Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Afternoon Tea Review - Hotel Rafayel, Chocolate afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea Review - Hotel Rafayel, Chocoholics afternoon tea, £35 for two

The Hotel Rafayel is situated alongside the River Thames and the  restaurant on the ground floor is next to the river so it's a lovely setting for afternoon tea on a nice summer day.  Being in Battersea though, means it's not that easy to get to.  Also, there is a helipad a few yards away, so the afternoon was occasionally interrupted by the noise of a helicopter landing or taking off.
We usually don't go to themed afternoon teas as we prefer to review places based on the quality of their traditional afternoon tea.  However, there are so many themed teas around that we thought it was about time we tried one, and a chocolate afternoon tea seemed like a good place to start.  We had a discount voucher and invited honorary tea lady Rebecca to join us and make the tealadies a nice even four.

We arrived and were seated at a table next to the window, looking out over the river.  The chocoholics afternoon tea includes a choice of chocolate martini or a glass of prosecco.  In keeping with the theme, we all chose the chocolate martini.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a coffee martini.  Two of us can't stand coffee so had to swap it for the prosecco.  The two of us that do like coffee, ended up wishing they'd had the prosecco, as the martinis were unbearably sweet and didn't taste remotely of chocolate.  

The teas were from the London Tea Company, which we've had several times before.  Mo had the Assam, Charlotte had the White Tea with Elderflower and Apricot, Caroline had the Rooibos with Nutmeg and Vanilla, and Rebecca had the English Breakfast.  They were all tea bags, nice but great, and we got a pot of hot water when we asked.  However, getting the tea took some time.  For some reason, possibly because we already had cocktails, we weren't given the tea menus immediately.  We eventually asked for them but then had to wait for some time before the waitress came back to take our order.  Due to the small size of the table, we ended up balancing the menus on our laps while we were eating our sandwiches.  We didn't actually get our teas until we had started on the scones, which none of us were very happy about. 20/30

The sandwiches were less dainty and more doorstop.  There were four different ones with either brown or white bread: chicken mayonnaise; smoked salmon and dill; ham and mustard; and cucumber and cream cheese.  The fillings were all good but the bread was cut extremely thickly.  The sandwiches were presented on a separate plate rather than on the cake stand, probably because they wouldn't have been able to fit on one.  There were no refills but due to the size of the sandwiches, quantity wasn't really an issue.  18/30

The scones were medium sized and there was one fruit and one plain per person.  According to the menu, they came with cream and a 'selection of jams or chocolate praline spread'.  Our scones came with cream and strawberry jam.  For a chocoholics afternoon tea, so far there had been a surprising lack of chocolate.  The scones themselves were fairly average in taste and texture, fine but nothing special.  The jam was also fine, and we got more cream when we asked for it.  22/30
Again according to the menu, the cake stand 'overflows with chocolate goodies such as homemade cakes and miniature chocolate fancies'.  We had one chocolate macaron.  Between four of us.  There were also large slices of carrot cake and a creamy lemon gateau, as well as pistachio and coffee macarons and some miniature tarts with and indistinguishable filling, possibly something fruity.  They were all fairly good in quality, although the selection was poor and the appearance could have been better.  Our main issue was the lack of chocolate.  18/30

This particular afternoon tea had a fourth course, which was a chocolate fondue with strawberries and marshmallows to dip in it.  This was easily the best part of the meal, although there were also a few problems here.  Firstly, the chocolate was very strong and dark so if you don't like dark chocolate (which Rebecca doesn't), this wouldn't be very pleasant.  Secondly, it meant there were 3 sweet courses to one savoury.  Thirdly, afternoon tea really doesn't need to have a fourth course.  Sandwiches, scones and cakes are all very filling, so adding a fourth course means there's far too much food.  We left several of the scones, and the hotel gave us boxes to take home some of the cakes we couldn't manage to eat, which was great but not really the point of an afternoon tea. 

Overall, this was a disappointing experience.  We expected a lot more from a 'chocoholics' themed tea, especially considering the descriptions on the menu.  Apart from one chocolate macaron and the chocolate fondue, there was no chocolate in this tea.  The chocolate martini was a misnomer, the chocolate and praline spread for the scones was invisible and there wasn't even a slice of chocolate cake.  In addition to this, the service was friendly but erratic, we had to wait ages for our tea and the menu advertised the standard price as £35 for two, which made our discount voucher completely pointless.

On the plus side, the food was decent quality, the lemon and carrot cakes in particular were very nice.  Also, the quantity of food we received, as well as the martini/prosecco, definitely gave us value for money.  So, if you are thinking of going for this particular tea, go for the prosecco, don't expect much chocolate, and remember you can take some of the food away with you.

Pros                                                                              Cons
Nice Setting                                                               Awful Martini
Good Fondue                                                            Lack of Chocolate
Value for Money                                                      Inconsistent Service


6 out of 10


  1. this looks absolutely amazing!! i can only recommend the hotel la tour afternoon tea in birmingham, if you ever go that way (not that there's not enough places in london to check out haha)

  2. So many afternoon teas, so little time!

  3. Just saying thanks wouldn’t just be enough, for the fantastic fluency in your writing. compare hotel prices website