When I noticed that the iconic Dorchester Hotel in London were hosting a Wimbledon inspired Afternoon Tea, I knew I was going to be in for a visual and culinary treat. Not only am I lover of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, it would tie in very nicely with my recent blog post on Wimbledon.
The world renowned Dorchester Hotel which opened in 1931 is steeped in history and oozes glitz and glamour, it is evident throughout the lobby and the Promenade where Afternoon Tea is taken. The hotel is currently owned by the Dorchester Collection which has hotels all over the world.
Famous and influential visitors of the past were the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, novelist Somerset Maugham, Danny Kaye and Elizabeth Taylor to name but a few. Royalty, Political Leaders and celebrities are present day visitors including Prince Philip, he had his stag celebrations right here at the Dorchestor!
I was here to enjoy Afternoon Tea and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. The Promenade is definitely a sight to behold with it’s striking flowering urns which I am told are refreshed every three days, there is definitely a very Egyptian vibe to the restaurant with its marble and burnished gold pillars, palm trees and opulent curtains and carpets – I was momentarily lost in my wild imagination….I could be whisked away to some faraway land by a handsome Prince on a magic carpet but it was the dutiful waiter showing me to my table however a Prince of his trade, he truly was. I love the Promenade’s intimate feel with it’s secluded spots, ideal if you are dining alone as I was, I had complete privacy to take notes and photographs without disturbing the other guests. With the high back divan chairs, plush comfy sofas and goose down cushions, the Promenade has a very cosy feel to it.
After settling down, I was taken through the comprehensive list of teas, I think I’ve mentioned before that I am not a tea connoisseur so I settle for the Dorchester Afternoon Blend, a very popular choice I’m told. There really is such a vast choice, how does one make a decision? From the Scottish Highlands, Dalreoch Tea to the better known Green Teas such as Sencha and Matcha and rare and limited teas such as the enchanting Silver Dawn and flavoured Black Tea called First Romance, I am tempted to ask my waiter to bring me a selection of all these to sample, after all, I’m having Afternoon Tea and tea is what it’s all about not just appetising sandwiches and fancy cakes!
Shortly after, I am fizzing with excitement as the Magnum sized Laurent Perrier Champagne arrives, I absolutely adore champagne, it is my go to alcoholic tipple and knowing it is the least calorific alcoholic beverage, I soon wonder why we don’t a glass every day, I really must speak to Mr Andreou about this in the evening.
My waiter was so kind, he was willing to put my sandwiches on the customary Afternoon Tea stand, you see, here at the Dorchester, the ritual of Afternoon Tea is slightly different, they take great pride in how they have mixed things up a bit and I really like that. No, I was perfectly happy with my sandwiches arriving on a beautiful quintessentially British china dish and what fine sandwiches they were. Delicate finger delights of smoked salmon with sweet mustard and dill, the surprise of the day (a different variety of sandwich is offered every day) which was slow roasted pepper and houmous, roast chicken with Pommery mustard on basil bread, cucumber and mint cream cheese on a surprisingly flavoursome caraway bread and finally, my favourite, the glorious egg mayonnaise but with a twist! served with shallot confit and shiso cress. They were all divine, so far I was a very contented lady.
To my surprise and here is how the Dorchester do things differently, they serve a palate cleansing flowering tea. My waiter went to great lengths to explain this new addition to their Afternoon Tea. Their theory is, once you’ve consumed strong flavours such as salmon, the palate needs to be cleansed before the sweets arrive. The tea itself is a vanilla flavoured straw looking ball but behold, once immersed in hot water, it unravels and reveals the prettiest of flower within it’s brew, this exotic Chinese style tea is so delicately flavoured, it was the highlight of my Afternoon Tea.
Following on, the customary stand arrives laden with all sorts of charming and dainty patisserie, golden, sizable scones accompanied with home made strawberry jam and pear and cardamom jam made right here at the Dorchester and of course, rich Cornish clotted cream. The scones were light and pillowy soft but to make room for the cakes, I really needed to take a breather! But before I could, strawberries and Chantilly cream arrived on a small wooden garden like box decorated with what looked like real grass, I was most impressed.
The selection of cakes on offer were Chocolate Rocher – a mix of hazelnuts, caramel, chocolate mousse encased in the thinnest chocolate sphere and here come the cakes inspired by the Wimbledon Championships and why the Dorchester have named this particular Afternoon Tea, Wimbledon Champagne Afternoon Tea. We have “A New World of Tennis” – cereal crunch, jasmine mousse, matcha tea jelly and sponge “Wimbledon Tennis Ball” – Layers of Japanese biscuit, raspberry strawberry confit, verbena ganache topped with a white tennis ball and finally, the “Mayfair Rose”, a nod to the hotel’s location in Mayfair, it’s a lemon sponge, lemon basil mousse and soft strawberry heart.
I am fit to bursting and before I can say “I can’t eat anymore” a real treat arrives, a small tray with a Paris and London scene and my logo and blog name, London meets Paris and on the tray, a selection of French Macarons and the famous British Battenburg, I was completely blown away! It was the most touching and wonderful thought, it was the icing on the cake – no pun intended. There was still so much to eat but my waiter was so kind to package the remainder of my Tea treats in a beautiful silver Dorchester Hotel paper box to bring home with me which my daughter was thrilled to receive.
I had the best experience ever! I just cannot fault the service I received, my waiter was charming and informative as were the other waiters who stopped for a chat. I was really made to feel special as everyone knew I was here to promote my blog and to write about my experience, the special touch of the logo themed tray and mini cakes were a joy to receive. It is now a major ambition of mine to stay at this stunning hotel, I can only imagine how beautiful the rest of it is and how immaculate everything would be if I were to sample everything the Dorchester has to offer and I await that day with the anticipation of a child at Christmas.
The Dorchester Collection have hotels all over the world and very much of interest to me are the Dorchester Group of hotels in Paris as as my blog is all about what to do, where to stay and eat in Paris. Stunningly beautiful hotels in their own right and very much the epitome of outstanding luxury one expects in Paris, these hotels are TheplazaAthenee (Featured in Sex and the City) and Lemeurice.
My post on the Wimbledon Tennis Championships which I attended in July is here.
The Dorchester Hotel
53 Park Lane
020 7629 8888
All photos, thoughts and opinions are my own.