High Tea in London at Cheneston's
By Sara Shaw
Chenestons at The Milestone Hotel is situated in Knightsbridge, just a short 10 minute tube ride from London's bustling Oxford Circus. The first thing we noticed on arrival was the beautifully manicured frontage of this historic dwelling. Perfectly trimmed ivy and immaculately shaped buxus decorate the railings and window boxes of The Milestone and create the perfect impression before even entering the building.
On arrival, we were greeted and taken through to the restaurant, passing through the reception room where Afternoon Tea is served. The two rooms, although similar in traditional, grand decor were clearly refurbished with their uses in mind. The front Afternoon Tea room was rich in colour, laden with luxurious cosy sofas and sumptuous fabrics and I think the most pleasing setting we have ever seen for Afternoon Tea. Rose filled vases sprinkled the room and a pianist played in the corner, the kind of image you conjure up when thinking about traditional English Afternoon Tea at its best. The dining room was more formal and classically decorated with the odd splash of modern ornamentation, a perfect combination to make you feel that you were dining somewhere very special.
Having never been to a High Tea before, we were unsure of what to expect but we were kindly talked through the menu by the very friendly Manuel. We were giving the choice of Chicken Noodle Soup or Caramalised Veloute as our first course followed by 2 choices out of 3 starters. I choose chicken noodle soup and my husband opted for the veloute for our entree. For the starter, my husband, being a vegetarian, choose the Welsh Rarebit and Artichoke and spinach tart. I went for the Salmon en croute in addition to the Welsh Rarebit so we had all dishes covered between us. We were also served a glass of Champagne which was very much to our liking!
After a short wait, we were served our first course in an unusual tumbler style glass. At first glance, we were surprised how little there was in the glass, it wasn’t until the end of the meal that we realised that in fact it was the perfect amount! Having tried both entrees (there are some advantages to not being vegetarian) I can honestly say they were both absolutely sublime, the intense flavour was a perfect start to what would be a wonderful evening.
The starters were served next, one after the other to not lose temperature. Both my husband and I agreed that the Welsh Rarebit was beautiful. Home baked bread slathered in the most delicious cheddar cheese with a hint of mustard and ale, the most satisfying comfort food there is! Next I was served my Salmon en croute, moist and cooked to perfection, this was my favourite dish so far. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his Artichoke and spinach tart too.
After having a delightful chat with the lovely Manuel about his Spanish roots and life history, we were served the “afternoon” part of our tea. We had opted not to have tea with our High Tea on this occasion and instead decided to stick with the Champagne (why ever not?!) but the Milestone has an extensive selection of worldly tea if you decide to choose traditional high tea. We were served not one, not two, but three scones, each!!
You can imagine by now that we are starting to feel a little full. We decided to share each scone so that we could have a taste of each of the individual flavours. Traditional there was a raisin scone and a plain scone but unconventionally, we were also given a bacon scone served with truffle butter, a lovely surprise! All were served warm, freshly baked and perfect in every way. Finally, our tea stand was presented to the table. There was a wonderful selection of sandwiches for myself and a separate plate of vegetarian sandwiches for my husband. My favourite was the circular chicken mayonaise sandwich coated in pine nuts. Everything were delicious. The pastries were amazing, each stunning in appearance and even better on the palette. The pastries were the icing on the cake for us, you could really tell that a lot of time and love had gone into making these. All in all, we had a fabulous night at The Milestone Hotel, the staff were friendly, informative and we had quite a giggle with Manuel, we felt very special and were truly looked after.
Throughout our high tea, we were asked if we were satisfied and if we wanted anymore sandwiches or cakes. Of course, the answer was no, but it was nice to know that no matter what your appetite, there is no way you would leave The Milestone Hotel feeling hungry!