I have been very lucky, over the last few months, to be one of a group of bloggers who get together for afternoon tea in some of the most lovely hotels in London. Today it was the turn of the Milestone Hotel - a 5 star boutique hotel in Kensington. I prepared myself for a sumptuous tea and headed off on the train ...
Walking into the luxurious surroundings of the Milestone I was greeted with smiles and friendly staff who directed me to our private room - The Windsor. I knew that I had come to the right place because of the hubbub of blogger voices and friendly laughter! Although a tad hot and flustered from my journey I soon relaxed when met by the smiling face of Selena from Oh, the places we will go! and of course the chilled champagne helped too!
We were looked after by a couple of very helpful staff who came round offering us either Earl Grey or English Breakfast Tea. I chose the English Breakfast, but it would have been nice to have rather more of a choice and I prefer to have my own pot rather than be served. At other places we have had a choice of all sorts - Assam, Darjeeling, Chamomile, Peppermint and so on, but the tea was hot and wet so that's fine. I'm sure if I'd asked for something else it would have been available.
I had tried to download the Afternoon Tea menu from the hotel website, but had been unable to do so, so I was excited to see what delights would be on offer. There was no menu on the table, but when asked the waiter told us about the sandwiches and cakes on offer.
The tea was very traditional. On our three tier stand were crustless finger sandwiches with various fillings - smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg and cress (delicious!), cheese and tomato and ham and mustard. They were very tasty, but if I'm honest nothing to really write home about. The bread, in places, had the very slight dryness about it that told me it wasn't absolutely fresh. I also prefer my ham cut from a joint as you can see in the ham gougere from a visit to a different place - rather than "plastic ham" found in the sandwiches today. This really disappointed me. I certainly wouldn't buy ham like that and I was surprised to find it at the Milestone.
|The Milestone ham sandwich|
|Ham gougere from ... another hotel.|
Next we began the homemade scones with jam and clotted cream. They were warm, which is lovely, and quite crispy on the outside. I'm not sure if the hotel quite realised how much we bloggers like our jam and cream as we ran out a couple of times and had to ask for more. Even then I felt a bit cheated.
The cakes on the top tier looked gorgeous - pretty and dainty.
Our favourites were the lemon meringue mille feuilles and the cheesecake with mango. I couldn't resist the pink macaroon with vanilla filling either!
Sadly the chef did not come out to meet us, which was a shame. It has always been a real highlight to meet the team who have worked to create the food and some chefs continue to tweet our little team as we do our best to sample every tea in town!! Its a good idea to meet us because we are writing about their service and any info they can give to impress us is great, after all we are potentially giving a hotel free publicity!!
I wandered off for a nosy at one point and saw the main hotel tea rooms which looked gorgeous. It would have been lovely to sit in such beautiful surroundings, but the Windsor was very smart and comfortable and we did need a private room for our group.
All in all I left the hotel having had a nice time. It was good to see the girls again and the tea was pretty good. But it wasn't great and it certainly wasn't outstanding. I hate to give negative reviews, but I like to be honest and although I received a discounted rate I still paid £30 for my tea. I think that if I had paid over £40 which is what they usually charge I would have been very disappointed. The tea lacked imagination, fell down on quality in places and the service was good, but not excellent. One shouldn't have to ask for more milk, more jam, more cream (and I am not a greedy person, let me point out) and there should be a menu available so you can see what's on offer. I still can't open the one on the hotel website.
I would rate this Afternoon Tea at 6/10.