What’s the vibe like?
Rosewood, London’s high-end heritage hotel, introduced its art afternoon tea in August 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 while we looked through the hardback menu.
What are the afternoon tea options?
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.
There are 13 black, blue and green loose-leaf Mariage Frères teas to choose from, including; classic English breakfast; a slightly smoky fragrant Darjeeling; and the Interdit – a light, zesty oolong tea, all served in the rosewood bone china tea pots.
What’s the savoury round like?
Traditional finger sandwiches were given modern twists that really delivered – sweet and creamy chicken with tarragon mayonnaise came on super soft basil bread; delicately truffled egg mayonnaise came on sweet caramelised onion bread, thinly sliced crisp cucumber with cream cheese hit the spot, while open-faced Scottish salmon with capers and keta caviar was slightly overpowering with pickled shallots.
A refreshing mandarin granita palate cleanser was a well-judged extra touch to prepare us for the sweet courses to come.
What are the scones like?
Light, warm and buttery scones (check out our scones recipes here) came with thick clotted cream, delicate homemade raspberry jam with elderflower and zingy lemon curd (make your own here). They were fluffy and flakey with golden tops and held well together in order to spread our accompaniments. Scone rating: 8/10
And the sweet pastries and desserts?
Pastry chef, Mark Perkins has taken inspiration from pop artists and Picasso’s Cubism to create his own intricate works of edible art. Miniature choux buns filled with raspberry cream were soft and moreish; Jivara rectangular chocolate tarts with caramel were airy and rich with thick crunchy short pastry; and mango macaroons were sweet, soft and chewy with a hints of lime.
Andy Warhol’s campbell’s layered soup can was airy, super smooth with a good amount of cherry, with a layer of vanilla crémeux and flourless chocolate cake; the Roy Lichtenstein inspired banana cheesecake with sour passion fruit, caramel mousse and a delicate red chocolate brushstroke (to resemble his series of paintings) was slightly sweet, tangy and overpowering with the combination of its complex flavours; but we loved the play on Yayoi Kusama’s spotted pumpkins – a bright yuzu mousse filled with a green tea sponge cake and strawberry and yuzu jelly, covered in a white glaze with pink spots, topped with crisp white chocolate and sitting on a crunchy pink sablé.
Mark Perkins’ art afternoon tea combines traditional British flavours with bold representations of iconic figures in the art world.
Check out our best afternoon tea recipes here, including:
- Raspberry macaroons
- Strawberry éclairs
- Traditional scones
- Gin and tonic granita
- Classic Victoria spone
Price: £58pp with tea, £68pp with a glass of R de Ruinart champagne or £73pp with a glass of R de Ruinart rosé champagne.
Address: High Holborn, London, rosewoodhotels.com/en/london
Words| Amanda James, October 2017
Photographs | Rosewood hotel
Got you in the mood for afternoon tea? Here’s our round up of London’s best afternoon teas.