Saturday, May 07, 2016
London: Afternoon Tea (and cocktails) at the Charlotte Street Hotel
There are so many fun and lovely things to do here in London. We are utterly spoiled when it comes to bars, pubs, restaurants, museums, art galleries, theatres... Naturally, when people visit from out of town it's always nice to do a few lovely things together.
When my darling friend Emily said she was heading to town for a weekend and that she'd be able to stay with us and spend some time together when she wasn't otherwise engaged I was thrilled, and determined to pop a few fun things into the diary. I love afternoon tea, as does Emily, so I started scouting around for one to attend. I settled on the Charlotte Street Hotel, and we were able to book a table for two (thank heavens - afternoon teas can book up so quickly! Luckily we were a good six or so weeks out). Afternoon tea is the best time for a good old catch up while you graze on delicious sandwiches, scones and patisserie items, and as I hadn't seen Emily in person since before Christmas we had plenty to catch up on.
As Emily was travelling down from Leeds, I arrived first and settled in, perusing the menu and taking in the room. The restaurant at the Charlotte Street Hotel, Oscar, is buzzy and fun, and arriving at 2.40pm I caught the end of the Friday lunchtime rush, before the relative calm of afternoon tea time. I'd been here for lunch and dinner before, but this was my first visit for tea.
We were given a lovely corner table which gave us a great view of the room. I loved the beautiful Wedgwood crockery - the patterns and styling were gorgeous. The Mythical Creatures range was designed by Kit Kemp herself.
At around three Emily arrived and it was time to chat, gossip, and generally set the world to rights. I am oh-so-grateful to have friends who I can totally be myself with, and where our friendship just falls straight back into place each time, even when life and distance prevents us seeing each other often.
We were delighted to learn that all through April, all afternoon tea guests received a complimentary Bellini. What a nice treat! While we sipped our drinks and did some people watching, we selected our teas (Earl Grey for Ems, English Breakfast for me) and got ready for some delicious food.
At the Charlotte Street Hotel there are two options for the afternoon tea - a tradional tea (£23.50 pp) or their special Bloomsbury Tea (£26 pp). We decided to go with a 'when in Rome' sentiment and selected the latter.
So. Much. Food.
I was absolutely delighted with the tea and thoroughly enjoyed the delicacies on display. Of the savoury options I loved the chunky prawn cocktail sandwich and the avocado on rye bread (avo toast has even made it to afternoon tea!). The scones (not pictured, tucked inside the white napkin to keep them lovely and toasty) were perfect, flaky and fluffy, and ideal loaded up with clotted cream and jam. I loved the patisserie options, which was a pleasant surprise as these are often my least favourite bits of an afternoon tea! The Battenburg cake was delicious and I loved the flavours in the chestnut macaron.
It was a lovely, lovely meal. So lovely, in fact, that we opted to conclude with cocktails!
Aren't these tealight covers adorable? They have four different sides, one for each of the Firmdale Hotels in the city.
I opted for a 'Twinkle' - Grey Goose, St Germain and champagne (£14). Light and refreshing, this was a great conclusion to a lovely meal.
Ems decided on the 'Little Drama' (£13) - Johnny Walker Black and Laphroaig whiskey, rose syrup and grapefruit juice with a float of Sauternes (an Emily favourite!).
After a delicious tea and some scrumptious cocktails, it was time to head off - Emily to see Sunset Boulevard (I'm seeing it tonight, so excited!) and me to make cocktails at home with Shona. Never a dull moment, truly! I really enjoyed afternoon tea at Oscar, and would definitely recommend it. It's a little less grand and stately than some of the older, more established settings, but it was a great tea, with impeccable, friendly service, a charming setting, and fresh, tasty food. I loved the buzzy, quirky room and look forward to returning again before too long.
Charlotte Street Hotel, 15-17 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RJ