Standing on the corner of one of Belgravia’s many pretty squares in west London is the Pont St restaurant, which offers the ultimate in afternoon tea opulence, inspired by Marie Antoinette.
It’s a phrase often used to demonstrate how a figure of power is so out of touch with everyday people that they don’t understand the realities of life, but for one London restaurant the term ‘Let them eat cake’ is being used in the literal sense.
Pont Street, a restaurant in London’s exclusive Belgravia district, has introduced a Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea, inspired by the phrase Princess Marie Antoinette – who became Queen of France and Navarre from 1774-1792 – is purported to have uttered on hearing French peasants were starving as they had no bread.
Britain’s youngest female executive chef, Sophie Mitchell, has created a menu that reflects the decadence and charm of the French Queen, while staying true to the British tradition of afternoon tea, which we decided we simply had to try.
Our tiered cake stand arrives with finely presented sweet and savoury works of art; what is refreshing is the even ratio of sweet to savoury, much to our approval. One might even say that this spread is fit for a queen (sorry).
We are given a brief introduction to each of the courses and it’s clear that attention to French detail is prime – there are unusual additions, such as Foie Gras on Brioche Toast, and intriguing blends of flavours and artistic show pieces, from Absinthe Choux to a beautiful biscuit designed just like a playing card.
These treats are almost too pretty to eat; the delicate French Fancy is so intricately decorated it wouldn’t look out of place in the window of a French patisserie. We said almost: rest assured reader we did our bit in the name of this review.
The menu may be a little on the adventurous side but fear not, the ubiquitous finger sandwiches and British scones with clotted cream have not been replaced, nor has the traditional pot of tea of your choice (we chose the English Breakfast). However, if you want to add a little fizz to your afternoon then add on a glass of Ruinart Champagne, one of the oldest Champagne houses in France, which compliments the spread perfectly.
If you are looking for a classic menu with a historic twist then the Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea is a real treat, and the location, in the heart of one of London’s most salubrious areas, is pretty hard to beat.
The Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea costs £35 per person and the Champagne Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea is £45 per person.
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