Looking for afternoon tea in London? Check out Mandarin Oriental, The Rosebery Lounge for high tea. Check out our review of Mandarin Oriental afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is taken in The Rosebery Lounge, a grand yet unstuffy dining room with high ceilings and a small, stylish bar offering a selection of wines and spirits, including Chêne Bleu Domaine De la Verrière rosé, Goose Island IPA and Hendrick’s gin (here’s our guide to gin to check out). Speckled antique mirrors and contemporary abstract art line the walls, and individual metal coat stands (tree-like) are brought to intimate, low, dark-wood tables. Elegant chandeliers and large windows facing onto Knightsbridge high street make the lounge bright, and a rose and ginger scent infuses throughout the room.
We were greeted by a friendly and informative waiter who explained the options available: beer afternoon tea, teamaster’s choice, sake afternoon tea, mini afternoon tea (for children under 12) or traditional champagne afternoon tea. We opted for the latter, which came with R de Ruinart rosé champagne and R de Ruinart white champagne, both smooth, chilled and crisp, the rosé leaving slight floral notes after each sip.
Check out our best afternoon tea recipes here, including:
- Raspberry macaroons
- Strawberry éclairs
- Traditional scones
- Gin and tonic granita
- Classic Victoria spone
There are a number of loose-leaf teas on offer, from darjeeling to the Mandarin breakfast blend, and organic rooibos to fresh ginger, all served in delicate bone china designed by Narumi for The Rosebery Lounge. We chose the organic Dragonwell, sweet with a barley taste and a strong resemblance to shredded wheat, and Mi Lan Xiang (Dan Cong) oolong tea, with notes of nori and a slightly sweet honey aftertaste.
Afternoon tea began with a collection of sandwiches that were a bit up and down – crab on a sweet brioche bun was creamy but a tad too fishy; the meat was slightly chewy in the ham, mustard and cress, though the bread was fluffy; and goat’s cheese with caramelised onion and butternut squash was delicately sweet but could have done with more cheese. Others were better – soft salmon tartare on brown bread with crunchy apple and hints of aniseed; and nutty chicken was accompanied by black trumpet mushrooms and sweet and salty buttered corn.
We ordered another round of tea (a punchy and slightly spiced oriental afternoon blend) to accompany our warm, fluffy scones, served with light, zesty lemon curd (try our recipe here), and a rosewater jelly (a little overbearing for our tastes).
Homemade battenburg cake was intricate and colourful, with a lemony buttercream and drops of cherry gel, followed by a blueberry bakewell, almondy with a good base crunch, tasting of fresh blueberries and zingy lemon.
The homemade pastries started with a berry and vanilla trifle cake, slightly too heavy with vanilla, but had a crumbly base and smooth strawberry jelly topping with bursts of fresh fruit. We also enjoyed the velvety and sticky St Honoré cappuccino cake, and a light and airy, smart-looking mint and lime chiffon roll. The star of the show was a chocolate and tonka entremet (layered mousse-based cake), smooth, soft and indulgent with hints of cherry and a delicately crunchy topping.
Scone rating: 6/10
Price: £53pp with tea, £63pp with a glass of R de Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, £67pp with a glass of R de Ruinart rosé champagne.
66 Knightsbridge Green, London, www.mandarinoriental.com
Words | Amanda James, September 2017
Photographs | Amanda James, The Rosebery Lounge at The Mandarin Oriental
Want to see more of the best afternoon teas in London? Here’s our round up of London’s best afternoon teas…
olive magazine podcast ep65 – Who will win the great scone debate? Jam or cream first?!
On this week’s podcast the team explore the British tradition of afternoon tea, sharing their favourites in London, and get into a debate on which is the right way to serve scones. (Psst, cream is the right way.)