The Dorchester is a very famous and beautiful 1930s hotel on Park Lane so we had high hopes for our tea here. It's best to book early for this hotel, as afternoon tea is very popular here.
First impressions were excellent the tea is served in The Promenade, an elegant lounge area where you can have tea while watching the hotel guests walk past you to the lobby. It is an attractive and comfortable setting, decorated with beautiful flowers, and the pianist was far enough away to be pleasant but not annoying!
The tea menu is rather short and limited, which is disappointing when you consider the price and the reputation of the Dorchester. There were only 24 teas, 3 of which required a supplement of £3, and 6 of which were caffeine free/fruit teas. The only Darjeeling required a supplement, and there was no white tea. Caroline chose the Assam – not as full as some, Charlotte the Sencha – not the best in her opinion, and Mo had the Dorchester Blend – a perfectly good afternoon tea. The waiters insist on pouring the tea for you which we find a bit irritating, plus the tables were quite small so two of us had to have our teapots on a stand which we couldn't reach. We had refills when we asked for them but overall we were a little disappointed. 23/30
The sandwiches were not on the stand but were served by the waiter from a serving platter, so you could choose which you had. There were five to choose from: cucumber with caraway bread; smoked salmon with granary bread; egg with white bread; chicken with honey and mustard; and ham with tomato bread. They were consistently good, well filled and very tasty. We were offered refills of everything, and the waiter didn't want to take no for an answer. 29/30
We were then served an unadvertised mint chocolate mousse (palate cleanser?) which was pleasant enough but we weren’t sure why it was there or what it added to our meal.
The scones were good. Served warm with clotted cream and jam, they were a good size with a nice shine on the top. There was one fruit and one plain each and we were offered refills. The jams, rhubarb and angelica, and strawberry, were the best we have had at a tea. 26/30
The cakes were all very stylish and attractive but slightly disappointing as they were all cream or mousse based and the only actual cake was coffee, which two of us don’t like. Mango and coconut mousse, passion fruit and dark chocolate tart, rhubarb panacotta, coffee and walnut caked and raspberry macarons. They were all made well, although none of us liked the mango and coconut mousse because it was so sweet. We were again offered refills, but it didn't really make up for the lack of variety and the overall sickly creaminess of the dessert course. 22/30
The atmosphere of The Dorchester was lovely. A very elegant setting, lovely Limoges crockery, and despite the time limit, we weren't hurried out or rushed in any way, and we were able to relax and have a leisurely tea. The service was friendly if a little erratic, and it did get annoying trying to find a waiter every time we wanted to pour a cup of tea. Overall though, we all enjoyed our experience and would be happy to come here again. The price is expensive but it is definitely value for money for a special occasion.
Elegant, relaxed ambience The tea selection was disappointing
Good quality of food Lack of variety in the cakes
Sandwiches especially good Waiting staff were hard to find
8.5 out of 10