Monday, 29 September 2014

Festive Afternoon Tea at The Conrad Hotel ... A Scrumptious Treat!

There are days that come along sometimes and fill you with joy. Days that feel like Christmas did when you were a child. Yesterday was a day like that. The sun was shining and people were sitting in deck chairs in Green Park as I strolled along in my summer dress, but before long I could have been back in my childhood, opening presents under a Christmas tree, full of excitement for the goodies to come and sharing the pleasure with good friends.

I had been invited to the Conrad London St James with a group of bloggers, continuing our mission to find the perfect Afternoon Tea. We have been sampling the delights, and sometimes not so delightful delights, of London hotels over the last year or so. Yesterday was the turn of the Conrad as they unveiled, or should I say unwrapped, their Festive Tea.

I could as well come straight out with it, rather than teasing you ... this tea was simply the best I've ever had.... in every way. From the moment I entered the Conrad the staff were kind, attentive and friendly. They met us with champagne and couldn't do enough for us.

I settled myself down and began an afternoon of chat and laughter and general shameless indulgence! Instead of my usual PG Tips I chose Vanilla Black from the extensive list of teas. The waiter informed me that it could be taken with milk, but that he recommended it black as it was so delicious. He was right! I did, and it was.

Next the tea stand arrived, accompanied by Zoe Wager, Executive Pastry Chef at Conrad St James. She was the creative genius behind the Festive Tea and she explained both the scrumptious tea and the inspiration behind it.

Zoe Wager - Executive Pastry Chef
Now ... you may, like me, not be a huge fan of Brussel Sprouts, but I promise you that this tea will change your mind. "Brussel Sprouts??!!" I hear you gasp. Yes. To be more precise Brussel Sprout shots. Simply one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted ... a mousse of Brussel Sprout with light goat's cheese, topped with a tiny sprout salad and a bacon shard. Oh - My - Lord!! To die for.

Zoe has tried to incorporate all the flavours of Christmas into the Conrad's imaginative and fun-filled take on Afternoon Tea. With the Brussel Sprout Shots comes a tiny Venison Pie and a Turkey Ballotine with a spoon of Cranberry ...bursts of flavour.

Next came the sandwich layer ...

smoked salmon & lemon creme fraiche
beetroot & spinach
cured gammon & mustard
They were all lovely, soft and full of flavour, but the beetroot sandwich was my favourite.
And then ... SCONES!

freshly baked orange & cranberry scone
Christmas spice scone
Devonshire clotted cream, home made strawberry jam, blackberry curd
Everybody loves a scone and these were soft, warm and tasty with ( Thank Goodness, because some places can be a tad stingey) LOTS of clotted cream and jam. Yum.

By this time I was feeling quite full and settled back on the sofa as I would after my Christmas Lunch. Things were going pretty well and then the strains of Let it Snow! came drifting across the room, played on a full size harp. Oh Good Grief ... I wondered if it could get any better. Surely only the first snow of winter would make this more heavenly?

Well, you won't believe this, but even though it didn't snow ( that would have been verging on the ridiculous...) it did get better. A flurry of staff emerged carrying the piece de resistance -  a beautiful snow scene, complete with meringue snowmen, edible snow and a winter berry Christmas tree. All of this was enclosed in a glass cloche ... just beautiful and, it turns out, de-licious.

I cannot recommend this tea highly enough. I paid a slightly discounted rate, but it is available for £37 per person or £45 per person with free flowing Laurent Perrier champagne. I think that this is remarkable value when you consider the imagination that has gone into creating this Festive Tea, along with the superb service and absolute deliciousness of the fare.

The staff at the Conrad are so knowledgeable and friendly - able to tell us how the chocolate is sprayed onto the Christmas trees, about the teas we could choose from - and the hotel also laid on some tasty looking vegetarian and Gluten free options.

If you are looking for a special treat in the lead up to Christmas then this would be a place to head for. The Festive Tea is available from the 24th November and I am thinking of taking along my husband and boys so we can have a Christmas memory that will leave us feeling rather lovely. Thank you Chef Zoe and all the staff at the Conrad! I may sound a bit gushy today, but yesterday I was in Heaven!!


Dannielle Smith said...

I loved every bit of it as well, I now want to get a job in creating afternoon teas! Mmmm brussels mousse

Sarah Pellew said...

It was great wasn't it? And I loved the Story of Your Gorgeous Purple Hair too!!! x

Emma Julia said...

It sounds wonderful!!

Sunny London said...

Absolutely brilliant! I'm always excited to see everyone's perspective on an event. Loved the collages & sandwich close-ups! Hope to see you at the next tea as well :-)

Sarah Pellew said...

Hi Emma! It was! x

Hello Melanie! Thanks so much! I am very much looking forward to the next one, although they will have to work hard to beat the Conrad. x

Shikha (whywasteannualleave) said...

Lovely write up and it was great to meet you! Completely agree about the Brussels sprouts thing - but after this tea, I'll DEFINITELY never be able to eat a conventional sprout again!

helloitsgemma said...

this is lovely, I am very keen on an afternoon tea, the idea of a tour of teas is wonderful to me!

Kelly Michelle said...

It was a truly magical afternoon tea and I hope you do take your babies along as I think it will be a beautiful christmas memory that you all will cherish. xx