Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Afternoon Tea at the Connaught

As George Gissing once wrote "The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose". I would certainly agree with this sentiment and this is one of the reasons why I so love afternoon tea. There's something about it that is just so relaxing and so refined...and it's the perfect excuse to scoff loads of cakes (less refined!)
This Sunday I visited the Espelette Brasserie at The Connaught Hotel. The Connaught is a lovely hotel in Mayfair and the brasserie itself hugs the outside curve of the building with large windows overlooking a fountain and trees all decorated for Christmas...it's certainly easy on the eye! The Espelette also has a pleasant ambience and the staff were reasonably friendly.
So now to the nitty gritty...the food and the tea. You can start with a glass of champagne or you can dive straight into tea itself. There was a good selection of teas to choose from and refills were available...there was a choice of various green, black, white and aromatic teas.
As for the pastries and sandwiches...there was certainly plenty on offer. We had a plate of assorted sandwiches which all tasted good...and then it was on to the best bit the cakes!!! Between two people we got all of the following:
  • Apple tatin and hazelnut biscuit
  • Chocolate finger and lemon grass creme brulee
  • Cinnamon frangipane, figues and red wine tart
  • Exotic eclair, mango and passionfruit
  • Coffee, mascarpone tiramisu and speculos
  • Rum baba lemon jelly, earl grey tea cream and poached pears
There really was lots to eat but I'm a bit like Joey from Friends and as you may know..."Joey doesn't share food!". As it was one of each cake between two we had to resort to cutting everything in half which can be a bit fiddly...I guess the up side is you get to try more things.
One of my favourite pastries was the apple tatin with hazelnut biscuit which you can see above on the left. It looks unassuming but had a lovely toffee flavour along with the apple. There was also one cake I couldn't eat and the staff were very obliging and happy to substitute for the Battenberg below.
After the pastries came the scones...served warm in a basket, there were plain scones and fruit scones with golden raisins. They were light and fluffy and definitely got the seal of approval...the scones can make or break an afternoon tea.
An unusual addition to the scones was the choice of 16 Christine Ferber homemade jams to accompany them. I particularly liked the plum jam and there was also quince and rose petal and passionfruit amongst others.
Finally, there was yet more cake as we were presented with Chocolate and roasted almond cake and Candied chestnut and pear. These were tasty but not quite as smart as the pastries.
If you'd like to visit the Connaught you can check out the full menu here. There was so much food we had to resort to taking some home...not that we were complaining!
This tea didn't necessarily have the wow factor of some others but the pastries and sandwiches were all very tasty and it's a very relaxed and stylish setting, so I would recommend the Connaught as a tea destination. You can also nip down to Bond Street when you've finished for a spot of retail therapy. One of my dining companions rated it as one of her favourite teas so it may just come down to personal preference.
If you ever do make it to the Connaught for afternoon tea you can also pop across the road to visit the gorgeous Farm Street Church, the pictures don't do it justice! We decided to pop in as a good friend of mine got married there but as we went in we realised there was a batispm in progress...and who should the father be? None other than Frank Skinner...and the godfather...Adrian Chiles...very funny! :-)

 

6 comments:

  1. I truly want to visit this place!

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  2. I am envious but I have enjoyed my virtual visit here to day and what an elegant afternoon tea Laura! Karen

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  3. Ahhh, nothing likely an indulgent and elegant afternoon tea over a good natter. And I like the celeb spot(s) too!

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  4. Nothing like an indulgent afternoon tea. I just love having tea. An excuse to sample tiny treats and I can never get enough of them. Have a great weekend ahead! xoxo

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  5. What a beautiful afternoon tea and it would have been so enjoyable to sample all these beautiful little sweets :) I bet they were all so delicious!

    What a lovely blog you have! As fellow foodies we can't wait to read more of your delicious posts!! New follower here :)

    Chloe & Sarah

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  6. How beautiful.....The cakes are stunning and what a wonderful experience. I will have to visit this place some day : )

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