A Tasty Afternoon Tea at 108 Marylebone:
108 Marylebone is the restaurant and bar of a boutique hotel in the heart of Marylebone village. Part of the Doyle group, like its sister hotels, The Marylebone Hotel has a unique style to blend seamlessly into the neighbourhood. The Pantry is a casual dining restaurant that serves healthy lunches – salads and sandwiches, home made soup and soda bread. Of course, with the best will in the world, afternoon tea should never be an entirely healthy affair. So it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation to review the gluten free afternoon tea there.
Pantry at 108 Marylebone has set up a healthy, classic gluten free tea, with lower dairy and sugar alternatives to save at least some of the calories. Now, I don’t normally try to follow a gluten free diet but, on this occasion, for the purposes of research I picked the healthy tea, while my companion indulged in the ‘Indulgent’, which comes with Rose champagne and strawberries. I did sneak in a glass of pink fizz for myself too but otherwise, my aim was to see how well the gluten free option stood up to its more decadent cousin.
The teas are all from The Rare Tea Company. In fact, the choice is quite limited if you are looking for tea rather than tisane, because of the six options three are more correctly herbal tisanes. Lovely as they all were, as a newly converted tea snob I’d have liked to see a green tea on the menu, and perhaps some of the more exotic options like silver tipped jasmine.
Tea is served from pretty blue and white china. The effect more country house than fine dining works well with the Pantry, which is less formal than some of the tea rooms you’ll find on Park Lane or Mayfair
My gluten free sandwiches arrived and looked for all the world like Simon’s indulgent ones. I could definitely tell the difference between the gluten free and the regular bread, there was a not altogether unpleasant texture to the gluten free version that was quite distinctive
Scones too were just a little drier and crumblier than their counterpart. For me that was simply an excuse to add a lot of clotted cream.
The top tier of cakes was, of course, the real test and I have to say Pantry at 108 passed with flying colours. I actually preferred my gluten free ‘healthy’ cakes to the richer versions offered to Simon. And I loved my champagne jelly shot.
Of the cakes I particularly liked the moist lemon and almond cake and the chocolatey health bar. And of course, it was all healthy!
I’m not sure whether it was the fact I knew I was eating a ‘healthy’ tea, but this particular afternoon tea did feel just a little less over-the-top than normal. A genuine tea, rather than a substitute for a full meal perhaps and definitely something you could enjoy after shopping or knowing you’d be eating dinner late. Afternoon teas start at £28 and are served every day of the week from 2.30 to 5.30pm
And, a great find if you are looking for a gluten free option.
Pantry at 108,
108 Marylebone Lane,
London W1U 2QE