Afternoon tea is one of those decidedly British things to indulge in – after all, there is not much wrong with the world that cannot be solved with a well-timed cup of tea and a piece of cake to wash it down with.
London has taken this to heart and there are all manner of establishments offering all manner of afternoon teas. There are Chinese afternoon teas serving Dim Sum, chocolate themed afternoon teas, Cuban teas and you can find yourselves anywhere from a high end hotel to a central London café.
When there’s a chill in the air though and winter is getting you down, the classic afternoon tea is what really appeals and after hearing of the newly refurbished Town House restaurant at the beautifully classic Kensington hotel, we head there for an afternoon of indulgence.
South Kensington is thronged with those pounding the pavements seeking out the sights, families wandering down museum mile – Natural History Museum, V&A and the Science Museum are all within close walking distance, but if you head in another direction for a few short minutes, you find yourself in the serene surrounds of the Kensington hotel.
The Town House is currently dressed up for the festive season and warm, woodsy centrepieces vie for a starring role with a glittery bauble filled Christmas tree, crackling fires and cosy nooks, whilst still keeping in with the light and airy feel of the room as a whole.
It seems to be one of those rooms where you can casually sink into an armchair and while away an entire afternoon drinking tea and eating cake and actually, the reality of how we’ve spent our afternoon is really not too far away from this ideal.
We both opt for the classic afternoon tea and are tempted by one of the Rare Tea Company’s Silver Needle teas, which seems to go beautifully with all our selection of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats that come along with it.
The savouries included not just the usual delicate sandwiches but a palmier, scone and an inventively spiced fruit loaf with a pungent dollop of Shropshire blue to set it all off. We also feasted on warm scones, generously laden with cream and jam, forgoing the usual debates on whether cream is to come before jam or not, but occupying ourselves with far more delicious occupations.
Of the desserts, two really stand out, the delicate flavours of the red velvet cake sandwiched with rose cream are a novel taste and melt in the mouth while the chocolate tart with sea salt caramel has our taste buds sing out with richness.
It’s an indulgent afternoon off in a lovely setting and it’s a new find for me. It’s also one I can easily see myself returning to with guests in tow or simply to relax in one of the cosy little nooks with a glass of something fizzy in hand.
Afternoon Tea is priced at £30 per person
Town House Kensington
109-113 Queen’s Gate, London
020 7589 6300