Incapable of making such a major decision on where to go for High Tea, serious first world problems - I know, I ranted my list off to my buddy, Manish from London, who quickly suggested The Wolseley for its grandeur and elegance at a reasonable rate.
… and then our conversation went something like this…
me: What’s the BEST afternoon tea in London?
Manish: That would be The Ritz.
me: So why don’t we go there?
Manish: Because it’s 42 quid per person.
me: 42 pounds??? That’s like $80. That’s INSANE!
Manish: Yup, so I’ll take you to The Wolseley which is half that.
me: Yeah, but is it as good as The Ritz?
Manish: It’s amazing, it has all the fluff and pretense you are looking for.
Yes, when it comes to High Tea, it is no secret that I’m all about frilly places that rip you off with their watered down fancy teas and dainty little finger sandwiches served up on silver trays. It’s all that jazz that I keep falling for, but Afternoon Tea wouldn’t be Afternoon Tea without the frills. Right?
And so, the next time you visit London, make sure you relish in an Afternoon Tea experience. It is SO worth it.
LOCATION: 160 Piccadilly (St. James)
CUISINE: Afternoon Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, British.
RECOMMENDED TO: Couples, Fine Dining, Small Groups, Romantic Dining.
AMBIENCE: classy/relaxed/casual, but dressy
And now, let’s begin. Between 3 people, we ordered 2 afternoon teas, trust me, it was more than enough.
I started with a a Traditional English Breakfast Tea which was not as bold. but slightly watered down, perhaps I should have been more patient and allowed my tea to brew.
And then comes my most favorite part of Afternoon Tea, the Fruit Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream… oooh, I’m getting so excited just thinking about it. The scones were warm, not terribly sweet. Combine that with jam and clotted cream, just heavenly.
Speaking of jam and cream, I love the combination of strawberry jam and clotted cream! Ina Garten once said the equivalent of clotted cream here in the United States is mascarpone cheese.
Next up were the mouthwatering Finger Sandwiches, we were served 2 plates of these… hope I can remember the fillings…
- egg salad. Amazing.
- cucumber and butter. Simple, yet delicious. (2 servings of this since I skipped the smoked salmon sandwich)
- chicken salad with tarragon. What an insanely delicious concoction? My favorite.
- tomato with cream cheese on wheat bread. Yum!
Lastly, dessert time. My favorite was the checkered pink and yellow cake known as Battenberg Cake. A simple moist sponge cake. Scrumptious!
Other desserts included, Opera Cake, Cheesecake, Éclair, and my second favorite, the Raspberry Tart - a buttery crust filled with cream and topped with fresh raspberries. Light and delicious.
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5
Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley was a delightful experience and I can’t wait to go back for more. Everything from the grand décor to the impeccable service to the heavenly scones, sandwiches, & desserts was nothing short of perfection with the exception of the English Breakfast Tea. Yes, I'm very aware of the fact that I am extremely picky with my tea, but in my defense, it didn't quite taste as flavorful and medium-bodied to me. And that’s why The Wolseley falls short of a perfect 5, but other than that, it is flawless.
Furthermore, with all due respect to Manish, if he is reading this, the next time I visit London, “we” are heading to The Ritz. I’m thinking if The Wolseley is this good, one can only dream about how exquisite The Ritz might be. Ahhhh… probably not for another couple years, and by then I will have convinced myself that it is okay to spend 42 quid per person on tea time, you live only once!
Drinks: Good (tea was a bit weak)
Decor: Excellent (classy)
* this week's Friday Favorite Things was substitued with an Afternoon Tea post, after all, tea time with friends is one of my most favorite pastimes in the world.
TELL ME: Have you relished in an Afternoon Tea experience in London? If so, what place(s) do you recommend? Share with us!