SeasonaliTea – a Lighter, Seasonal Afternoon Tea from the Langham Hotel:
There is a possibility that I indulge in afternoon tea just a little more than I should. What better excuse than hearing that The Langham Hotel has just launched a new tea which is intended to be lighter, with a reduction in the use of refined sugars and fats – of course with no compromise on the taste or texture of the cakes. With that in mind, grateful for the potential calorie savings and delighted that I was unlikely to find anything too sweet for me, I was thrilled to accept an invitation to try it out and headed off to Palm Court for another highly anticipated Langham Hotel Afternoon Tea.
I’ve met Andrew Gravett the Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham Hotel (and tried my hand at making Afternoon Tea). He’s a charming and down-to-earth person. It’s easy to take on board his comment about the tea
‘I think there has been a real emphasis on the artistry of afternoon tea in recent years, often at the expense of flavour…We wanted to redress that balance, and, by using brilliant seasonal ingredients, our SeasonaliTea will be as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye, we believe.’
Right now The Langham Hotel is beautifully decorated with roses. So, of course, we felt obliged to blend in as best we could with the decor by starting our tea with a glass of Blason Rosé Perrier-Jouët, a delicious champagne which Perrier-Jouët themselves describe as a gastronomic blend. It is well structured and rounded with notes of rose and orange flowers.
We went on to pick our own teas – a white needle tea for me and The Langham’s own blend for my companion. If you want to, there are tea pairing options at The Langham and you can pick different teas for each course of your afternoon tea, all chosen by Henrietta Lovell from the Rare Tea Company, who sources and supplied teas
We’d also opted for ‘High Tea’ which has an extra savoury course that you choose from three options.
But first to arrive were the sandwiches. We were pleasantly impressed that a selection of ‘almost’ classic sandwiches could be served with such neat twists. There was still a classic English cucumber and cream cheese sandwich with chives, but everything else on the menu was just that little bit different while still offering an ‘old favourite’. So for example, there was a dainty confit chicken ‘coronation’ with fresh coriander.
Cornish crab salad with avocado and coriander was served in a brioche roll, while La Latteria’s fresh mozzarella with a very light Isle of Wight tomato chutney came on basil bread.
The star though, for both of us, was the Cackleberry farm egg with marinated artichoke and summer truffle. It took all our willpower to avoid accepting a second helping. But we knew there was a lot more to come.
Our high tea savouries were also a great success. Tiny smoked salmon and broccoli quiche with a Campbells and Co Scottish smoked salmon rose was delicious with the lightest possible pastry shell for the quiche and just enough smoked salmon to add a little piquancy and luxury.
And a stunning ricotta finger topped with a Bermondsey honey jelly and tiny morsels of pickled walnut and served with a little lambs lettuce on the side.
Classic scones at the Palm Court are always a treat. They are freshly baked – the sort of thing I would have stolen from the cooling rack while my mother’s back was turned. But of course, here, they come with the addition of homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream
Then the pastries – always the highlight of any afternoon tea.
The plate is definitely simpler, though these cakes are still miniatures and as such would be well beyond my baking skills. Rolled into one is described as a light Japanese sponge which is filled with Tulameen raspberries and cream cheese and topped with a morsel of fresh raspberry and a flake of silver. La Carina, a crunchy choux is filled with Bergeron apricot compote and Earl Grey infused cream. A very delicate choux with a delicious croquant shell and delicious flavour combinations in the filling made this my favourite. Although I did have a soft spot for the purest chocolate treat – Simply Sakanti, a ganache made from Valhrona’s latest single-source chocolate, Sakanti from Bali, served cased in a tiny chocolate shell with demerara crystals. The final cake, Peach Melo, was a light, summery fresh peach and verbena meringue.
To round off the afternoon, just in case anyone was still hungry by this stage, we enjoyed a delicious honey cake. A Muscovado and citrus sponge steeped in Bermondsey’s Custom House honey was an excellent tribute to London and stickily flavourful.
The idea is that this tea will evolve through the seasons. Had we visited the week before, our ‘Rolled in one’ would have been served with strawberries rather than raspberries for example. And, the selection of teas offered will also change to complement the menu. Of course, the flowers on display in the Palm Court will be changed with the seasons too. I’m wondering if that gives me an excuse to go back to the Langham Hotel for afternoon tea more frequently…it would be so good if that was the case!
Thinking of booking a the Langham Hotel Afternoon Tea? Why not pin this post for later
SeasonaliTea at The Langham, London
The Langham Hotel Afternoon Tea is £55 per person, while High Tea is £62.
To book visithttp://palm-court.co.uk or call 020 7636 1000.