Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is an elegant affair. Located by London’s Hyde Park, it is a must have experience while in London.
I decided to book the hotel’s special floral tea, a celebration of the annual Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place every May. My excitement grew as I walked into the hotel lobby, which was filled with hundreds of freshly cut flowers arranged in elaborate bouquets.
The floor was also carpeted with green grass, which made me feel like I had just stepped inside a beautiful English garden.
The afternoon tea was served in a long foyer called the Promenade, decorated in shades of orange, olive green and gold.
I was seated in the back of the room near a pianist who was playing a classical tune on a grand piano, which made the ambiance even lovelier.
The tea service started off with a palate cleansing tea with jasmine, rose and marigold, served in clear glass pot so you could see the tea “bloom” into a flower.
Next were the tea sandwiches, decorated with edible flowers in celebration of the Chelsea Flower Show.
There were five different kinds of sandwiches: free-range egg salad with English asparagus and micro parsley on malted barley bread; Oak-smoked salmon with pickles heritage radishes and a lemon balm and Buddha lemon mayonnaise on caraway bread; baby cucumber with truffle cream cheese; Norfolk corn-fed chicken with confit ginger, apple & turmeric mayonnaise & Surrey Farm Black Angus slow cooked beef with pickled cucumber & horseradish mayonnaise on wholemeal bread.
The cucumber with truffle cream cheese were my favorite, absolutely amazing flavor of real black truffles. Perfect for a hotel as tea as decadent as the Dorchester’s!
The next dish was a palate cleanser called “Strawberries and Lime,” tiny parfait glasses filled with a layer of strawberry jelly, strawberry yogurt mousse and topped with lime foam. These petite parfaits packed a punch! They were the perfect palate cleansers for a floral afternoon tea.
The floral inspired desserts, which were served on a two-tiered tray, each represented a flower. There was a white chocolate and rhubarb cake; a lemon verbena infused financier cake; a “Lemon Lavender Jardin,” chocolate truffle with a white & dark chocolate shell filled with lavender infused ganache and lemon jelly, topped with chocolate “soil” and edible flowers, which made it look like a tiny potted plant. The “crown jewel” of the desserts was a miniature raspberry rose tarte with a sablé biscuit base filled with rose flavored pâte de fruit and a light and airy raspberry mousse that was covered in a pink tinted cocoa butter spray. I love the combination of raspberry and rose, so this was definitely my favorite dessert.
The scones were served last, freshly baked right out of the oven. They were light and fluffy in the center with straight sides and a flat, golden top. They were super buttery, but managed to be light enough so that I could top them with tons of clotted cream and the hotel’s house made jams, including strawberry, which had tons of fresh strawberry flavor and a gooseberry compote with elderflower essence, which was truly spectacular, the tart berries complementing the flowery elderflower cordial.
I ended with a second pot of tea, a caffeine free tisane recommended by our server, made from dried rosebuds. It had a light and floral flavor that was a great end to a beautiful afternoon tea.
The Dorchester truly succeeded at bringing a garden atmosphere into their Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea, with flowers in every element of the tea. They were in the decor, the desserts and the tea itself. Equally impressive was the service, which was excellent from start to finish, from the friendly doorman dressed in top hat and coattails, to the servers, which went out of their way to accommodate any requests I had. It’s an experience that I would highly recommend for anyone to have during a visit to London.