Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s
Claridge’s Hotel is a 5 star hotel and one of the oldest Hotels in London. It’s only proper that they also serve up one of the oldest English Traditions – Afternoon Tea. Claridge’s has been upholding the Afternoon Tea tradition for 150 years. My dear husband surprised me with an afternoon tea experience for my birthday and let me tell you, it was an experience. We were seated promptly after a quick verification of our reservation. There are many things that Claridge’s does to really cater to the customer experience. First, our coats were checked, and if you are traveling and have bags you can check those too. Secondly, they have a bathroom attendant who literally gives you your soap, turns on the water and hands you a clean hand towel. Now, I know for some that may seem over the top but we are talking about a first class experience here. Now, on to the main afternoon tea experience.
Claridge’s afternoon Tea is by far the most upscale experience I have ever had for an afternoon tea. To find out more about afternoon tea’s and to see a few other places visit my afternoon tea post here.
Claridge’s Tea is carefully curated by the world-renowned tea connoisseur Henrietta Lovell of sources tea from all around the world to include China, Sri Lanka, Africa, India and Cornwall, UK. Each tea is carefully measured out and served with the perfect amount of hot water to ensure a perfect brew. Tea choices include, white teas, green teas, black teas including earl greys and ooglong teas. I tried several teas but here are a few standouts.
The White Silver Tip – it is the most prized of all the white teas as it is picked on twenty days into the year from the Fujian mountains in East China. This tea has the highest level of antioxidants and lowest caffeine levels and is made entirely of tender spring buds.
The Moriuchi Koucha – is a rare black Japanese tea which is hand crafted by Moriuchi-san in Shizuoka. This tea has a smooth, soft and better feel with notes of walnuts and enoki mushrooms. It says best enjoyed without milk. I added milk and still enjoyed it.
Claridge’s Afternoon Tea menu is well thought out. First, everything is timed to bring you the best experience possible. Secondly, their menu is on a seasonal rotation so what I experienced most likely will not be what you will experience food wise but I guarantee the quality will be the same. We were given a selection of five sandwiches. Each sandwich is carefully balanced between bread and filling to ensure a pleasant palate experience. Additionally whichever sandwiches we enjoyed the most, we could request again.
Cucumber – The cucumber sandwich is a very common sandwich to find on any English menu, especially an afternoon tea menu. Claridge’s uses cucumbers that are organically grown in England. The cucumber sandwich consists of cucumber, pine cream and poppy seeds served on white bread (per tradition). It is one of the most refreshing sandwiches you will ever eat.
Egg Mayonnaise – This egg mayonnaise sandwich took me by complete surprise. It was simple yet sophisticated. Their egg sandwich is made from Buford brown eggs that are cooked in a way to retain a wavy texture. They are then paired with a homemade mayonnaise and finished off with truffle. Yes that’s right… truffle y’all. I ordered three additional servings, that’s all I have to say about that.
Chef’s seasonal savoury – This sandwich varies by what is in season and crafted based on the chef’s culinary imagination. For our menu we received pear and pickled walnut tarts topped with Berkswell cheese. They were surprisingly amazing…pickled walnuts – who knew?!
Smoked Salmon – smoked salmon is pretty popular in England, and I must admit it is a pretty enjoyable sandwich. Claridge’s smoked salmon is comprised of delicate layers of salmon, served with horseradish, French sorrel and served on Rye bread. I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich.
Turkey – This sandwich reminded me of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a hugely popular tradition in England, so I appreciate the essence of this sandwich. As with everything else Claridge’s does, quality is at the forefront. Their turkeys are free range and fed organic oats. The Turkey is infused with cranberry (during the cooking process of course) and paired with a pork and chestnut stuffing then served on a homemade malt bread.
Ham – This sandwich also reminded be slightly of Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if that was the intention of it but there were definitely notes of Thanksgiving embedded. Claridge’s executive chef Martyn Nail chose a father and son producer to supply the ham for the Dorrington Ham sandwich. This sandwich is comprised of ham, watercress, orange and clove butter and served on onion bread. While the sandwich was good, it was my least favorite of the six.
Next up are the scones, they are typically served right after the sandwiches. If you have read my post British and Irish 1,000 foods to eat before you die, then you would know that scones are definitely a must. Claridge’s served us freshly baked warm scones. They brought us a plain scone and a raisin scone. Sometimes I wonder how such great things come in such small packages. The scones were accompanied by the world’s best clotted cream (in my opinion) and a Mariage Frères Noël gelée. Furthermore, the clotted cream was almost like ice cream, it was so thick and creamy. I just lathered it on my scone after each bite. The Noël gelée was heaven sent, it is infused with mild festive spices, orange zest and Madagascan vanilla pods.
Afternoon Tea Dessert
Finally, the highly revered Claridge’s Dessert Menu. It always consists of four pastries made fresh each day. Under the guidance of French pastry chef Jérôme Chaucesse, the decadent desserts rotate every four to six weeks. Each creation has a story to tell and is reminiscent of the season. I had the honor of visiting the pastry kitchen to see them at work and it was amazing. The assembly line carefully orchestrated, each with their own job. A quality check is completed on each dessert before it is sent out. Here are the four desserts I enjoyed off the festive season menu.
The Mont-Blanc with chestnut cream was so smooth and delicate.
The Christmas Bauble with pineapple and passion fruit – also renamed by my friend and I as the Baboosh. The flavor hits you like a wave and there is nothing else like it.
The “Black Forrest” with Amaréna cherry which look like little Christmas Trees.
The “Bûche de Noël” with Alézia and chocolat mousse.
Additionally, we were given a pudding to enjoy. They poured liquor over the pudding and set it on fire y’all. It was epic! Claridge’s pudding is made from a secret recipe dating over 100 years.
Claridge’s is definitely ranked as #1 for Afternoon Tea. Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s Tea Room is not just for adults, they also have a children’s afternoon tea option. They also have a Champagne Afternoon Tea option if you fancy Champagne. Click here to visit Claridge’s Website for booking information.