Isn’t there a Disney Princess in all of us? Tale as Old as Time is the iconic song in the Disney film Beauty and The Beast and it’s probably the first animated Disney film I bought when I was pregnant with my daughter who is now 15, I didn’t even know I was expecting a girl! When the recent film was released with Emma Watson, both my daughter and I fell in love with the Tale as Old as Time theme song by Ariana Grande and John Legend and we were booked to see the film in the cinema as soon as it was released. We came back home on a fairy-tale high humming the song, my daughter duly downloaded it to her ipod and we regularly put it on in the car singing at the top of our voices. There was no doubt at all I would book Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea as soon as I heard that the Kensington Hotel, part of the Doyle Group of hotels had created this inventive and fun Afternoon Tea BUT there would be one problem, could I get a table? I booked 9 months ago in July 2017 for a table in April, that’s how popular this Afternoon Tea was.
I really love the Doyle Group of hotels, a small family run organisation, I had English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at their Marylebone Hotel at 108 Pantry last month which you can read here, it was for me one of the most delicious and creative Afternoon Teas I’ve ever had so there was no doubt that the Kensington Hotel would create an equally exciting and inventive Disney themed Afternoon Tea.
The Kensington Hotel is a gorgeous 5* Boutique Hotel near South Kensington and with the sun shining down, the hotel looked breath-taking with the cute terrace and seating area to the front of the hotel, inside it’s like stepping into a country mansion, tastefully decorated and authentic, it’s my type of boutique hotel which I would definitely book for a future blog post.
We were shown to our table and presented with the menu. I noticed that there were props on some of the tables, Lumiere (The candle holder) and Cogsworth (the clock) which were being passed around to each table during dining. Proving that you’re never too old to be a Disney Princess, the table to our left, a lively group of about 10 girls in their 20’s having a fantastic time while the waiters were singing “Be our Guest”, it was lovely to see.
We ordered English Breakfast Afternoon Tea and while I had a glass of Perrier Jouet champagne, my daughter chose grapefruit juice.
Our waitress explained the Afternoon Tea to us and how to enjoy the dessert course, I was intrigued. The tea came in a traditional silver tea pot with similar striped tea cups as their sister hotel, The Marylebone but this time in my favourite duck-egg blue. Before the customary tiered stand of sandwiches and cakes arrived, we were each presented with a plate of three delicate bitesize savouries which was a pleasant surprise, all a take on the dinner that Belle enjoyed with Beast in “Be our Guest” complete with rose petals denoting the red rose in the film which loses its petals with every passing day. We had venison pie, beef ragu and saffron arancini with lemon crème fraiche and cheese soufflé roscoff onion pissaladiere which was like a puffy gougère, we loved all of them but we both agreed that the venison pie was our favourite with its crispy buttery pastry.
When the sandwiches and cakes arrived, we were both stunned at how pretty everything was! Of course, the sandwiches are standard, but the dessert course was outstanding based on the characters from the story, it’s like we were in a Beauty and the Beast scene enjoying Afternoon Tea with everyone. Quite ingenious I thought was the lack of scones but instead, Marie’s baguettes, (the scene sadly missing in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast) obviously not real baguettes but visually identical, these were made from sweet brioche to be served with chocolate ganache or apricot conserve but no clotted cream. Our waitress described everything in detail and how everything in our Afternoon Tea ties in with the story, we even got a vibrant red rose in a mini vase on our table, so clever.
The selection of sandwiches which were pristine were potted Argyle smoked salmon with crème fraiche, roast Devon red chicken with cranberry, cucumber & cream cheese and finally egg mayonnaise & cress. I got to enjoy two salmon sandwiches as Zoe is allergic to salmon, but we got an extra egg mayonnaise instead, the chicken and smoked salmon were served on granary bread. The sandwiches were utterly divine, super fresh and all the same size, something I always look out for in Afternoon Teas, it shows attention to detail.
The take on scones, Marie’s baguettes although different and quite special, I missed the clotted cream, I think the cream would have been the perfect addition to the apricot conserve and especially the chocolate which I felt was too rich to be eaten alone.
Now the best part, the desserts and cakes, everything had a place in the Afternoon Tea and told the story of Beauty and the Beast perfectly, we had vanilla & gold jelly, a beautiful miniature double glass dessert bowl filled with delicious panna cotta and jelly topped with an edible rose leaf on top of which you pour unctuous double cream from Mrs Pott’s teapot, I think Zoe captured the shot perfectly. I think this was my absolute favourite of all the desserts, it was softly set and creamy, the jelly which tasted of rose was complemented by the double cream we poured over.
Next was “try the grey stuff” which could be pâté or dessert in the fairy-tale but here we had Mrs Pott’s son, Chipps as a teacup filled with lavender coloured white chocolate mousse which was Zoe’s favourite dessert.
Next, Cogsworth the clock, a chocolate ganache tart which was crispy and rich however Zoe couldn’t finish this one as she was so full and finally, a spiced snowball coconut and chocolate macaron which we both enjoyed. I love macarons because they are small, dainty and bitesize and you never feel guilty eating one because they’re so small, this one was deliciously chewy filled with chocolate. We also had a Speculoos (spiced shortbread) biscuit in the style of Belle’s yellow gown which we could take away with us.
Feeling satisfyingly full especially Zoe, we asked for the bill and reflected on the most fun of all the Afternoon Teas we’ve enjoyed together but rather sadly, the Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea is fast getting booked up again and not knowing how long the Kensington Hotel will be featuring it, I would urge you to get your bookings in promptly. Probably launched in the early part of last year to complement the film, it was obviously going to be very popular but we both feel fortunate we got to enjoy it in time. There are many themed Afternoon Teas around at the moment, I feel sure the Kensington will launch another stunning one soon if you’re not lucky enough to get a reservation for the Tale as Old as Time.
Our Afternoon Tea cost £38.50 per person and £50 with a glass of champagne. For more information on the Kensington Hotel and Town House, their dining area, please click here.
The Kensington Hotel
109-113 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5LP
020 7589 6300