Dining at the Dorchester has always been a distant dream for me, it’s regal reputation is worldwide and it grows in stature year after year. It serves perhaps the most prestigious afternoon tea in London and I had high expectations for our visit counting down the days for weeks before. It did not disappoint.
Stepping inside from the street, you are instantly transported to a bygone era of classic manners and lavish decor. The velvet is the softest, the silk the very finest, and the flowers the biggest in bloom. We were escorted to a quiet corner table, perfect for a voyeur like me. Out waiter’s infectious enthusiasm is memorable even now, he ensured every part of our tea was perfect.
There are several varieties of afternoon tea to choose from at the Dorchester, and their specially designed Chelsea Flower Show themed tea always receives critical acclaim. We tried the classic champagne Dorchester tea, served all year round with a delightful selection of sandwiches, scones and Parisian patisseries.
After a glass of Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne, we were offered a plate of immaculate sandwiches, each with a different filling, freshly-made, the bread in exact crustless rectangles. The flavours are far superior to any I’ve tasted before: seafood, roast chicken and tarragon, egg mayonnaise, cucumber and cream cheese and smoked salmon. On hearing I was a non-fish eater our waiter zoomed away, returning immediately with a selection of substitutions. These were more than adequate, especially the Italian mozzarella and tomato option.
Along with the delicate brew of Dorchester blend tea, came warm scones straight out of the oven, homemade jams and Cornish clotted cream. And then the pieces de resistance, the crown jewels… the cakes. I appreciated the modest servings which allow you to taste without overeating. Even the simplest patisseries were utterly divine, carefully constructed and expertly assembled. The best cake would have to be the chocolate coffee cup, though the strawberry and white chocolate layered torte was exquisite and the pistachio pastry was unique and delicious. The scones were perhaps my favourite though, buttery and crumbly (both plain and fruit), seriously extravagant loaded with thick cream and jam.
Unable to let us leave empty handed, our waiter presented us with a takeaway handbag of edible goodies.
Guests at the Dorchester expect the very best – the afternoon tea certainly delivers.
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