Enjoying afternoon tea at the Ritz was the finest, most indulgent and poshest of all my high tea experiences to date. Sharing the afternoon with two lovely friends visiting me in London all the way from Australia made the experience all the more memorable.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz, London, is often seen as one of the more touristy tea experiences in London. Don’t let that idea put you off your scones and clotted cream. In my opinion, afternoon tea experiences need a fine combination of decadent food, impeccable service and great ambience to be five-star. Even if you’re a budget traveller, some once-in-London experiences are worth shelling out for…
It’s the small touches that made a difference at the Ritz. You start with champagne, if you’ve opted for the champagne tea. You’re given plenty of time to sip your champers and nibble on the finger sandwiches before the tea is served. I chose the Darjeeling which is light and not too strong to complement my dessert nicely. The tea menu is printed on a takeaway card, which one of the waiters happily handed over to us to keep at the end!
Size and portions matter at afternoon tea. So when I inspected the top tier of the cake stand, we felt a little disappointed. Only 3 cakes? Really? Always having eyes bigger than my stomach, I soon realized that cakes were being served and on display on trolleys. The difficult decision was Victorian sponge or a more heavy fruit cake? Although Victorian sponge sounded like the more boring option, the sponge was light and fluffy with a touch of vanilla.
The petit fours were sweet but offset by the fresh cream. I also tried the shotglass of caramel mousse with raspberry coulis but it couldn’t compare to the cakes!
The apple and raisin scones are warmed up before being added onto your cake tier. This was the first time I’d ever had warm scones brought separately at afternoon tea! The scones are smaller than the usual big plate size scones commonly found elsewhere. Size didn’t matter as these miniature scones were light, obviously made with buttermilk and smoothly sliced open to be slathered with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.
At the Ritz, the service is prompt and attentive. More sandwiches? Only want roast ham sandwiches? Not a problem. We Aussies like our ham sandwiches…The waitstaff are happy to have a chat, take your photo and don’t rush you to leave…even though I was well aware we only had a 1.5 hour time slot.
It’s the Ritz. The Palm Court is opulent, the decorations are ornate and the room feels huge even though it’s not a ballroom. The room was full of other diners from families to ladies and couples with hardly an empty table in sight!
To make the afternoon even more memorable? Request a song. The classically trained pianist plays medleys of your requests. The songs I chose?
Dream a little dream. Moon River.
Glampacker’s Tips for Afternoon Tea at the Ritz, London:
- Book online, dates and time slots fill in fast!
- Dress to impress, this means frock up. You want to look as lovely as the cakes!
- Order champagne. You’re having afternoon tea at the Ritz…this alone calls for champagne!
- Visit the powder room because it’s pink!