As a lovely birthday surprise Russell's parents treated us to afternoon tea at The Palm Court in the Park Lane Hotel.
I a beautiful Art Deco setting, the experience takes you back in time to an era of style and elegance in the heart of London's Mayfair.
In August the room is being renovated, so we felt lucky to see the venue in it's former glory before it is updated.
Afternoon tea is recognised around the world as being something traditionally British. Nobody knows the exact origins of the afternoon tea but one lady features in all theories, Anna, Seventh Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), lady in waiting to her majesty, Queen Victoria.
Traditionally, dinner was not served until 8.30 or 9.00 in the evening and the Duchess often became hungry, especially in the summer when dinner was served even later. Every afternoon, she experienced a “sinking feeling” and requested sandwiches and cakes between 3pm and 4pm in the afternoon.
Soon others followed the duchess’ lead. In 1842, a well known actress named Fanny Kemble heard of Afternoon tea, and began to invite some guests to join her. Soon all of fashionable London was sipping tea with a variety of sandwiches on the side. The custom of “taking tea” in the afternoon had become well established, along with a complex set of rules and etiquette.
We started our tea with a glass of Moët & Chandon Brut Champagne followed by finger sandwiches including:
- Roast beef, wild rocket and wasabi mayonnaise
- Cream cheese and chive, cucumber, baby watercress
- Roasted Scottish salmon, dill and lemon
- Free range egg, crème fraiche and mixed sakura cress
- Salt and pepper corn-fed chicken, celery and mustard mayonnaise, mini ciabatta roll (mayonnaise on a mini ciabatta roll
After stuffing ourselves with sandwiches, we continued to gorge on scones with jam and clotted cream - we were, however, disappointed that there wasn't any strawberry jam (a banoffee and apricot concoction was served alongside the scones which we were not keen on).
All-in-all it was a lovely afternoon and a wonderful experience. Would we return? Maybe out of curiosity to see the room after the renovations, and for a few chicken ciabatta rolls.