Thursday, 24 July 2014

Afternoon tea at The Goring

Last week The Husband and I finally used our vouchers for afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel (expiring this month, as they were for my birthday last year!).  You may not have heard of The Goring, but you might remember it from the Wills & Kate wedding three years ago: the Middleton clan took over the whole hotel for Kate's pre-wedding preparations (complete with specially-constructed press black out canopy).  I can see why they chose it: discreet but sumptuous, tucked away down a Victoria side street near Buckingham Palace.  Unlike some of the Park Lane monstrosities, you could easily miss it.

As soon as we walked through the door, I knew it was going to be a treat.  It was blissfully cold, a real urban escape from the sweltering London heat.  Sat in the old-fashioned lounge area was a welcome contrast from the dazzling sunshine outside.  We of course had to upgrade to the "Bollinger Tea" option: only £10 more for a large glass of champagne (poured from magnum) and an equally ample plate of strawberries and cream.

Tea-wise, I chose my favourite post tea - Silver Needles - and the husband went a little off-piste with Jasmine Flowers.  Both were excellent, and refreshing.  We enjoyed our strawberries, before being presented with a completely superfluous but utterly delicious "amuse bouche" of lobster and crayfish with a clear tomato jelly.

But enough of the pleasantries, bring on what we've all come here for: the tiered cake stand!

The sandwiches were simple and old-fashioned, and I think we enjoyed them all the more for that.  We demolished two plates of cucumber, egg, chicken and ham finger sandwiches in very short order.

The scones were light and fluffy, and again served simply: Devonshire cream and both raspberry and strawberry jams.  Why mess with perfection?

The top tier was reserved for the pastries.  I think just about all the skills of a 5-star pastry chef were in evidence here: macaroon, caramel, chocolate tempering, frangipan, mousse, choux and sponge.  Universally delicious (if quite a sweet plateful, we certainly couldn't manage more than one plate, even though it was technically "all you can eat").

Just as our thoughts turned to rolling ourselves home, they then brought out two sherry trifles for good measure.  Well it would be rude not to, surely? 

I would highly recommend The Goring as an afternoon tea option.  We have many fine hotels in London, with a similar line in high-end teas, to choose from.  The Goring doesn't quite have the glamour of The Savoy or The Berkeley, or the theatre of The Ritz, but it does a traditional tea (with a few lovely extras) very well.  No fuss, just exquisite surroundings, service and teas.

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