Afternoon tea at The Ritz London may have been terrible for my diet, but was quite a fun experience and something I would do again.
Review: Afternoon Tea Experience At The Ritz London
Some friends from LA were also in London for the Queen’s Jubilee and invited me to afternoon tea at The Ritz London (which is not part of the Marriott-owned Ritz-Carlton chain). This was only planned a day in advance and I was thankful that I had brought my suit along, since men are required to wear a jacket and tie…something I love and wish we would see more of at nicer restaurants (but that’s another issue…).
It was on my walk to The Ritz that I ran into Princess Beatrice and her baby outside St James’s Palace.
A disclaimer about this review. You’ll have to rely on words rather than pictures, since I chose not to take many pictures during our tea. It’s not that I was embarrassed to take pictures, but rather that I did not feel it was the appropriate time.
Sort of like a wedding. I’ve never understood why everyone pulls out their mobile phones at weddings when a professional photographer is present. Let the photographer do her job – no one needs your cell phone pictures or video. In fact, you cheapen the experience that way not only in creating a distraction, but when you show up in the pictures of the couple walking down the aisle with your phones.
That diatribe aside, I realize the analogy is not perfect, but I wanted to respect the environment and so I put my camera down during the tea session.
Rather than enter via the hotel’s main entrance, there is a special entrance for afternoon tea in around the corner. After your name is confirmed on a list, you are led downstairs, either into an ornate waiting room or directly into the team room.
The waiting room is called the Amber Room:
The dining room is quite ornate, with red carpet and gold walls and ceilings.
Shortly after being seated, your waiter will offer you a menu, which includes a large assortment of teas:
- THE RITZ ROYAL ENGLISH
- The Ritz own Breakfast Tea – an exquisite blend of Golden Kenyan, Assam and Orange Pekoe
- DARJEELING SECOND FLUSH
- The Champagne of Teas, from the Himalayan foothills, Singell Estate, India
- ASSAM TIPPY ORTHODOX
- Full-Body Black Tea from the Assam plains, Northern India
- CEYLON ORANGE PEKOE
- Whole leaf Black Tea from Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
- OOLONG FORMOSA
- Semi-fermented Tea from Wen Shan forest, Taipei, Taiwan.
- RUSSIAN CARAVAN
- A classic blend of Oolong Bao Zhong and Darjeeling Second Flush
- EARL GREY IMPERIAL
- A legendary blend of Chinese Black Tea from Yunnan and the finest Bergamot
- ROSE CONGOU
- Black Tea from Guangdong, China enriched with Rose Petals
- LAPSANG SOUCHONG
- Black Tea from Fujian China, traditionally smoked over pine fires
- MOROCCAN MINT
- The Tea of the Desert, a blend of Gunpowder Green Tea and Spearmint
- DRAGON PEARLS
- A Chinese Green Tea from Guanxi, scented with Jasmine Blossoms
- MAO JIAN
- Chinese Green Tea from Zhejiang, hand twisted, refreshing, and elegant
- THE RITZ CHAI
- The Ritz blend of Chai Masala Spices crafted in House with the fine leaves of Assam
- PASSION FRUIT AND ORANGE
- Apple, Hibiscus and Orange Peel blended with Passion Fruit
- LEMON VERBENA
- Dry whole Verbena leaves, the ultimate digestif
- CAMOMILE FLOWERS
- A calming and delicate infusion of Camomile Flowers from Egypt
- ROOIBOS RED TEA
- Caffeine free, rich in Vitamin C, Mineral Salts and Antioxidants
- CHOCOLATE MINT ROOIBOS
- Fine Organic Rooibos Tea blended with Spearmint and a hint of Chocolate
I enjoyed several cups of The Ritz Royal English followed by Moroccan Mint.
Next come sandwiches, then scones and cakes. Here’s the current selection:
- Ham with Grain Mustard Mayonnaise on Brioche Bread Cheddar Cheese with Chutney on Tomato Bread
- Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Dill and Mint on Granary Bread Breast of Chicken with Tarragon Creamed Mayonnaise on Malt Bread Scottish
- Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter on Sourdough Bread
- Egg Mayonnaise with Chopped Shallots and Watercress on Brioche Roll
- SCONES AND PASTRIES
- Freshly Baked Plain and Fruit Scones
- Cornish Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserve
- Assortment of Seasonal Afternoon Tea Pastries and Cakes
Here are some stock photos:
This was just a terrible afternoon for my low-carb diet. I decided in advance the fellowship was more important and that I would just enjoy myself..and I did. The sandwiches, particularly the ham and cucumber sandwiches as well as the raisin scones were simply marvelous. It’s a rare indulgence and it was a nice break from my diet.
We had a few leftovers at the table and rather than just throw them away, I took them home…all the way to LA…and my kids loved them.
The cost of afternoon tea is £67 per person with a supplement of about £30 for Champagne.
One final element I loved: the soft piano music by Ian Gomes.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz London was a fun experience.
Is it something I’d do often? Of course not, because I prefer coffee and protein over tea and carbs. But it was a great treat and something I’ve never done before (in London, Dubai, or elsewhere…) so I have no regrets. Here especially, it was not about the food, but the company.