The Lanesborough has been on my radar for a while so I was thrilled to experience the latest in their innovative series of seasonal Afternoon Teas, “It’s A Little Bit Mad”. Themed Afternoon Teas have always appealed to my tastes, and fellow Disney lovers will be pleased to hear that this exclusive affair pays homage to none other than the iconic Disney villain, Cruella de Vil, coinciding with the new film that premiered in May.
Set inside the stunning five star luxury hotel in Knightsbridge overlooking Hyde Park, this Afternoon Tea is served in one of London’s most beautiful dining settings, Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant. Arriving ahead of time as always, we were kindly served some refreshments in the elegant Withdrawing Room, before being guided to the restaurant which looked just as magnificent in real life as in the photos.
The lavish interiors exude the flair of the Regency period, from the carpets and walls coloured in refined hues of eggshell blues, up to the ceiling where natural light floods through the domed glass roof, illuminating the space, the chandeliers glistening in the sunshine.
We were seated by the grand piano where resident pianist, the legendary Brian Morris, played beautifully in the background, welcomed with glasses of champagne whilst we perused the tea menu and admired our surroundings. I went for the Lanesborough Afternoon Tea, a floral black tea blend with sweet tones of fruit and rose petals, whilst my friend went for one from the ‘Tea With a Twist’ selection, a vibrantly coloured Rhubarb & Vanilla. We also couldn’t resist from trying out the Scene Stealer Cocktail, a fun and sweet aperitif, topped with white apricot air foam and freeze-dried blackberry dust, accompanied by some dry ice theatrics – who doesn’t love a bit of theatre?
In celebration of fashion and rebellion, the eye-catching array of afternoon tea delights were cleverly designed in sophisticated shades of black, red and gold, inspired by the glamorous pop-culture icon.
We began with the selection of finger sandwiches which included egg & cress mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cream cheese & dill, mint yoghurt & cucumber, coronation chicken, and last but not least, an intriguing savoury prawn & squid ink tartlet with a lobster mayonnaise & tomato sponge.
The freshly baked scones, ‘Out with the old, in with the unexpected’ consisted of square baked classic plain scones, as well as chocolate chip & dried cranberry scones, nestled inside a crisp white napkin, and served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. We were offered a top-up of any particular savoury that we fancied, but we kindly declined, saving up our appetites for the final tier of sweet pastries.
Each of them given a unique name, we started with the Fashion Makes Art Makes Fashion, a raspberry Battenberg cake with cranberry jam, followed by the Modern Masterpiece, a gold inside out lemon cheesecake with blueberry compote and a blackcurrant and violet injection that added an interactive novelty. I might have been a bit aggressive with my squirting skills and very nearly created my own modern piece of artwork on my friend’s shirt – who knows, it could have potentially turned out to be an accidental masterpiece. Gone in two mouthfuls, Totally Unexpected was a bright red choux bun which contained a luscious caramelised banana and pecan nut crème, topped with a cute white chocolate hat, followed on by Runway Diva, a treacle tartlet with whipped dulcey ganache garnished with red lips.
We left the Rebel Heart for last, expecting to make a mess as I attempted to cut it with my less dominant hand, whilst trying to capture the moment on my phone. Coloured an intense shade of black, the fragmented heart cut through to reveal a white chocolate feuilletine base, yoghurt raspberry mousse and liquid hibiscus centre. Last but not least, presented on it’s own miniature artist easel, was the Anarchy Reigns, a millionaire shortbread, which after much admiration we ended up taking away to enjoy later on.
“It’s A Little Bit Mad”, Cruella-inspired Afternoon Tea, is presented exclusively at Céleste from 28th May to 4th August 2021, and served daily from 12:30pm – 5:30pm. Priced at £55 per person, there is the option to upgrade and include a glass of Champagne (£74 per person) or the Scene Stealer Cocktail (£72 per person). Another strong contender on my list of top London afternoon teas, this is certainly one to book this summer.