Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Cream Tea Cruise on the Thames


While in London, you can enjoy an afternoon tea cream tea in style this summer with the new ‘cream tea cruise’ from London’s leading river bus service MBNA Thames Clippers.

At the moment the Thames Clippers is running daily special mini cruises and serving a traditional cream tea complete with a glass of Champagne or glass of orange juice while basking in the glorious weather and stunning London views.

Cream tea is a smaller and lighter  affair than the traditional British Afternoon Tea.  It consists in tea, scones, jam and  clotted cream.





It's a covered boat, so you are safe from inclement London weather.   They also have an outside area for those must 'selfies'. The day I experience the cream tea cruise, it was humid and a little overcast, but that didn't matter, the dramatic weather just added another layer of interest to the proceedings.

This is an experience like no other as while taking in the city's sights including the Houses of Parliament,  The Big Ben, Tower Bridge and The London Eye and many other iconic buildings with spellbinding past.

A blue badge guide provided a lively and fun commentary during the sailing while pointing out interesting landmarks from the river Thames and highlighting key dates and events from the capital’s history. 

It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon on the Thames, eat, drink and get to know London a bit better. Such a great city!  It last 1 hour so enough for a break in the afternoon - a really special treat!

The Tea

 

2 scones, jam, cream, tea and 1 glass of bubbles
Anything else is extra including water. They cater for special dietary requirements.

Cream Tea prices:
Standard: £16.90
With Champagne: £21.55
With Orange Juice: £18.50

The cream tea cruise departs from London Bridge City Pier at 15:30 and lasts for one hour.  The  London Bridge City Pier is located just off Hays Galleria on the Southbank. Nearest Underground: London Bridge

For further information and to book, please visit https://booking.thamesclippers.com/cream-tea-cruise.html

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary cream tea for review purposes. All views are my own.  Hot&Chilli  believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Traditional Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, London


I have a long love affair with afternoon teas; I just can't get enough of them.  They can be quite sumptuous and so satisfying. Every time I go out for an afternoon tea, it's a real gastronomic adventure. Every single afternoon tea has been an entirely different experience.

My last afternoon tea adventure was at the world famous The Ritz in London. I passed many times in front, side streets and my eyes sparkle at the site every single time. What a good looking imposing building with so much history and so many famous guests since 1906. The Ritz is quintessential London experience and point of reference for all high-end hotels in the world.  

Back in February, perhaps the second best month to book this particular tea- when everyone is still dieting, I was lucky enough to get a table for the evening session at 7.30pm, not quite afternoon but good enough for me!  I heard that can take up months to get a table.

I booked online on their site, but unknown to me it linked to the Bookatable site that took me to an offer.  Traditional Afternoon tea with a glass of champagne 20% discount. Brilliant deal!  Booked!

One must observe the strict dress code thorough out the hotel restaurants and bars at The Ritz hotel.  Dress up is a must!


The Ritz Traditional Afternoon Tea

Traditional Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

The afternoon tea takes place in iconic The Palm Court with beautiful chinaware and silver tea services perfectly complement the opulent room.
A considerable choice of 18 different types of loose-leaf tea is on offer, including a Ritz Royal English tea, an elegant blend of Kenyan, malty Assam and the delicate taste of Ceylon Orange Pekoe.  I enjoyed that immensely together with the champagne!  The service is first class in a kind of friendly way, attentive and not too stuffy.

The food, what can I say, it was a very traditional affair with freshly cut finger sandwiches with six types of filling - The ingredients were quality.  The waiter kept replenishing the plates regularly.  A mouth-watering assortment of cakes and afternoon tea pastries topping the tiered cake stand was followed by warm baked raisin scones with tasty strawberry preserve and heavenly clotted Devonshire cream.  Again, the waiter replenish the sweet plates too! I eat a lot!  After that the waiter came with a trolley full of cakes- yes, more cakes!  I didn't need breakfast the next day.

The refined ambience of tea at The Ritz is complete with musical accompaniment either piano or singer,  when I went It was the turn of Soprano Miranda Heldt signing classical favourites. Truly traditional, and elegant experience!

If you don't find anyone to go with you, it's totally acceptable to go on your own. Single occupancy tables are not frowned upon. In fact that evening I counted five single occupancy tables.

The Ritz Traditional Afternoon Tea, the menu:

Sandwiches:
proper ham country, grain mustard, white bread
Chicken and parsley Mayo
Cream cheese and cucumber dill, caraway bread
Smoked Salmon, lemon butter
Cheese on tomato bread and chutney
Egg and cress on granary

Tea - I had The Ritz blend
Brut champagne

Orange cake with crunchy rice pudding
White Chocolate coconut  mousse filled with passion fruit filling in base nuts and biscuit
Choux pastry with chocolate crumble
Filled with cream and tonka bean Lemon macarons

Warm scones, jam and clotted cream

Cakes trolley:
chocolate coffee hazelnut cake
Rhubarb and ginger tart







Afternoon Tea at The Ritz: Cost: from £50/head
150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
Telephone: +442073002345
Sittings for Afternoon Tea take place at 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30
Offers: https://www.theritzlondon.com/ritz-london-special-offers

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Monday, 22 February 2016

Afternoon Tea at St. Ermin's Hotel in London




Another raining day, another afternoon tea, this time we went to St James, London.  St Ermins Hotel is located just 2 minutes from St James Park station, a stone's throw from St James’s Park, and a good walk from Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly.

It's ideally placed for beautiful city excursions and meetings. You can find in the vicinity the Whitehall, the Big Ben, the Parliament Square, The Cabinet War Rooms, and one-minute walking The  New Scotland Yard.  A very convenient place for a tea-stop and relaxing after touring around London.

This property has links to a fascinating and colourful British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) history during the 30's. The glamorous facade is very welcoming and sets the mood for an excellent experience.


The afternoon tea takes place at The Tea Lounge, which is a wrap-around balcony reachable by a grand staircase just off the spacious main hotel reception area. Timings: from 12 noon and 6 pm. We were met by the Tea Lounge host at the bottom of the stairs. We were taken to our table and greeted by a very smiley server, who explained that the afternoon tea we were about to experience it's the special Mother's day tea.  The tea lounge is airy, white ornated walls, with a classic tables and chairs and carpeted.  There's an outside area, which unfortunately wasn't available it was pouring down with rain.

afternoon tea at St Ermin's Hotel, London

The afternoon  tea

We choose to have the free-flowing champagne afternoon tea - no surprises there. We love champagne!  First glass was not chilled enough but drinkable. The others pourings were much better.  A concise selection of Newby teas we choose to drink chai. 
 



The savouries

A selection of finger sandwiches  and sausage roll
I  am not a fan of sausage rolls, but I must admit those were delightful, thin flaky pastry and slightly spicy textural filling - superb.
The sandwiches were the traditional, run-of-the-mill finger sandwiches:
cucumber, salted beef and mustard,  and salmon caviar.

pastries and other goodies

Strawberry marshmallows - I liked them!
White chocolate with cherry macaron - sweet, flavorful meringue cookies filled with sour cherry ganache 
chocolate and orange Eclair - beautiful choux dough filled with very subtle orange cream and topped with dark chocolate
choux filled with tonka diplomat & strawberry jam
Champagne & Strawberry Jelly - nice boozy luscious jelly

Freshly baked scones

Freshly baked scones
The scones were soft and crumbly in the flavours of sea salt, currants, and cranberries and white chocolate varieties. They were served warm with clotted cream and delicious strawberry jam.  That was real jam!  I liked the sea salt scones; we have another around of those and more jam!


All in all, we had a great time devouring this deliciously classic afternoon tea in a very elegant surroundings, excellent service,  sipping bubbles on a Saturday afternoon! - I can't think of any better way to celebrate Mother's day (UK : Sunday 6th March 2016) at a very reasonable price. Lucky mums! 


The hotel is organising a special Mother's day Afternoon Tea event on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th with a live harpist (called Fausta Canals) and delicious gift for mothers to take home with them. The tea will be  served  in the hotel's crystal ballroom from 12pm - 6pm.

Book your Afternoon Tea online now, or for more information info@caxtongrill.co.uk, or call: +44(0)207 227 7777

Costs(Feb 2016)
Cost: Afternoon Tea £29 | afternoon tea  with free-flowing champagne £39 - Gluten-free @ £35
 St. Ermin's also offer a unique Busy Bees Afternoon Tea for children,  weekends only.

Address
St. Ermin's Hotel, Caxton Street, London SW1H 0QW, London, Great Britain
Nearest underground: St James Park 



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Disclosure: I was a guest of ST Ermins Hotel for a complimentary afternoon tea to review their service and food.  



Monday, 13 July 2015

Chai Party, Indian take on the quintessential British Afternoon Tea

Chai Party

Another supperclub adventure took place last month. This time I was invited to a quirky take on the quintessential British afternoon tea. Chai Party is an Indian inspired fusion supperclub events in London hosted by three Indian-born and London-based food bloggers Nisha, Gayathri and Suchi.  Their mission is to feed and educate the people of London with less known Indian food and drink treasures & experiments from their kitchens.

The setting was the St. Mary’s Church House, The Boltons, in the very upmarket and fashionable Chelsea in London. The girls actually made their second supperclub a very special occasion. The room was decorated with bunting; the table setting was perfect framing for the afternoon tea we were about to have. Plenty of chai tea, so I was in heaven! 

The open kitchen meant that we could see some of the action, hard work and passion they put on the day. Each and every plate was served with so much grace, and we were told the history behind every single dish. 


The guests were charming, at one point I looked around, and I could hear laughter, conversations flowing and lots of chai drinking, a sign of an excellent hosting by the ladies. 


It was a gorgeous afternoon tea, full of distinguished spices and food love.  Highly recommended.  Next event: 26th July  South Indian brunch

Chai Party

 
Lychee Thumka: Iced chai a refreshly tropical start to the afternoon tea and Chakras an extremely popular Indian snack, these rice flour savoury nibbles were served with a sweet tamarind chutney & a fiery coriander one


 Calcutta Chronicles: Tuna fish croquettes, a Kolkata speciality, inspired by the British Raj, served with a tasty and strong mustard chutney, fermented in the sunshine.


 Idhar Udhar: Peas and fenugreek leaves cooked in spices and cream and served in a flaky pastry case, a modern twist on the Indian kachoris
The London Desi: avocado mousse topped with a little tandoori prawn



Madras & More:  Chickpea, freshly grated coconut, lime, chillies, black mustard, curry leaves, urad dal salad inspired by a popular beach snack of Chennai


Masala chai


Rang Birangi: Ribbon sandwiches with Indian chutneys, green: coriander, coconut, tamarind & mint and red: roasted tomatoes,chilli, mustard seeds, fenugreek - I love this, simple and an explosion of flavours. This is Nisha's
childhood memory sandwich
Kamsin Kali:  Spicy chicken mousse on a crispy papri base, inspired by the chaats of India, lovely contrast of textures


Mithi Churi:  Kalakand & mango cheesecake


Kalakand & mango cheesecake, great textured base and fresh silky mango topped with pistachios - It was a hit!


Chikni Chameli: not too sweet and quite elegant rose cupcakes and
Blast from the Past: Parle G (biscuits)  truffles,
Badam Chikki:  Homemade almond brittles (off the picture) 


Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter, Facebook and Pinterest…X
more info: Chai Party

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to throw a traditional British Afternoon Tea party


I was invited by Laura @AboutLondon to attend the filming of VisitLondon Afternoon tea video at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, which has courses on British baking and traditional afternoon tea treats. We whipped a delicious and very light cake, scones, mini lemon curd pies, old fashioned cucumber sandwiches, baked bread and much more! In the end we had a massive feast!

How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party in Your Home
Afternoon tea originates from England, and it was a preserve for the high and mighty. The tea was indeed light, and it was served between 4pm and 6pm. To this date, many people around Britain still celebrate this old tradition. The only difference between now and old days is that nowadays people have afternoon tea in restaurants, hotels and at their homes as opposed to the past when it was only available in palaces and castles. Quite recently,  I learnt how to host a proper afternoon tea party at home.

Getting Started With The Afternoon Tea

The mid-late afternoon is the ideal time for celebrating afternoon tea. It's the gap between lunch and dinner.  On the other hand, confusion still looms between afternoon tea and high tea. Though both teas are celebrated in the afternoon, high tea stands out because it’s a bit heavier and is taken early in the evening usually between 6pm and 7pm. During such gatherings, you should have various flavours of tea including Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Jasmine, orange pekoe, chai, green and peppermint. It is advisable to have the individually packaged tea bags so that your guests can pick their favourite. Besides that, you should have a lot of hot water ready before and during the party, so your guests can top up their cups or teapots as required. 

  Afternoon Tea: the table

An afternoon tea party should embrace style, and that is why you should acquire classic teapots, cups and saucers, cake forks and knives, sandwiches plates and serving trays. In case you don’t have serving trays, you don’t need to worry because you can use large plates and because the cups and sandwiches plates used in the afternoon tea party are somehow small, no one will notice unless, you tell them! So this will be your little sweet secret. To spice up the table, you can go for a varied designs or traditional matching sets. The table should be neatly arranged, and a nice tablecloth laid on top. If you have several tables, you can place three lit candles on each table just to give your party an more atmospheric feel.

  Afternoon Tea: the food

Afternoon tea gets sweeter when taken with snacks such as cakes and scones. Homemade is best!  Try to use fresh and good quality ingredients for better results. Sandwiches, in particular, are so easy to prepare because you only need a few loaves of bread, spreads, smoked salmon, cheeses, and some vegetable toppings. The three traditional sandwiches for an afternoon party are: cucumber, egg and salmon. They should be small, with the crust removed and cut into either fingers, triangles or squares are all popular choices. By all means, have more delicate flavours if you wish.

Pastries sweet and savoury, as well as biscuits are so comforting.  Scones, jam and clotted cream are a must. You can also throw in some cupcakes, simple cakes, fancies, mini tarts and marshmallows just to add variety.  Pending where you are in Britain, you might find local specialities on the table as well. Champagne is quite popular nowadays. A bubbly always brings a touch of glamour to any occasion. 


 Making bread

Making scones

the lightest cake batter


Champagne  Afternoon Tea



freshly made egg sandwiches and cheese and chives scones

 cucumber sandwiches and simple delightful cake

Scones and homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream

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Here is the beautiful video from VisitLondon:


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