Rosewood, London’s high-end heritage hotel, introduced its art afternoon tea in February 2017 to reflect the importance of art to the hotel. In the hotel’s Mirror Room, a plush room combining elegant, contemporary features, such as stylish lighting, mustard-coloured Chesterfield sofas and a stunning installation of unorganised mirrors (the clues in the name), with the building’s original character (marble sideboards, pillars and period windows). In a nod to the hotel’s Asian owners, oriental black and gold prints sit beneath glass on the black tables.
This is a luxury hotel so expect to be looked after accordingly – our knowledgeable waiter immediately brought us ice-cold water in sterling silver goblets on plates while we looked through the hardback menu.
The champagne afternoon tea begins with smooth original white R de Ruinart and R de Ruinart rosé (dark in colour due to its high pinot noir grape content). It’s soft and floral with fragrant rose petal, sweet strawberry and citrusy grapefruit notes on the nose.
Jing teas are sourced from Asia and include classic English breakfast, Darjeeling, Jasmines and more. There are 16 loose-leaf teas to choose from, all served in round clear teapots. We tried smoky and light Keemun gong fu black tea and soothing oolong with hints of lime.
Classic finger sandwiches, served on bone china Reynaud Limoges platters, were given modern twists that really delivered – sweet and creamy coronation chicken came in spinach bread; ham, nutty comté cheese and punchy wholegrain mustard and smooth and salty egg cress hit the spot, while chewy and sweet arctic bread (similar to pitta) was an inventive way to serve the smoked salmon with cream cheese and lemon.
A refreshing peach granita palate cleanser with hints of mint was a well-judged extra touch to prepare us for the sweet courses to come.
Pastry chef, Mark Perkins has taken inspiration from international artists’ London exhibitions to create his own intricate works of edible art. A little square tart with smooth, rich white chocolate filling was encased in crumbly pastry and topped with citrusy yuzu curd and cassis jelly blobs; reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s pharmaceutical-style art. Mark Rothko’s bold coloured canvases inspired crunchy raspberry biscuits held together with a filling of coconut and raspberry sponge, creamy coconut mousse, and soft and chewy meringue.
We found the cherry notes in the chocolatey caramel take on an Alexander Calder sculpture a little overpowering but loved the play on Yayoi Kusama’s bright yellow, spotted pumpkins- a crisp dark chocolate sable biscuit base held a zingy passion fruit crème and crunchy chocolate feuillantine mix.
The star of the show was a dainty white chocolate box inspired by Banksy’s iconic girl with a red balloon mural. Intricately decorated, graffiti-style, the box had a gooey hazelnut caramel and moreish chocolate crémeux filling with a light vanilla choux, similar to a mini profiterole.
Mark Perkins’ art afternoon tea combines traditional British flavours with bold representations of iconic figures in the art world.
Scone rating: 8/10
Price: £50pp with tea, £65pp with a glass of R de Ruinart champagne or £67pp with a glass of R de Ruinart rosé champagne.