(Image: Afternoon Tea, Blakes Hotel, London)
Of all the classic British activities, tea-time might be number one: simple, serene and refreshing. No wonder it's a stable to daily life. It's the perfect pick-me-up, especially after a day of sightseeing or shopping.
Jennifer Conlin just posted this great article for the NYTimes - "A Few Good Stops for a Spot of Tea." She lists her favorite places in London, and describes their respective decor, menu, crowd and price. The perfect guide for your next vist. Here's an excerpt:
THE DÉCOR Decorated by the British designer Anouska Hempel with influences from India, Turkey, Russia and China, the hotel’s subterranean restaurant, where we were seated, is done up in bursts of burnt orange and black, from the tablecloths to the china. With a bamboo staircase, orchids, exotic wall murals and a chirping caged parakeet, ambience is the least of their problems.
THE MENU Predictable fare with all the classic sandwiches, but little zing. Not too many sweets on offer (we were given a single sliver of chocolate cake), but lovely scones sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and served with fresh strawberries. For tea, a rather dull selection of the most basic, herbal to Earl Grey.
THE CROWD Nonexistent, though the Chinese Bar adjacent to the restaurant was hopping with a well-dressed Kensington crowd. We immediately wished we could move our three-tiered tray to one of the sexy sectional sofas just a stone’s throw from our table, which we later learned is apparently an option.
THE PRICE The cheapest of the group at £19 per person, £26 with a glass of Champagne, but for good reason. We were not offered extra sandwiches, more cake or even more hot water for our tea.
Blakes Hotel, 33 Roland Gardens; Knightsbridge; (44-207) 370-6701; blakeshotels.com. Tea, noon to 5:30 p.m.
Bookmark her article for your next trip, and when you're ready to book, contact the experts at Anglo Brampton Travel!