Afternoon Tea at Palm Court at The Langham
By Jane Venables
If it’s the wow factor you want in your afternoon tea, then might I suggest you book a table at the legendary Palm Court at The Langham. Last Sunday we were very lucky to experience what is one of the very best afternoon teas I have ever tried – and I’ve tried a few! The Langham Hotel is an impressive five-star establishment found just a short stroll from Oxford Circus underground station, making it the perfect choice for a post shopping treat. Afternoon tea takes place in the beautiful Palm Court, the birthplace of afternoon tea some 150 years ago, and is a very special experience indeed.
Of course, afternoon tea at The Langham comes with a reputation for being one of the best so my expectations were high. I wasn’t disappointed in any way. Once our coats were taken away by a friendly member of the team we were seated at our table in the beautiful Palm Court and presented with our menus. Not any ordinary menu mind, these were more like attractive books detailing the origins of afternoon tea and of the venue as well as menus for each afternoon tea on offer and descriptions of each tea served. As our champagne was poured we were left to ponder over which tea to choose. I opted for the special 150th Anniversary Langham Blend which was an absolute delight whilst my mum, who is a stickler for her English Breakfast, opted for The Langham Blend upon recommendation from our lovely server Joanna, and was surprisingly delighted with her choice. Our tea was poured for us into the most beautifully delicate Wedgewood china. Perfect.
Following an amuse bouche of raspberry sorbet with a champagne foam, the silver tray of sandwiches was served to our plate by our helpful server. When I say sandwiches, your everyday sarnie they are not. Small brioche buns filled with duck egg mayonnaise and shavings of black truffle, tiny rye crackers topped with smoked salmon, fennel and passionfruit dressing, curried chicken on carrot bread and peppered beef pastrami and red onion coleslaw on caraway and cocoa bread. Oh yes and the traditional cucumber and cream cheese sandwich! I had double helpings of the duck egg brioche and the beef pastrami as I couldn’t refuse and was just a little tempted to have seconds of the others too. However, I resisted as scones and cakes were soon coming up and I needed to save some space.
Whilst waiting, the pianist arrived and began playing some beautiful music on his grand piano which was wonderful. What I loved about the Palm Court is that although it is every inch the luxurious setting, there was a lovely mix of people including families with young children and everyone was made to feel very welcome indeed. Joanna suggested I sample another tea and recommended the Wedgewood Original which was a rich almost caramel flavoured tea. I loved it. Our warm scones arrived and my goodness what light, tasty morsels they were, just the right size (I hate a huge fat scone at afternoon tea) topped with the most delectable strawberry jam and clotted cream. Our cakes and pastries had arrived too, carefully placed on the tall three-tiered stand that sat beside our table. Joanna placed our plates on the table and carefully explained each one in turn. She then recommended I sample a final tea to cleanse my palette and to accompany my sweets – the simply stunning White Apricot. I would never have considered this tea but she was spot on. In fact, Joanna was spot on during the whole experience.
We felt rather guilty even touching the beautiful sweet treats placed before us, so incredible was their precision and beauty but simply had to see what they tasted like. My most favourite had to be The Langham Rose, presented in a small shot glass, it consisted of raspberry and rose jelly, Victoria sponge and a Madagascan vanilla cream and crunch. What a wonderful treat, I will never forget its fragrant yet subtle taste. The Mojito with its citrus cream, fresh mint madeleine and whipped coconut ganache was another winner. In fact, we loved every single one of our cakes and pastries, they were divine.
I cannot recommend Afternoon Tea at The Langham enough, particularly for a special occasion. It is everything an afternoon tea should be and more. And if you’re lucky enough to be served by the lovely Joanna, then you’re in for an extra special treat!
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