The Luggage Room is a speakeasy-bar-cum-afternoon-tea-lounge hidden underneath the London Marriott hotel in Mayfair. The award-winning bar has won favour with tourists and socialites alike and the 1920s prohibition-inspired low tea menu, which, launched in March 2016, hopes to match this level of success and popularity.
Much of the draw comes from the setting and theatrics of it all: to gain entry we had to knock three times on an unimposing black door on the corner of Grosvenor Square and wait to be received by a maître d’. After taking our coats and stashing them in a secret cubbyhole, we were then led down a softly lit corridor papered with prints of antique luggage stacks, and out into the lounge. The décor here is grand but refined: white canvas and brass details (mimicking the design of hard front vintage suitcases) decorate the walls of the low slung, dusky room.
Oxblood leather sofas and soft cream armchairs sit round polished wooden tables. While bartenders in crisp shirts and suspenders rattle Boston shakers behind the sculpted black marble bar. Bag a table in the middle of the room and order an Alfonso (a wintery mix of spicy Dubonnet, champagne and aromatic Peychaud and orange bitters) to catch these suave cocktail connoisseurs in action.
Alcoholic beverages aren’t included in the price of your low tea, but the personalised tea sommelier treatment is. That Sunday afternoon, as we sunk back into the leather armchairs, we were introduced to a myriad of teas from Camellia’s Teahouse. Nine different leaves, of various flavours and intensity, were offered up in tapered nosing glasses. After smelling and learning about their origins, we opted for the award winning white apricot tea (a light and floral brew) and the lapsang souchong (strong and tobaccoy, it was not for the faint hearted).
Delicacies are also presented with considerable attention to detail, served in an aged, three tier, wooden medical box (a nod to an era of alcohol smuggling in 1920s America). Cucumber sandwiches didn’t get a look in here, thankfully. Instead, we dined on a generous selection of treats, such as salted caramel meringues; horseradish and crème fraîche vol au vents; a huge devilled Balmoral venison and Clarence Court scotch egg; and a tiny button tin full of tea-infused smoked salmon with fresh caviar on top. Highlights of the box included a warm and peppery Devonshire wild boar sausage roll wrapped in flaky, crisp pastry, the fluffy rum syllabub and dreamy scone trifle served in a little jam jar.
Star of the show: the Devonshire wild boar sausage roll
Scone rating: 10/10 for the jam jar scone trifle
Perfect for: someone who wants a little theatre and luxury
Price: £48 per person, includes a pot of tea.
Low tea is served in The Luggage Room every Wednesday and Sunday
Written February 2017