The new drawing room at Flemings Mayfair hotel is seriously stylish: teal velvet banquettes; fresh graffiti roses on the table; travel and fashion books artfully arranged on bookcases either side of an original marble fireplace; and beautiful, hand-painted wall panels depicting early views of India. It’s cosy too, with only eight-or-so tiny ebony wood tables laid out.
It’s that rare blend of classy and comfortable, with exquisite service to boot (never once were we left in need of anything). We were here to try the Ruinart Rosé afternoon tea – sandwiches, scones and cakes, with half a bottle of golden pink Ruinart on the side (Michael Kors’ favourite bubbly, apparently). East India tea is also served, the best of which was a heady, aromatic whole rosebud blend recommended by our waitress. It’s worth asking if they have any tropical blend in, too – a punchy tea with a pleasant bubblegum aroma. Unlike most herbal teas, both really do taste as good as they smell.
The food follows suit. Finger sandwiches are a little chunkier than usual (no complaints there), and the best fillings are soft and thick Scottish smoked salmon on herb butter; and smoked tomato cream cheese. Our only complaint was the crusts, which were ever so slightly dry. Scones shine with buttermilk and are served with scoops of clotted cream and strawberry jam. It would have been nice to try more than one conserve though, as you might do at a Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea.
Like everything else, cakes are classy and well presented. A finger of Bakewell tart is impossibly fudgy, meringues are the perfect balance of crisp and chewy, and the chocolate bar with shiny chocolate petals is (almost) too pretty to eat. A little off target is the granola cup with fresh raspberries – more breakfast than afternoon tea, although the velvety custard it sat on was incredible.
Star of the show: the rosebud tea, Ruinart champagne and Bakewell tart.
Scone rating: 7/10
Perfect for: someone who wants a traditional afternoon tea, set in a modern environment.
Price: The Ruinart Rose afternoon tea is £96 for two people; a traditional tea is £34.50 per person; £48 for champagne afternoon tea
By Charlotte Morgan
More afternoon tea reviews you may like…
TING at Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard
Fortnum & Mason, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon
The Ampersand Hotel, science afternoon tea
The Modern Pantry