Last Updated on November 4, 2021
An elegant afternoon tea in Gatsby’s Room at The Beaumont.
It’s hard to believe that The Beaumont Hotel was originally built as luxury parking for what is now Selfridges, way back in 1926! Historic England, who set out historic property listings, originally noted that ‘the facade is remarkably ambitious for a car park of this date’. Today, converted into a hotel, it is Grade II listed and a 5-star luxury hotel. It’s really quite a special place. Transformed a few years ago by restaurateurs Corbin & King, it even has a sculpture ‘ROOM’ by Antony Gormley (yes you can stay there). I’ve been to the Beaumont before but not since the hotel changed hands and was refurbished sensitively for the current owners by Thierry Despont. Gatsby’s Room is new, a cosy space to the front of the hotel’s main restaurant, The Colony Grill, and it’s the perfect setting for an elegant afternoon tea.
We loved the live music from a pianist tucked into one corner and the comfortable seating. The panelled room, with bookcases and comfy seating, had that elegant townhouse feel and the room itself was large enough to afford individual tables privacy while still having a wonderfully intimate feeling that’s missing from a lot of the five-star hotel tea offerings. And, we started in the best possible way, with a glass of Gusbourne sparkling English wine.
The standard tea offering is £45 and there are a number of options including gluten-free and vegetarian. But, to make it perfect, I’d recommend adding a little sparkle in the form of one of the drinks on offer – a glass of 2015 Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs will bring the price to £60.00 while 2016 Gusbourne Rosé will price your tea at £62.00. Refreshingly, there is also a non-alcoholic offer, a glass of JING Jasmine Pearls Sparkling Tea with your tea will add a £5 premium. I’m reliably informed that this is the best sparkling tea on the market at the moment – although it wasn’t available when we went to review.
Individual plates of sandwich fingers came as a quartet of classic flavours. The devilled egg was mildly spicey and beautifully creamy. The smoked salmon and cream cheese, my companion’s favourite, had a light sprinkling of dill in the cheese and was packed with tender salmon. The smoked chicken Caesar, my own favourite, had a lovely crunch from the salad mixture with moist chicken packed with smokey notes. And, Reuben salt beef is just a delicious mouthful that I’d happily have consumed all afternoon. Trying not to have seconds in order to save space for scones and cakes, but failing inevitably, we took a break and sipped on our teas!
The Beaumont serves Jing teas, a fine selection of authentic leaf tea that I always enjoy. My Silver Jasmine was light and fragrant. My companion started with Silver Jasmine but moved on to a richer Oolong for the sweet dishes, a wise move that I should really copy but don’t simply because I really enjoy Silver Jasmine. There are a couple of seasonal speciality teas on the menu which attract a small premium and there’s also a selection of tisanes.
The tea tower had a fabulous 1920s feel to it, in keeping with the theme of the hotel and of Gatsby’s Room in particular. Don’t you love the shadows that the frosted glass makes on the white linen tablecloth? There’s something truly elegant in that level of attention to detail.
Plain and raisin scones came warm from the oven and wrapped in a napkin. Beautifully moist, there were generous helpings of clotted cream and jam and the pots came with their own tiny spoons. Again, that attention to detail that makes for a perfect experience.
If I have any criticism of the tea it’s that personally, I prefer smaller cakes, with one for each diner. It’s not a question of wanting more (we were told we could have any more we wanted), just of preferring not to split the cakes so that we could both taste everything!
They did look stunning though!
My favourite of the cakes was the rhubarb cheesecake, a pistachio encrusted delicate construction with just the right level of acidity in the creamy filling to contrast with the sweet pastry shell.
I love the story behind the pretty key lime and matcha religieuse. It’s so called because of the supposed resemblance to a nun in habit and originated in the mid-nineteenth century. Made from two choux buns, here with a craquelin coating, it really does look like a little person. For me, the matcha was lost in the key lime flavouring but I loved the textural contrast of the meringue, choux and lime/matcha cream.
I loved the peanut butter and jelly chocolate macaron, which came with touches of silver foil and a lovely fresh raspberry topping. When you bit into the macaron there was a fabulously naughty stickiness from the peanut butter and jelly filling
Without looking at the menu, I thought we were being served an opera cake. In fact, this is a rather beautifully executed Boston cream pie – a classic cake from the USA which is not a pie at all but a delicate vanilla cake layered with fresh pastry cream and chocolate ganache
So much thought has gone into this tea, with clear American links without being in any way overwhelming or tacky. It’s an excellent reflection of the name of the room and for that matter, the underlying theme of the hotel. A 1920s American influence that is truly elegant, decadent and charming.
At a £45 price point, this is a 5-star tea you shouldn’t miss and good enough to rival that of its competitors on Park Lane. Apart from the excellent food and elegants wines and teas, our service was truly immaculate. A stone’s throw from Selfridges, it would make the perfect Christmas shopping treat. Do go!
The Beaumont Hotel
8 Balderton St,
Brown Hart Gardens,
London W1K 6TF