Looking to impress this Mother’s Day? Then look no further than the St Ermin’s Hotel whose Flights of Fancy Afternoon Tea offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of central London.
Not only is St Ermin’s a superb venue in which to spend an afternoon supping teas but it has also played an important part in London’s history. Dating from the 15th century, the hotel was frequented by Sir Winston Churchill in the 1940s – he even held a historic meeting here – and rumour has it that a tunnel runs from underneath the lobby all the way to Westminster.
The tea lounge is cleverly located overlooking the beautifully ornate hotel lobby, making for a very relaxing and luxurious setting. The deliciously indulgent menu offers a selection of British classic sandwiches and sweet treats, all accompanied by specially blended teas and a trio of flutes of Laurent-Perrier Champagne.
On our visit we were welcomed by a very attentive and warm waitress who attended to every stage of the meticulously detailed dining experience: so meticulous that even the strength of the tea was determined by three egg timers, set to a choice of light, medium and strong brews.
Staff were on hand to top up our pastel-coloured china tea cups and introduce a different Champagne to pair with each course, creating an elegant and indulgent dining experience.
To start, we tucked into cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches and we didn’t refuse the offer of a refill; just one more smoked salmon and caviar sandwich we promised ourselves before we move onto the sweet selection.
The cakes weren’t arranged on a traditional cake stand but on a simple three-tiered white shelf, displaying each creation as a pair to be clearly admired before devouring. One thing to bear in mind is that the cakes are followed by a range of freshly baked scones that aren’t to be missed, so make sure you leave room for the grand finale.
Our favourite cake was the red velvet and white chocolate one; a beetroot cake layered with sweet cream cheese, the contrast of white and deep red stripes was stunning.
Once we had polished off the rhubarb and custard macaroon and cream and strawberry posset it was difficult to imagine round three, but before we knew it a bowl of perfectly fresh baked scones was brought out, accompanied by a pot of clotted cream and home-made blueberry jam that was to die for. Of course, we needed our third glass of Laurent Perrier to accompany these lemon, orange and plain scones; the rose is specially selected to complement the scones and it really did.
The delightful Flights of Fancy Afternoon Tea costs £45 per person and with a menu that changes seasonally, there’s every reason to make a return visit.
Wait until September and you might be in for a treat of the sweetest kind, with a menu that features honey as the star ingredient – all the more home-spun as it’s produced by the hotel’s very own bees, found hard at work in the apiary on the third-floor terrace. Until then, there’s plenty here to treat your mother to, Mother’s Day or not.
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