Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is an elegant affair. Located by London’s Hyde Park, it is a must have experience while in London.
For my visit to the Dorchester, I booked the hotel’s special Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea, a floral-themed tea in celebration of the annual horticultural event in nearby Chelsea. As a lover of all things floral-related, I couldn’t wait to attend the show myself the following week. My excitement for this special floral tea grew as I walked into the hotel lobby, which was filled with dozens of bouquets of freshly cut flowers.
The tea sandwiches were served next, arranged in a neat row on a platter, decorated with edible flowers and baby watercress. They were the most uniform tea sandwiches I’d ever seen, filled with a plethora of uniquely British ingredients.
The five varieties included a 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.
Though all of the sandwiches were outstanding, the cucumber with truffle cream cheese was a standout, with the amazing flavor of real black truffles. Fitting for an afternoon tea as decadent as the Dorchester’s.
The next dish was a spectacular surprise, a palate cleanser called “Strawberries and Lime,” consisting of strawberry jelly, strawberry yogurt mousse and lime foam layered in tiny parfait glasses. These petite dessert packed a punch of real strawberry and lime flavor.
These scones were heavenly, the right combination of buttery and crumbly, perfect for topping with a generous helping of clotted cream and the hotel’s outstanding house made jams, which included fresh seasonal strawberry jam and an elderflower & gooseberry compote, the flowery cordial complimenting the tart berries.
Everything went together so well–the light as a feather scones, lusciously thick clotted cream, flavorful seasonal jams and the floral infused tea. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a floral-themed afternoon tea, but there were more delights yet to come.
The desserts were elegantly displayed on a two-tiered tray. The gorgeous desserts each featured a floral or seasonal spring ingredient, including a white chocolate and rhubarb cake; a lemon verbena-infused financier cake; a “Lemon Lavender Jardin” chocolate truffle filled with lavender infused chocolate ganache and topped with lemon jelly, chocolate “soil” and edible flowers and the “crown jewel” of the desserts, a raspberry rose tarte consisting of a crumbly sablé biscuit base filled with rose flavored pâte de fruit and a light and airy raspberry mousse covered a pink-tinted cocoa butter glaze. The combination of the tart raspberries and aromatic rose water was so intoxicating, I was transported directly to dessert heaven.
I finished with a second pot of tea, a caffeine-free tisane recommended by my server, made from dried rosebuds. It had a light and floral flavor that was the perfect conclusion to a spectacularly beautiful afternoon tea.
The Dorchester truly succeeded at bringing a “secret garden” atmosphere into their Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea, with flowers in every element of the tea, including the decor, sandwiches, jam, desserts and even the tea itself. Equally impressive was the service, 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. Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is a classy and refined experience that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting London.
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