For the last, say 5 years or so, I’ve known that my mum has fancied going to Afternoon Tea at The Ritz. Me being me (i.e. a lover of all things cake-like, and tea-like), but somewhat disorganised (i.e. unable to get my act together when reservations are taken months in advance) meant it was only this year I actually managed to get a date in celebration of her birthday. In February. (Her birthday’s in November). Despite this, I was pleased as I had managed to grab the most popular sitting of 1.30pm (they also have sittings at 11.30am, 3.30pm & 5.30pm) and clearly it was worth it to just see how excited my mum was at a) getting to spend the whole day together, b) drink tea, and c) drink tea at The Ritz no less!
One of the joys of our Afternoon Tea was sitting in The Palm Court with its beautifully airy high ceilings, lavish (but tasteful) touchings of gold, and their impressive floral centre piece.
We were welcomed by their attentive & immaculately dressed waiters who sat us down and helped us pick which teas would suit our tastebuds – mum went for the Ritz Royal Blend (which was a deliciously strong English tea), whereas I opted for the Darjeeling which did not disappoint. Before our silver teapots arrived, a gleaming cake stand was brought out along with a couple of glasses of bubbly.
The centre tier was empty as we were told that the scones were being kept warm and toasty for us which was a lovely little touch. We started on the sandwiches which consisted of:
- Ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on white bread
- Cheddar cheese with chutney on onion bread
- Cucumber with cream cheese, dill, and chives on caraway bread
- Chicken with horseradish cream on white bread
- Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye bread
- Egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots & watercress on white bread
My favourites were the ham taste-wise, and the cucumber (as I rarely have the occasion where they are available!). A waiter came around tempting us with more sandwiches to refill our plates, but we made the wise decision to hold off as we knew there would be (much) more to come!
Next, the scones & cakes!
^^^ Cakes from left to right: Banana mousse, chocolate torte, millefeuille, caramel macarons.
Sadly the scones (either with raisins, or plain) came out before we had finished our sandwiches which meant they were no longer warm when we cut into them. Thankfully the two generous pots of strawberry jam & clotted cream in part made up for it:
However, these were most definitely my least favourite part of the tea, and I’ve had lighter, more buttery scones in the past. Really, I should have just had one but the glutton with me couldn’t resist digging into another. Eventually, I stopped at one and a half as firstly, they weren’t ridiculously impressive, and secondly, I needed to make room for the cakes. Oh, the cakes!
I was a fan of the banana mousse and millefeuille, the macarons were tasty, but those of Pierre Hermé will always be held closest to my heart. By this point we were both bursting at the seams, so the rich chocolate torte sadly never even reached my lips.
At this point, another waiter came by with an extra ‘cake trolley’! Upon which, lay both walnut, and toffee apple cakes. I had sadly had my fill at this point (hence why there are no photos, I was a little caked-out by the time it had come around..!). My mum however was loving it so got a sliver of each. I ended up having a bite of each and they were both superb (particularly the toffee apple, complete with caramelised mini apple balls mmm!).
After our delights, we had some time to sit and natter away and drink from our (seemingly) never-ending tea pots.
Over the past few years it’s been wonderful to see our relationship transform from, not only a mother-daughter dynamic, but also a deep friendship and mutual understanding. We’ve reached the point where we can chat literally about anything. We spoke about any difficulties we’d been facing in the past few months, the positive places and spaces we are in now, and our aspirations and dreams for the year to come. It was all very lovely & intimate and I was so thankful that we had had some quality time together to cherish.
We never felt rushed and slowly rolled ourselves out of the salon, collecting our coats from the plush cloakroom and paying a visit to the pretty powder room before stopping for a couple more photos.
Happy Birthday mum, thank you for being so caring and kind, and for being a constant pillar of support or listening ear. It was a pleasure to spoil you after all the years you’ve spent looking after me.
^^^ I took this picture & my mum exclaimed, “Ooh a selfie! Aren’t you impressed that I know what a selfie is?”… Love you mum.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz starts at £45 per person (£47 from 1st April 2014). Check availability here for your own dreamy tea-filled experience!
Have you ever had afternoon/high tea? Who would be your guest of choice?
Want to hear more about what I’ve been up to in London?