It’s spring and what better way to while away a wet spring day than to enjoy a Garden Afternoon Tea! Spring inspired afternoon teas are becoming very popular as competition in the afternoon tea sector heats up. Last spring, I had one of the most inventive afternoon teas at the Marylebone Hotel and there wasn’t a single traditional sandwich in sight. Furthermore, I like Afternoon Tea to be a bit different however when I’m visiting our gorgeous luxury hotels such the Ritz, Dorchester, Savoy etc…then I like to stick to tradition.
Something quite different was the Honey Afternoon Tea at St Ermin’s Hotel last year. They have their own honeybees, it’s true, it’s called St Ermin’s Bee Hotel and it lives on the third floor. It’s home to over 350.000 bees which can be viewed safely behind glass and they make the hotel’s honey, it’s this honey that was used in their honey inspired afternoon tea.
This time, I was here to enjoy their Garden Afternoon Tea which can be taken inside or outside on the terrace which is open in the spring/summer months weather permitting. I decided to stay inside as it was quiet and I like the intimacy of the Tea Lounge. You approach the Tea Lounge via the grand sweeping staircase which is the focal point of this lovely hotel in the heart of Westminster.
Taking inspiration from seasonal ingredients and showcasing them in a selection of sweet and savoury treats is St Ermin’s Garden Afternoon Tea which can be enjoyed with a glass of champagne or half a bottle of English sparkling wine, my offer included free-flowing prosecco.
To start, I picked my tea which was English Breakfast followed by Jasmin Blossom to have with my cakes. I was also poured a glass of delicious effervescent prosecco which was continuously topped up.
Prawn with Lemon and Dill
Cucumber, Mint and Chive
Cumbrian Ham, cheddar and Pickle
Carrot and Raisin with Mint, Coriander and Houmous
The sandwiches tasted great but I found them a bit dry around the edges, however, I particularly liked the flavour combinations and they were packed full of filling. So often I find that in some afternoon teas, sandwiches are made ahead of time and that’s ok if they’re properly stored. In many of our 5* deluxe hotel’s which are forever busy churning out a constant stream of afternoon teas, sandwiches are made to order so they remain super fresh just as they should be. Unfortunately, some hotels take their eye of the ball, the same process should always apply to ensure the freshest possible sandwiches.
Despite this, the scones were lovely, traditional plain and fruit served with delicious fruity jam and perfectly rich and thick clotted cream.
The stars of the afternoon tea really were the cakes and desserts, I was completely surprised by how delicious they were and how beautiful they looked.
Raspberry, Rose and Vanilla Sable
Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Sponge with Salted Caramel
Peach and Apricot Mousse, Cinnamon Sponge, Thyme Cream
Passion Fruit and Coconut Éclair
Rhubarb and Custard Verrine
A dome of light and fragrant raspberry and rose mousse sitting on a crispy sable biscuit with a bright mirror-like sheen, raspberry and rose is a marriage made in heaven and this dessert was just perfect.
The chocolate ganache came in a cute flowerpot, the base a fudgy chocolate cake rich and chewy and a chocolate and salted caramel cream topped with chocolate “earth”, surprisingly, it wasn’t too sweet, it was just perfect.
Similarly, the passion fruit éclair was a delicious morsel as light as a feather coconut cream filled éclair with an almost macaron-like crunchy sugary topping. The rhubarb and custard was in fact a trifle in a mini glass jar, pink rhubarb jelly and creamy custard dotted with rhubarb gel and mint leaves and a paper-thin sliver of white chocolate.
Above all, what really blew me away was the peach and apricot mousse, it took on the shape of a perfectly ripe peach made of white chocolate and filled with bubbly light apricot and peach mousse, it was sublime and my favourite.
What I loved most about the Garden Afternoon Tea was how creative the dessert menu was, they were probably the best cakes and desserts I’ve had in an afternoon tea so far in 2019. It more than made up for the sandwiches which I really do hope was just a one off. The service was great as always at St Ermin’s, my prosecco was always kept topped up and my tea replenished if I wanted. It’s a very affordable Afternoon Tea and one to consider if you have a particular fondness for cake and dessert like me.
Garden Afternoon Tea £30 per person, £35 with a glass of champagne and £45 with a half a bottle of English Sparkling Wine.
There is a vegan version priced at £30 per person and a mini Garden Tea for children at £18 which includes a glass of orange or apple juice.
All photo’s and opinions my own.
2 Caxton Street
London SW1H 0QW
Tel 020 7222 7888
St Ermin’s Hotel has lots of dining opportunities in particular the Caxton Grill which serves lunch and dinner and the super cool Caxton Bar. In the heart of Westminster, the hotel is perfectly located for London’s famous Landmarks.