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We enjoyed a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea at the luxurious The Hyde at The Royal Park Hotel - A Roseate House Hotel - in Paddington London.
During our undergraduate study, me and my best friend Vicky used to enjoy tea and cake frequently. Unfortunately now we are now far separated - me in South Yorkshire, and her in London. So when I visited London last week, I just had to grab Vicky and to go relive our best times together at a good Afternoon Tea place. When we arrived at The Royal Park Hotel, we realised that it was not only a good place, but a fantastic Afternoon Tea place for us to have the best time catching up with each other.
The waiter welcomed us to the table and took the coats away for us (even offering handbag hangers, which was really sweet). We were offered a glass of Champagne which we sadly declined on as we had prior commitments in the evening. Among the five-page selection of various teas, I decided to start off with a cup of oolong and Vicky picked jasmine.
While the tea was being prepared, I literally fell in love with the gorgeous dining environment. We were seating at one of the dining areas, near the entrance to the hotel. The interiors are done in a vintage style, with golden lighting lamps and Victorian-era paintings.
The waiter came back with a tea tray on one of his hands and the other serving the tea for us. The eat was poured over from the teapot and beautifully went through the strainer rested on the cup. I really love the design of the tea strainer, which is in silver with a little wooden handle.
My oolong tea tasted great and it made me calm down to enjoy the upcoming savoury and sweets. If you need the refill just let the waiter know. Each infusion of the oolong tea revealed hidden subtleties locked inside these humble leaves. You will also be served with any other teas, upon request.
A fully loaded three-tier stand china with a selection of indulgent finger sandwiches and both pain and raisin scones came first (which I just couldn't wait to try) - but first, let me take a photo -
It was suggested we try the sandwich with pickled cucumber and crème crue de normandie first, then followed by the others, including the Daylesford organic chicken with Tarragon mayonnaise; Burford brown egg; Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese; and roasted ham with caramelised red onion. My favourite one was the reddish looking finger sandwich that was made using beetroot. The high-quality taste salmon goes perfectly with the lemon cream cheese.
(I love the fact that each of the tiers contains one of all the sandwiches mentioned above so that you don't have to share your favourites. Also, neither you or your friend will miss anything!)
You are supposed to move to the scones after finishing the finger sandwiches, but I just couldn't hold out any longer, and just had to take a bite on the beautiful scone. The scones were slightly dusted with icing sugar on top. Two of the four ones were plain, and the other two were with raisin. I was happily surprised that the scone was still warm after we finished half of the finger sandwiches. The Cornish clotted cream and homemade preserves added on lots of rich flavours to the scone.
The long-awaited cakes and sweets finally came! By 'long-awaited' I don't mean that they were very slow and kept us waiting.. What I mean is that cakes and sweets are always the highlight of every single Afternoon Tea time for me (and I believe that I'm not the only one), so I had been eagerly looking forward to them as soon as I sat down.
Everything was served on the delicate plate, with a little tray containing the selected macarons. The coffee and walnut cake slice was cut from the whole fresh cake in front us, which was really exciting to see. Then most amazing part of the whole Afternoon Tea experience was when the waiter showed the entire macaron stand with vibrantly coloured macarons on for us to choose as many as we like. Both of us went for the pistachio flavour and they were perfectly tasty.
Except for the macaron, the coffee and walnut cake was also my favourite. The cake is full of the taste of coffee and nuts. The ground coffee beans and nuts in the cake add more texture to it. We finished everything with the final bite of the chocolate and rum coupe. The decent amount of rum taste made up for the Champagne we missed out on.
We had the best time of tea and cakes that afternoon at The Royal Park Hotel. The dining environment was relaxing and cosy, so both of us had the chance to catch up with each other after such a long time of separation. The food was amazingly gorgeous and the service was perfect. I'm sure that I will definitely go back with my boyfriend and my family.
If you are visiting London or the country as a tourist, The Royal Park Hotel is the best place to go and to experience the British cultural of Afternoon Tea, because everything is very authentic. Also, the helpful staff there will explain everything you don't know, so you don't miss out on any aspect of this most attractive tradition.
We interviewed the pastry chef at The Royal Park Hotel, check it out here.
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