Would you care for some scones, Sir?
In February I visited London once again, after getting acquainted with it a week prior to the 2012 Olympics.
As there are so many cities in the world that I haven’t visited before, I am normally not a big fan of going back to a city so quickly.
However, for London, I was more than willing to make an exception.
When you find yourself in a remarkable place for the second time, everything feels so much more relaxing, there is no rush what so ever. You see the hurdles of tourists crowding each other for the perfect snapshot of London Eye from the banks on the River Thames and you unwittingly wonder if you were ever amongst them. So, it was time to say no to Big Ben, no to Madame Tussauds, no to open-top bus tours,.. I wanted to act British, like a Sir and preferably with an accent.
Situated in the West End, The Ritz is one of London’s iconic landmarks and is renowned for its extraordinary level of service. Since the hotel opened in 1906, The Ritz has been a host to members of several Royal families, key politicians, Hollywood actors and many more. Throughout the years it has been more than pleased to receive numerous awards and accolades such as Top Five Star Weddings venues, Top 5 hotels in the UK, Top 100 hotels in the World, …
Furthermore, during the Top London Afternoon Tea Awards 2012, The United Kingdom Tea Council presented them with a special Award of Excellence, in recognition of outstanding quality and consistency.
Where better to relish a quintessential British tradition such as Afternoon Tea, than in one of London’s finest establishments?
I could see no downside to dressing up, savoring dainty cucumber sandwiches, appetizing pastries & perfectly warm scones while drinking leaf tea out of bone china cups. Feeling like a gentleman has never been so easy.
For Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, one is kindly requested to present oneself at the entrance of the Palm Court, where one is welcomed by the gracious ladies managing the reservations. After being guided to my table, I was greeted by a member of the waiting staff who introduced himself and said it would be his pleasure to ensure I had a wonderful time during Afternoon Tea. As I booked a table for a party of 1, he promptly offered me to bring a copy of The Daily Telegraph & some magazines, a very nice touch.
Being presented the Tea menu, it was clear that deciding between such a diversity of flavors would probably be the hardest part of my visit. By far do I consider myself to be a tea connoisseur but I do know what pleases me and might I say the Darjeeling First Flush was excellent. At that time, the 3 tier cake stand was also brought and neatly placed onto my table. Was all that for me?
Everything looked, smelled and tasted absolutely delicious! Little ham, cheddar cheese, .. and cucumber sandwiches on the bottom plate and divine pastries on the highest plate. I must admit, I tried them all. Of course, while reading about fluctuating stock markets, oil scarcity and world domination. I wouldn’t want to fall out of character, right?
“Would you care for some scones, Sir?”
The moment suprême had arrived. Freshly baked scones were brought and gently placed on the middle plate of the cake stand,
where they awaited patiently to be split horizontally and getting copiously covered with strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream.
As etiquette dictates savories first, scones next and sweets last, although I might have bend the rules a little on this one.
While I was enjoying the moment, I took the time to have a good look around, seeing astonished & delighted people doing the same, listening to live music being broadcasted from the piano, taking in the atmosphere.
After working my way up and almost finishing all the sweets, it seemed unimaginable that I would be able to eat the last pastry on top.
Out came the waiter with a trolley and lemon cake. I could have sworn he had a smirk on his face.
The service was impeccable during the several stages of the Afternoon Tea, which may take up to almost 2 hours. Time flew by. Multiple times was I offered refills, more sandwiches, .. or if I were to try another Tea perhaps. Porcelain plates & cups, a silver tea pot & cutlery, gorgeous chandeliers,… this wasn’t just a fancy movie set, it was the real deal. How I imagined British Tradition to be, exquisite.
“The dress code of The Ritz reflects the ambience and style of the different areas of the hotel. In The Ritz Restaurant and The Palm Court, gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie”
Traditional Afternoon Tea, costs £45 per person and is served & enjoyed in the Palm Court.
Accompanied by a fine selection of Tea, one is invited to indulge the following:
- Ham Sandwich with Grain Mustard Mayonnaise on White Bread
- Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Chutney on Onion Bread
- Cucumber Sandwich with Cream Cheese, Dill, and Chives on Caraway Seed Bread
- Chicken Breast Sandwich with Horseradish Cream on White Bread
- Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter on Rye Bread
- Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich with Chopped Shallots and Watercress on White Bread
- Freshly Baked Raisin and Plain Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserve
- Assortment of Afternoon Tea Pastries and Cakes
Info: www.theritzlondon.com and on Youtube
It is worth mentioning that I visited in February and upon making my reservation online it was indicated that due to high demand, to which Valentine’s Day may have led, availability for up to 12 weeks was very limited.
Nevertheless, do plan in advance, as Afternoon Tea in The Ritz is very popular throughout the year and a worthwhile experience that should not be missed.