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, filled with hundreds of freshly cut flowers arranged in elaborate bouquets.
The lobby floor was carpeted with green grass, making me feel like I had just stepped inside a beautiful English garden.
Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is served in the Promenade, a long foyer richly decorated in shades of orange, olive green and gold.
I was seated near a pianist who was playing a classical tune on a grand piano, making the ambiance in the room even lovelier.
The tea service started off with a palate cleansing tea, a jasmine green tea infused with, roses and marigolds, served in a clear glass pot that allowed you to watch the tea “bloom” into a flower.
The first course to be served were the tea sandwiches, beautifully decorated with edible flowers and micro greens in celebration of the Chelsea Flower Show. The varieties included 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 was absolutely amazing, showcasing the flavor of black truffles beautifully, absolutely perfect for a hotel tea as decadent as the Dorchester’s
The next dish was a palate cleansing dessert called “Strawberries and Lime,” served in tiny parfait glasses filled with strawberry jelly, strawberry yogurt mousse and lime foam. These petite parfaits were spectacularly presented and bursting with strawberry and lime flavor.
The scones were served next, freshly baked right out of the oven. They were some of the best scones I’ve ever had, light and fluffy in the center with straight sides and a flat, perfectly shaped golden top.
The interior was rich and buttery, but managed to be light enough to top with copious amounts of clotted cream and the hotel’s stunning house made jams, including fresh strawberry jam and a gooseberry compote infused with elderflowers, which was truly spectacular, the flowery elderflower cordial complimenting the tart berries.
The floral-inspired desserts were displayed on a two-tiered tray, each representing a spring flower. They included a white chocolate and rhubarb cake; lemon verbena-infused financier cake; “Lemon Lavender Jardin,” white chocolate truffle filled with lavender-infused ganache and lemon jelly, topped with chocolate “soil” and edible flowers and last but not least, a miniature raspberry-rose tart, which was the “crown jewel” of the bunch. The dessert featured a rich sablé biscuit base filled with a rose-flavored pâte de fruit and a light and airy raspberry mousse coated with a pink-tinted cocoa butter spray. The combination of raspberry and rose was tantalizing to the senses.
I finished the tea with a caffeine-free tisane made from dried rosebuds. It had a light and floral flavor and was beautiful to look at through the clear glass pot.
The Dorchester succeeded at bringing a garden atmosphere into their Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea. They were in every facet of the tea, including the decor, the sandwiches, desserts, jam and even in 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. My afternoon tea at the Dorchester was unforgettable, something I would highly recommend to anyone visiting London who is seeking a memorable afternoon tea experience.