The Rosewood Hotel is situated in one of London’s most regarded areas for theatre and entertainment, High Holborn. It’s Edwardian façade belies the classic and elegant interior of this stylish hotel, it’s charming hidden entrance is reminiscent of Paris’ PavilliondelaReine Hotel in the Marais district on Place de Vosges, major ambition to stay at this Parisian gem. I first visited the Rosewood Hotel for dinner at their dining establishment, the Holborn Dining Room last November with good friends, a really cool, trendy eatery very much of the Parisian bistro theme, a nod to Paris again, always a good thing for me, it serves traditional British fare with a twist with it’s Gin Bar and Seafood Counter which is right up my street as I love oysters and seafood.
I’d heard all about Rosewood’s ingenious Arts Afternoon Tea so I was really excited to be here. The Mirror Room is just that – like a giant mirror reflecting light with patterns dancing off the mirrored ceiling which gives the illusion of three dimensional patterns, there was something quite magical about this elegant room which serves breakfast, Afternoon Tea, light lunches and snacks throughout the day. Chic yellow leather sofas are matched with black and orange leather chairs, sleek black columns stand in front of floor to ceiling mirrors offering a rather subdued but masculine look against the glittering mirrors, both combine to give a jewel-like feel to the Mirror Room. Opposite are large Edwardian windows framed with pretty voile net Roman blinds, it adds a very dignified and sophisticated ambience to this splendid room, it was just perfect for an Art inspired Afternoon Tea.
What was so lovely about my experience was that I was here on my birthday which made everything even more special. I was offered the menu which I was allowed to keep, it’s an A4 in length brochure secured with black rope and a photograph of one of the Art cakes, a really quirky but effective design. I was able to choose my tea, as usual, I started off with English Breakfast tea, I just have to accept the fact that I will never steer away from this all time favourite. At the same time, my much adored champagne had arrived, it was Ruinart champagne which is a firm favourite of mine served in a delicate lalique crystal flute with patterns similar to the pretty one’s created by the mirrored ceiling, I am sure I could see dancing fairies jumping on and off my glass, such is the magical atmosphere this stunning rooms evokes.
I was so surprised when the sandwiches arrived, not on the traditional Afternoon Tea stands but on white china plates with a gold scalloped edge, so elegant but in all honesty, I should not have been surprised, chintz is certainly not the Mirror Rooms’ style. The sandwiches were utterly scrumptious with flavours such as Maldon smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon, Le Madru ham, Comte cheese with wholegrain mustard, this sandwich was my absolute favourite, dainty in appearance but so bold in flavour, I had extra of those!! Also on the menu, Coronation chicken, an unusual avocado, tomato and basil and the customary egg mayonnaise with chives. I absolutely couldn’t fault anything on the plate, the sandwiches were pristine, I often wonder if the chef’s use a ruler to cut them because they are all identical in shape and size. They were all so fresh with the spongiest of bread, if I was one of those tiny fairies that I am sure are dwelling in my champagne flute, I would be bouncing off them, perhaps the champagne was playing tricks with me? I am sure I saw a couple so when another glass was offered, I politely declined but all I can say is that everything was a joy to eat.
The Raspberry and Peach Granita palate cleanser
The magic was about to begin so my waiter told me, the cakes and scones were going to be making an entrance soon. I was offered more tea and decided that Jasmine tea would complement the cakes beautifully which was served in a glass teapot, so unique and very different to everywhere else I have so far been to. I must also tell you about the palate cleanser, I’m finding this quite common in most Afternoon Tea establishments now and the Mirror Room’s is a most refreshing one in the form of a raspberry granita sitting on top of a peach puree, so invigorating. When the chef said that magic was going to be happening, he wasn’t lying, he was walking towards me with such pride and was positively beaming when he was describing each magnificent delight! This time, everything did arrive on a tiered stand matching the same sleek design as my sandwiches arrived on. The scones were light and airy accompanied by lemon curd, something I also saw at the Royal Park Hotel’s Afternoon Tea plus the strawberry conserve and decadent clotted cream.
Now the cakes, this was what I was most looking forward to. Another waiter came out to greet me and to describe the inspiration behind every cake. They were just so visually stunning, so clever and so wrong to eat such beauties but one had to of course. First there was a glossy dome sitting on a chocolate sable biscuit, it was a milk chocolate mousse, a passion fruit cremeux dotted with more chocolate. The artist that inspired this cake was Yayoi Kusama who was Japanese and had a bit of an obsession with polka dots hence the glossy chocolate dots on the cremeux. Second, we have none other than Damien Hirst, driven by never ending questions of life and death, Damien’s installations, paintings and sculptures embrace this delicate theme creating exceptional contemporary artwork. His famous spots paintings are the inspiration behind this cake which is cassis jelly, yuzu curd, white chocolate tart finished with Hirst dot decoration, so intricate, just stunning to look at. I wasn’t at all surprised to see a Banksy cake which was just like his graffiti artwork, square in shape, we have his renowned “Girl With a Balloon” blazoned on the cake standing out with pride representing “hope and motivation to push through bleaker days” and let’s face it, we all need reminding of that now and again, it was a pleasure to eat this cake, hopefully I would also feel motivated and hopeful. The cake was in fact a chocolate cube filled with vanilla cream choux, salted caramel and chocolate cremeux, it was definitely my favourite.
The third offering was inspired by a designer called Mark Rothko, his paintings are characterised by vertically aligned rectangular forms taking shape in this cake by the raspberry chocolate shards encasing a layered coconut sponge and raspberry and coconut mousse, it was divine. By now I was more than full but I had to keep going, I needed to have tasted every single cake to let the brilliant pastry chef know that I was truly blown away. Last but by no means least was a cake inspired by Alexander Calder, he is known as a pioneer of mobiles, no not the phones, mobiles as in design, his innovative approach to art sees him bending wires and industrial material crafting drawings in space, these floating mobiles are replicated in the form of this cake with it’s triangular cylinder cone like shape, it’s a pistachio Bavariois, cherry jelly with pistachio sponge sprayed with red chocolate, again, words fail me, it was sublime.
I settled back to take a moment, I needed to reflect on my experience this afternoon while finishing off my fragrant Jasmine tea. I was bursting not just in literal sense but bursting with joy and excitement, I couldn’t wait to get home to start putting down on paper my thoughts of this extraordinary Afternoon Tea. However, just as I was getting ready to leave, a surprise arrived in the form of a doughnut shaped cake with a candle to wish me Happy Birthday, what a lovely surprise to end this astounding Afternoon Tea experience, I was so full, I had to take it away with me!
I was completely blown away by the Arts Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood Hotel, I was thoroughly spoilt, every one looked after me and couldn’t do enough for me. The Mirror Room’s Assistant manager, Andrea Salerno came out to say hello and talk about the inspiration behind the Art Afternoon Tea, he talks with such passion about the hotel, the Mirror Room and what it represents, this magnificent yet elegant room with it’s glittering and stylish mirrors and now I know why the Pastry Chef Mark Perkins created such an unforgettable and creative Afternoon Tea. He is a pastry chef that deserves recognition and all manner of awards bestowed upon him, I am confident he can rival even the most qualified French pastry chefs. If you don’t believe me, you need to visit the MirrorRoom at the Rosewood to see for yourself. I would dearly love to stay overnight at the Rosewood so that I can discover and see more of this sensational hotel and experience once again, it’s impeccable service and hospitality.
The RosewoodHotel is hosting an art exhibition in collaboration with RuinartChampagne running from 25th of September to 25th November. Displaying Ruinarts unique collection, the Mirror Room and the grand marble staircase will play host to the commissioned work of artists and will be offering a RuinartArtAfternoonTea from £60 per person and the opportunity to view this magnificent display of Art.
252 High Holborn
London WC1V 7EN
0203 747 8620
My Afternoon Tea was complimentary, all photographs and views are my own.