Believe me or not but I never had a full afternoon tea experience as yet. Yes, I worked at The Dorchester and tasted all their tea pastries and sandwiches thousands of times, yes - I have been to Cornwall and had the most amazing scones with clotted cream and jam, yes - I have attended numerous banquets and meeting in five star hotels with tea food being served, but I have never actually sat down and had the full high tea! Well... never before Monday, when I met a dear friend of mine at Corinthia Hotel.
The tradition of sitting down for an relaxing hour, having few bites of light sandwiches, sipping warm tea and nibbling on mini desserts is fantastic. We really do not cherish our days and our frienships as much as we should. I think tea is the time of the day when you can sit back, relax and chatter away with your best friend. It's not a meal you can not skip, it's not one that will fill you up. It is the small pleasure in life you don't really need but fully enjoy when you have it. And what best place to expereince it than a traditional London five star hotel. There are the theatrical tea times, such as the one at The Dorchester or The Ritz. There are plenty places offering a modern take on the tea, such as Sanderson. Corinthia does it in its own low key way. They don't brag about it but they do it well.
The sitting is very comfortable and relaxed, tables are very well spread out and the service is professional, friendly and non intrusive. You very much feel they do honor your comfort and privacy. The first thing served is Champagne and small amuse. This time we got Tapioca with mango, passion fruit, pineapple and lemon foam - a real palette opener and tasted delicious. Then there is a plate of sandwiches and made with unusual breads - the green one with basil and red one with beetroot. Great subtly flavored filling! You get your tea at this stage too. The tea menu is good. They might not have any real tea 'showstoppers' but the selection is honest and satisfying even for the most demanding tea enthusiast. They have a short but very exciting selection of historical teas such as Imperial Lapsang blend named after Winston Churchill. My tea experience fell on Halloween and it was nice to see small 'spooky' touches - a skull shaped white chocolate, or pumpkin scones. Overall the food side of things was delivering what's promised. If you are looking for a good place for tea of the beaten London track - Corinthia is a good shot!