Felicia Tan is a Malaysian living in London. She is a lifestyle blogger and covers a variety of topics including food, travel, and the things she loves in her life. Read more at her blog: Dancing in High Heels
We invite Felicia Tan for Afternoon Tea at The Magazine at Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park, a restaurant where the ingredients of the food and exterior is inspired by the surrounding Kensington Gardens.
Summertime is one of the best times for a visit to the park when flowers are in full bloom, and to commemorate the well-renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Magazine celebrated with a charming floral-inspired Afternoon Tea menu. The Magazine forms part of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London's Hyde Park, a former 1805 gunpowder store that now serves as a contemporary art gallery. The architecture of the striking modern extension is rather unique, artistically designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid.
We arrived slightly early and made the most of our time enjoying the warm sunshine in the garden, prior to advancing inside just as our afternoon tea was about to be served. The sleek white dining room features a stunning undulating membrane roof, with natural light flooding the room through the skylights framed by imposing steel columns. The glass walls that encompass the vast space offer a great view of the beautiful green surroundings, giving guests the impression of dining in the surrounding garden. The dynamic and contemporary space is complemented by built-in furniture that echo the shapes of the structure.
The Afternoon Tea menu is inspired by the beauty and ingredients in the surrounding Kensington Gardens, where the chefs have the opportunity to utilise the seasonal British botanicals.
We started off with some thirst-quenching Magazine in Bloom cocktails, made with peach, pink grapefruit, Absolut vodka, thyme infused syrup and a splash of sparkling prosecco - sweet, fruity, and a perfect summer cocktail.
A non-alcoholic option was also available upon request. To complement the menu, they had a selection of floral and fruit blends of Ronnefeldt teas, from which we both ordered the Silver Lime Blossom.
Our array of afternoon tea delights soon arrived, and instead of the conventional three tiered stand, they were served on black slates in a rustic wooden box. Our waiter gave us a brief explanation of the delicious platter laid before us. We started with the savoury bites, topped with delicate British botanicals such as blue borage and nasturtium - each one a mouthful of tantalizing goodness. Our favourites included the rainbow trout ceviche with cucumber which was very refreshing, and the black angus beef tartare with aromatic black truffle. The young goats curd was rich and creamy, served on a charcoal wafer and topped with a dainty blue borage. Others included a chive cream cheese, and an avocado mousse on toasted brioche.
Moving towards to the sweet treats, one of the substituted desserts served that day was a 'flat white' chocolate dessert sprinkled with pistachio which gave a nice crunchy texture - kind of like having a shot of coffee! The white chocolate was lightly coated with dessicated coconut, and as we bit into it, it released the sweet syrup infused with wonderful flavours of lychee. The mini lemon verbena meringue had a lovely zesty flavour and buttery pastry, and were like little bites of sunshine. We washed it all down with a cool and healthy smoothie, served in cute glass bottles.
And lets not forget the buttermilk scones, the essential element in every afternoon tea - nice and fluffy, served with fragrant rose infused English strawberry jam and luscious clotted cream.
The Afternoon Tea menu was indeed a delightful experience, and a wonderful portrayal of the vibrant colours and flavours of the season - pleasing to the eyes as well as the palate. The portion sizes were just about right for a casual afternoon treat, which leave you satisfied without the guilty feeling of overindulgence.
The Magazine in Bloom Afternoon Tea menu is available until September 30th 2015, subject to availability. It is priced at £25.00 per person, and is served 3.30pm to 5pm Thursday to Sunday.
If you are looking for a bit of art and culture after, I would recommend a visit to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery with plenty of exhibitions to explore.
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