One of the finest afternoon tea offerings in London.
I know, I know, I’ve opened with a pretty bold claim there but I do think the afternoon tea at The Landmark London is up there with the best I’ve ever had (The Connaught, FYI); allow me to explain why.
Firstly, the setting is absolutely stunning. Afternoon tea is served in the Winter Garden, a vast and beautiful space set across a ground floor and mezzanine level; decked out with palm trees and with a glass ceiling that reminded me of an orangery. Thankfully the weather at the weekend was superb so the room was full of natural light and gentle sunshine.
We were seated on the ground floor, and whilst there are a number of tables and you end up sitting reasonably close to neighbouring tables it doesn’t feel remotely crowded.
The ambiance is lovely with a pianist on the balcony level and a harpist on the ground floor taking it in turns to play beautiful music; I think this really adds to the atmosphere as it isn’t loud enough to be intrusive but you’re aware of it at the same time. The pianist would regularly strike up a chorus of Happy Birthday and I’m not going to lie, I was super excited when I heard it and saw a cake heading in my direction!
On to the afternoon tea itself. You have a choice of two menus: the traditional Winter Garden Afternoon Tea or the Chocolate Afternoon Tea. Natasha and I thought the chocolate tea would be too sweet so we both went for the classic Winter Garden Afternoon Tea with a glass of champagne (or two – hey, it was a celebration!).
For the tea I chose the Winter Garden Blend, a bespoke offering created just for the Landmark London. It is a mix of both Indian and Chinese black teas and is described in the menu as robust which I’d agree with. I had mine served with a dash of milk and I feel it perfectly complemented the food; often I find fruitier options distract from the food and as you know, I’m all about the food.
The tea and sandwiches arrived at the same time and we were offered regular replenishments of both which we naturally indulged in. Just on this point, the service was completely faultless throughout. The staff were incredibly friendly and would stop to indulge in conversation as they poured tea or restocked sandwiches; nothing felt too much trouble and although they were often present at the table the service isn’t remotely intrusive.
The sandwiches were delicious; perhaps the best afternoon tea sandwiches I’ve ever had. We were served Coronation chicken on walnut bread, classic cucumber on pillowy-soft white bread and, my favourite, organic egg mayonnaise and mustard cress on the most exceptional onion bread. Natasha was served with a Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon on brown bread and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
The staff regularly offer to replace your sandwiches and, as I say, we took them up on this offer quite forgetting that the scones and sweet treats were still to come… a rookie error.
We were served two scones each, one plain and one raisin and apple. Both were served warm and utterly delicious. They were also the glossiest scones I have ever seen! You get to pick from an array of homemade jams to go with the scones. I opted for cherry and gooseberry and elderflower and if I can make just one suggestion to you, it’s to get the gooseberry and elderflower jam if you go for this afternoon tea as it was utterly, utterly delicious.
There’s a selection of four cakes and pastries, all of which were superb. Thankfully the hotel will box up anything you’re unable to eat because after you’ve made your way through a mountain of sandwiches and two delicious scones getting through the cakes and pastries is a bit of a challenge, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.
I really enjoyed the mix of cakes on offer but the standout for me was the macaron which absolutely melted in the mouth, the strawberry St Honore came a close second and definitely looked the prettiest.
The afternoon tea is priced at £45 per person, or £52 with a glass of champagne; it does put it at the higher end of the afternoon tea market but with good reason. The food and service are impeccable and worth every single penny. I will definitely return.