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.
Hmmm… methinks it’s always about the company and not the food.
Sure, but it is nice to have both.
I have done tea at the Ritz in Madrid. Is that related to the London Ritz? And while I’m asking, what is your genealogy, if I may ask, of course. My Dad was from Aberdeen, Scotland. Any relation there?
For whatever reason those cucumber sandwhiches are so good. The Ritz is also very nice at Christmas with the carol singers. The atmosphere is extra buzzy. I’ve just returned from London (thankfully no issues with the heat/strikes/flight delays/luggage/covid) and had afternoon tea at the Kensington. It’s very intimate and lovely. I also like tea at the Savoy and One Aldwych.
To each of his own – I always take photos of my food when dining out unless its forbidden by the facility, be it cruise, airlines, or hotels. They are part of travel memory, overly conscious about “being appropriate everywhere” leads to mental stress which present day culture emphatically adorned.
Your point is fair – I just didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures in this setting and sometimes I feel that we ruin the moment by capturing every angle with our mobile phones.
“Let the photographer do her job”
Interesting you assume that a photographer is female.
Would you prefer I used them?
Are you kidding me.
Let me know when you’re around next time, I go to church round the corner from the Ritz (has not much to do with Mayfair apart from location) and would love if you popped by for a Sunday!
It rare to read any mention of being at a place of worship while traveling. My wife and I have met many wonderful people at churches in many places around the world. Due to rail the rail strike and other logistical hurdles we could not visit the Metropolitan Tabernacle nor St. Paul’s during our visit a month ago.
We happened to be at the Trafalgar Square and noticed St. Martin-in-the-Fields. We were just in time for the Choral Evensong which was a delightful experience. We were able to rest our heels and our souls in the peace & simplicity of the service with hymns, scripture reading and prayer. The organ voluntary at the end was was pure joy. The hostess was very welcoming and extremely kind with a delightful smile. The Anglican Evensong was a a daily event during my childhood days in a rural town in southern India. Sadly, I miss that where we live now in America.
We planned to return back for a concert the next day but the rail strike derailed it (no pun intended) and plans for afternoon tea.
Stat tuned. In my next major trip report I’ll share about attending Anglican churches while traveling in Doha and Cairo. In Doha, even Christian churches meet on Friday.
Looking forward to the report … Indeed I am familiar with Doha. My father was instrumental in starting an ethnic Anglican congregation in D0ha — probably in the 50s. They met at someone’s home every Friday evening. I have memories of attending the gathering in the early 1970s.
We did an afternoon tea at Ashford Castle a few weeks ago. Wonderful stuff. I learned that I prefer it with the Champagne.
So delighted to see that the Cornish cream was on the menu next time I’m in the facility a definite destination
I really like reading your blog – thanks! I thought in a previous post you mentioned that you saw Princess Beatrice with her baby but this one says it was Princess Eugenie. Just wondering if it was one, the other or both? Thanks!
It was Beatrice. My bad. Thanks for pointing out that.
Is this really an article? How did this appear on my feed and why why why did I read it.
As a Londoner I felt like vomiting reading this. Did you even review the afternoon tea? You love yourself so much and want everyone to know it. Well done on your unique view on mobile phone use for photography at wedding, wow, no one has ever expressed that same sentiment, you are so original how did you arrive at your perspective? Never heard it before. Move over Yeats.
Why did you spend so many words spelling out the menu for us? Instead of providing actually, we’ll, Anything or value from your visit that cannot be found on the Ritz’s website. Finally, you ran into Princess Eugene.. Oh I thought I’d drop that in, for um, no added value whatsoever. Just to have something for the La fanboys to fawn over me for. Dear oh dear.
Now sashay away!
I practically learned English reading books by Enid Blyton. The Famous Five were perpetually hungry, and there was always “tea” with plenty to eat. Naturally we bought the set of books and introduced our children to Enid Blyton and the Famous Five. For a while, our children and my wife tried to recreate the “tea,” mostly with a few baked goods, every Sunday afternoon.
We were interested in checking out the afternoon tea at the Ritz but I had not brought a jacket and tie. One of the gentlemen at the Ritz were able to show us around and take a peek inside the room as discreetly as possible. We had to defer the experience at the Ritz till the next visit. We had earlier visited the Wolseley but didn’t find the setting conducive for our preference. We also had to cancel the reservation at the Royal Lancaster due to the rail strike and the transportation issues.
Also, I am with you Matthew regarding proper attire for such a dining experience.
Try afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab..best
You may be interested to learn that the location of your afternoon tea at the Ritz is a temporary location. The Palm Court is where it is usually held. That room is undergoing a refurbishment this year. The room where you were is normally used as a Casino room.
Good to know. Thanks for sharing.