Just like the Queen, strawberries and cream at Wimbledon and rainy bank holidays, some things are quintessentially English. And taking afternoon tea at the Ritz is no different.
As well as being English, the strict dress code, doormen in top hats and tails, and the harpist gently strumming in the background, all add to the grandeur and glitz of this very special experience.
Booked up literally months in advance (be warned if you are planning a special occasion), the five afternoon tea sittings per day are held in the very opulent Palm Court, with its (as the name suggests) palm trees, chandeliers, gold flourishes and marble floors.
Your tea order is taken first – there are seventeen to choose from including all kinds of weird and wonderful varieties or just good old English breakfast tea. Loose leaf and bone china really do equal a better cup though. But it is the three tier cake stand which is the real show stopper. The top tier has little tiny cakes on it, the middle tier is filled with light and fluffy raisin scones (and served with clotted cream and jam) and the bottom tier has a selection of perfectly cut and shaped finger sandwiches (no crusts of course). There are six different varieties – cheese and chutney on onion bread, ham and mustard, cucumber with cream cheese and dill on caraway seed bread, chicken and horseradish, smoked salmon and lemon butter on rye bread and egg mayonnaise with shallots and watercress. These, like everything are replenished readily.
Once you are fit to burst, the dessert trolley does its rounds offering a choice of individual strawberry trifles, black forest gateau and apple cake.
After about an hour and three quarters, it is a case of “everybody out” while they turn the tables round for the next sitting. Although it could be argued that you are on the conveyor belt of a long line of other guests, it is a well oiled machine and it wouldn’t be as popular or world famous if the Ritz weren’t doing everything right.
Put the champagne in your champagne afternoon tea by adding a glass of fizz for an extra £12.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7493 8181