Tea at the Crystal Moon Lounge, Corinthia Hotel
Guest Post by Lucy Daltroff
If the ubiquitous “nice cup of tea” can calm most situations, what I wondered would be the result of a whole pot, especially when taken at a top London venue. To find out I went with a friend to visit the 5 star Corinthia Hotel and ordered from their Summer Afternoon Tea menu.
The food and drink offering is important, but the ambience equally so, and this instantly got top marks from me. The hotel’s Crystal Moon Lounge – which I presume gets its name from the spectacular round Baccarat Chandelier – was elegance itself, especially with the huge table of fresh pink flowers in the middle of the room.
Our first “course” was a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne served with an amuse bouche of Raspberry and Jivara Chocolate Cup. Both were almost unexpectedly delicious – and it was then that I realised that the art of a set tea, is balance – not by the waitresses who sensibly all seemed to wear flat shoes – or even through the menu options – but purely by the ability to make the experience both traditional and modern at the same time. This is where I think The Corinthia gets it so right; a quintessentially British tradition with a distinctive modern twist.
I am sorry now that I knew exactly what tea I wanted to drink because I saw that other people who were undecided, were given a set of test tubes, with a selection inside, so they could sample the aroma and then pick the one that appealed the most. This seems a good idea with 18 to choose from. I went with their signature “Welcome Tea” described as “white and green tea interlaced with notes of lemon and ginger”. My companion’s choice was the Chinese “Snow Bud” a pale yellow colour with a subtle spicy flavour. All were delivered in pretty William Edwards’ fine china tea sets. The second cup was good, but the first a bit insipid because Diana, our waitress, eager to please, poured it out before it was properly brewed. It was Diana who told us that our menu was actually one of six; it changed during the year, according to the season.
The finger sandwiches had five fillings on different breads. The cucumber, cream cheese, mint and radish were on Cranberry while the Tuna confit had a distinct Basil flavour. We were then offered another round. This was followed by plain or raisin warm scones, served with homemade strawberry preserve, Cornish clotted cream and homemade lemon curd. I asked for a gluten-free scone, which tasted rich, moist and delicious. I am not gluten intolerant, but was curious to see if they could crack that particular test! They did so but warned that they prefer 24 hours advanced notice of dietary requirements where possible.
Finally, we were into the serious business of cakes. They were artistically arranged and certainly looked like a pretty picture, arriving as they did on a tower with each small cake on a separate level. Normally we would share, but as my companion was intolerant to strawberries, we both had our own selection. These ranged from Apricot Meringue with Milky Oolong tea cream, too, – in my case anyway – Strawberry Basil and Lime tartlet with Wild Strawberry Mousse.
Two and half hours later we sadly realised we had run out of all options; it was time to leave. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone not counting their calories, or their finances and wanting to unwind. A real treat to remember….
Thinking of booking afternoon tea in London? It’s a great treat for a special event. Why not pin this post for later
The Corinthia afternoon tea experience starts at £50 per person
Reservations preferred, especially during peak season – most dietary requirements can be catered for with 24 hours notice.
Corinthia Hotel London
London SE1A 2BD