the sought after window seats and enjoyed the sunshine spilling onto our table. The window seat meant we could watch the world going by and those outside could peer in and see us having afternoon tea. Actually, it was really nice as the majority of people smiled at us as they went by and saw what we were having. London felt very friendly that day. 

To start we were brought a fruit palette cleanser - a small glass of fruit juice packed with fruit pieces. Such a refreshing way to start our afternoon tea. 

We then selected our teas from the wide variety on offer. We opted for the Grosvenor House Royal Blend - A smooth black tea that was packed full of flavour but was delicate enough not to need milk or sugar, it was the perfect choice to accompany the afternoon tea. 

Although I must confess that after the scones I did ask to change my tea to a Rose Tea but only because I adore rose teas and wanted to taste the one on offer on this tea menu. It was gorgeous, a light, floral tea with a hint of rose, it smelt wonderful and I liked seeing the rose buds pour out of the tea pot. 

As my husband is dairy intolerant (and I had informed the restaurant beforehand) he was brought our his very own selection of sandwiches. There were no less than six different choices of finger sandwiches on white or brown bread which I thought was really impressive and it certainly kept my husband full too which was fantastic. There was the usual mix of chicken, egg, salmon and more. All lovely and not a bit of dried bread in sight. 

We were offered more sandwiches but we were already more than full so chose not to take any more and moved on to the scones. These were brought wrapped up in a napkin to keep them warm, we had two each - one plain and one fruit. They were the perfect size, not too small or big and they were slightly crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy inside. Delicious. I personally like my scones just like this so I was pleased. With five choices of jam to go with the clotted cream, I felt thoroughly spoilt.

Luckily there was still room to enjoy the cakes that had been looking at me ever since they were brought out and once again the hotel came up trumps going to a huge effort to accommodate my dairy free husband. There literally was no compromise for him, he had a good mix of cake and fruit covered in dark chocolate. He was absolutely delighted and really, really enjoyed the selection he was presented with. He was so enamoured he told the waiting staff to send his compliments to the chef!

I was equally enthralled with my sweets - mine were the ones pictured on the top layer.

I can honestly say this was one of the nicest and tastiest selections of bite-size mini cakes and desserts I have eaten having Afternoon Tea - the choice appeared to be really considered. A rich chocolate cake, fruit flan, a lemon meringue, a pistachio cake, a fruit mouse and a battenburg and a lemon posset took centre stage.

If that wasn't enough when we had finished all of this we were then taken to a cake table to choose a huge slice of homemade cake to end with. I chose to have mine (a banana cake) boxed up to take home with me as I was really quite full.

Final thoughts 

Anna's Afternoon Tea is plentiful, tasty and extremely good value.

When we arrived there was only one other couple also having afternoon tea but the room soon filled up with a variety of groups and diners in all age groups. The room had a lovely ambiance to it and being quite big there was plenty of room for everyone without feeling that we were on top of each other, although I could hear mild chatter and laughter I certainly could not hear actual conversations. Part way through our tea a pianist arrived, I personally love the addition of live music and this really added to the whole experience.

Our waiting team were friendly and attentive and we couldn't fault the service at all.

Anna’s Tea at the Grosvenor House London costs  £35.50 per person or £48.50 with Champagne. 

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