THE RITZ HOTEL, PICCADILLY: Located in perhaps one of the most affluent areas in London, our evening here was definitely one to remember. This was the ultimate treat-yo-self day for me! You can’t go to London without having a high tea, and where else can you go high other than the one of the most iconic hotels in the world, the Ritz? The original hotel was opened in Paris, but the London branch is now over 110 years old, with a renowned reputation for prestige world wide.”Tea at the Ritz” is incredibly well-known, having had visitors such as Winston Churchill, King Edward VII and Queen Elizabeth frequenting the Palm Court over the last century. Keeping an eye out for high tea offers, we went for the Ritz as soon as we heard about their 15% off promotion for evening high tea – an unusual affair, but due to its immense popularity, the Ritz now has high teas from noon all the way until 7:30 pm before closing at 9pm. (Heads up for the bad lighting in the photos as it was very, very orange)
The setting of the high tea is their iconic, Palm Court, with strikingly elaborate decorations, ranging from beautiful glass chandeliers, Louis XVI-style furnishings and a mellow, warm lighting blanketed over the dining area. It features “panelled mirrors of bevelled glass in gilt bronze frames” and “high coving ornamented with gilded trellis-work.” The waiters are dressed in the classic, black suited tail coats and on the night of our meal, all happened to be Italian. There is always live music in the corner just below the steps, which ranges from a small string and piano consort, to opera singing – melodies all just crooning softly in the background, just below the soft murmuring chatter of the high class enjoying an evening of luxury.
The service at the Ritz is impeccable, with the well-groomed waiters constantly offering to replenish not only your platters, but also your teas. They explain all the elements of the tea beautifully and are always up for a chat! They made us feel very welcome and comfortable in a place that was just a whole new level of high society. I’ve been gushing about the decor and hospitality, but what about the food?
At the end of the day, I feel like the exorbitant prices you pay for high tea here mostly end up being for just sitting in the elaborate space that is the Palm Court, and for the first class service – which restaurant do you normally have people calling you “mademoiselle” and making you feel like a spoilt princess?
Traditional Afternoon Tea – GBP 52.0
The good fat: I loved how this high tea was bottomless! We devoured so many plates of sandwiches – especially the egg and salmon, but also a shout out to the ham with mustard as I really enjoyed the tangy spice of the mustard that wasn’t really featured in the other, blander sandwiches. The scones were just delicious! They were the perfect, buttery and crumbly texture but still hard on the outside. The clotted cream was amazingly light and the strawberry jam was very fresh – altogether it made for a delicious combination. Out of the petite fours, I enjoyed the choux pastry the most. The pastry was crumbly and soft, with an inside bursting of a subtly coffee-flavoured, lightly whipped cream. The teas were also very lovely – we got to try 4 as the waiter insisted on bring us another set after our first Russian Caravan and English Breakfast. My favourite was the Dragon Pearls – a needle tea from Fujian, scented with Jasmine. The jasmine gave the tea a very delicate, soothing and flowery aroma that was just delightful!
The bad fat: I would go through and list all the sandwiches, but really they ranged from cucumber with cream cheese, to salmon, ham, cheese, egg and chicken – all the classics. The sandwiches were simple and tasty but nothing special. The petite fours weren’t as good as I expected. Other than the choux pastry, I wasn’t a huge fan of the others as they were all really sweet. The glaze of the raspberry mousse was too overpowering. The macaroon didn’t have that nutty almond strength seen in the best ones, and the salted caramel tart base was a bit dry whilst the filling was a bit too sweet.
SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?
YES – Don’t expect sensational food, but expect sensational service and what it’s like to be living the high life in London just once