There’s so many places that do a ‘high tea’ these days that it’s hard to distinguish which ones are worth splashing out on – I was back in Scotland last week and even our local garden centre does one for under a tenner!
I think that high tea should be something to be savoured, something special. I don’t want a high tea for under a tenner, I want it to be exquisite and enjoyed as intended. Somewhere that offers just that is the Corinthia Hotel in central London, a short walk from Embankment tube.
I was looking for somewhere special to take my sister for her birthday and the Corinthia came highly recommended. I knew as soon as we walked in that I had made the right choice. A grand entrance, warm service, elegant crockery, and a variety of… different flavoured sandwich bread, for starters! (Seriously, from beetroot bread to lemon buns! I’m really into carbs but even my sister, who is not, thought the breads were amazing!) No gimmicks or mad hatters here, but what greeted us was a library of teas and hand crafted culinary delights.
High tea is served in ‘The Lobby’, which is of course the lobby of the hotel, but it is magnificent. A massive chandelier hangs in the centre of the room and reflects light everywhere, while flowers are scattered preciously in between all the tables. We were sat at a cosy table by the courtyard, just out of the shadow of the massive chandelier. The table was dressed elegantly but simply, white linen of course, and our chairs were tall comfy arm chairs (perfect for relaxing into with a cup of tea).
We were asked to choose our tea blend from a menu of 23! All with names and flavours both exotic and intriguing. This choice seemed too much to ask of me on a Sunday, but wonderful all the same! They also had a white blend aptly named ‘Wedding Tea’, which has been created exclusively for the bride-to-be and weddings – how perfect! It is ‘a wonderful blend of exotic Mutan white tea, hand-blended with pink rosebuds, vanilla and a hint of lemon, that inspires long lasting happiness’ (it actually says that on the menu). On the contrary I ended up going for a Pomegranate Oolong, which was delicious.
What followed was a delicate raspberry amuse bouche, with all manners of raspberry infused in it; fresh, crushed, coulis and freeze dried. Dubbed on the menu as, ‘Lightness and Laughter, Lemon-Infused White Chocolate Namelaka and Raspberries’. I could have easily eaten multiples of this alone and been happy with the high tea!
Then came a wonderful selection of different breaded sandwiches, which kept being replenished until we were completely carb’ed out, and then the scones and cakes after that – the essence of the high tea in my opinion. The scones were warm, and the cakes were so delicate they looked like ornaments. I think the pictures speak for themselves, but the flavours just exploded in your mouth.
The whole experience had the formula to feel quite stuffy, but in fact it was so relaxed and felt so contemporary. From the casual arm chairs to the modern chandelier, it was just so enjoyable. Besides the fact that I got to spend 3 uninterrupted hours chitchatting merrily with my sister!
Make no mistake, this is not a hen party option (although you can book a private room for such occasions). This is somewhere special to take your mum, sister, or MOH during your wedding planning process. Or perhaps a unique thank you gift afterwards for all three, that you can enjoy together.
For me, a lot of the enjoyment of wedding planning was spending extra time with relatives and loved ones. Planning a wedding meant there were always excuses for extra celebrations, so make this one of them and treat someone special.
We had the Autumn Afternoon Tea at £50 per person excluding any bubbles, and it was a feast. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute and every bite. Click here view the menu and find out more.
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