I’ve recently realised how much fun afternoon tea can be and according to the history books, I’ve got Palm Court at The Langham Hotel to thank for my new penchant. The initial idea was that of Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who wanted a meal to stave off her hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. However, as the first hotel to serve Afternoon Tea, The Langham brought the idea to the masses; the cream of Victorian society would gather to enjoy the indulgent splendours offered by Palm Court and is thus famed as the place where Afternoon Tea was born.
The whole hotel has undergone a bit of a makeover of late to give it an altogether more contemporary look. Palm Court has also been brought into the modern era but with due reverence to its fine heritage. The magnificent room marries traditionally luxurious deep reds and royal blues and plush fabrics with sparkly crystal chandeliers, big mirrors and silvery walls. It may have a formal look to it, but on the Saturday afternoon of our visit, Palm Court was alive with couples and lively groups all revelling in the relaxed atmosphere and the mellow tones of the live piano.
Palm Court is a place to see and be seen in, but it also keeps true to its roots by serving one of London’s finest afternoon teas. Delicate sandwiches are made on the softest of bread with a satisfyingly layer of butter and include tomato with cream cheese & chive and beef with mustard. Delectable pastries include mini-éclairs and Bakewell tarts whilst the scones are simply outstanding; they were so fresh and warm that we didn’t even need a knife to cut them in half and the rich Devonshire clotted cream gently started to melt as we began eating them.
Accompanied by a glass of Champagne and some delicious blends of tea in cups that looked like they cost more than my house, this was truly a great way to spend an afternoon in London.
Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
Price: £33/head or £42 with a glass of Champagne
The Langham, London
1c Portland Place
London W1B 1JA
Tel: 020 7965 0195