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The Afternoon Tea Team recently visited Hotel Café Royal following their launch of ‘the diptyque Afternoon Tea’, as we are always keen to try fresh interpretations of a Traditional Afternoon Tea.
The diptyque Afternoon Tea is the product of an intriguing collaboration with Hotel Café Royal and French perfumer and artist diptyque. The flavours in the Afternoon Tea are inspired by diptyque's signature fragrances, aiming to unite taste and scent. Of course, we had to visit and try it ourselves!
After a brief wander around Mayfair to take in the sights, we made our way to Hotel Café Royal. We were given a warm welcome in the beautiful lobby before being ushered into the area where Afternoon Tea is served- the iconic Oscar Wilde Bar. We were seated in the very corner favoured by Oscar Wilde himself, where we could admire the opulence of the room best.
A piano was playing softly in the background, subtly alternating between classical pieces and covers of contemporary songs. We noticed that there was a pleasant level of chitter chatter- alongside the sound of piano this created a simultaneously refined and lively atmosphere that was perfect for a social Afternoon Tea.
We were served by an extremely friendly waitress and nothing was too much trouble. First, she patiently explained all the tea options and advised us on our choices. Hotel Café Royal have an extensive tea selection of over 30 tea blends, however we all opted for fragrant teas to compliment the floral Afternoon Tea menu, and the waitress was happy to let us try multiple teas throughout the afternoon. Our favourite teas included the Celestien tea and the Phoenix Honey Orchid tea.
The Afternoon Tea itself is wonderfully presented- it is served on delicate, white china that perfectly offsets the lavish décor.
We were advised to start with the Amuse Brouche- a Goat's Cheese and pickled apple muffin. The pickled apple is served in a syringe which you inject yourself. The Goat's cheese muffin perfectly absorbs the apple, and the two flavours interacted beautifully. The taste of the Goat's cheese was not overpowering, and the apple created a perfect balance of strong and sweet flavours. The Amuse Brouche was a favourite of the team, and we requested more (a continuing theme of this Afternoon Tea).
We then moved onto the finger sandwiches. The staff were extremely attentive and explained each filling and flavour combination. The sandwiches were flavoured with herbs and floral notes, such as Cotswold chicken and lemon verbena. Each sandwich was delicious with delicate, fragrant tastes.
I am the only team member that is a pescetarian and Hotel Café Royal were extremely accommodating- I was given a stand to myself. As alternatives to the Cotswold chicken and lemon verbena and the Roast Aberdeen Angus beef sandwiches, I was offered spiced hummus sandwiches and red pepper with avocado sandwiches. When I tried to share the sandwiches with the rest of the team, extra vegetarian sandwiches were promptly brought out for everyone to try. The vegetarian sandwiches were a surprise hit with the rest of the team- we all requested another serving. (Again!)
After a tea break, we moved onto the scones. They were served perfectly warm, with thick clotted cream and jam- just as scones should be.
Arguably, the most exciting part of the diptyque Afternoon Tea were the carefully considered delicacies. There were four pastries to try- the Rose Victoria, a Tahitian Vanilla Bar, Violet Cassis Tart and the Lemon Verbena. Each pastry has been designed to match a diptyque fragrance, and contained multiple tasting notes. They all looked like little edible pieces of art. The team favourites were the Violet and Cassis Tart, which was delightfully floral and the Tahitian Vanilla Bar which was light with a satisfying crunch.
We finished our afternoon by indulging in a glass of Champagne each- a perfect end to a perfect Afternoon Tea!
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