Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Afternoon Tea Review - The Waldorf, London

Afternoon Tea Review - The Waldorf, £26 with a voucher

The Waldorf Hilton is in the heart of London's theatreland, close to Covent Garden. It opened in 1908 and is one of the capital's most glamorous and historic hotels.

The afternoon tea is served in its main restaurant, decorated in gold and black, and in the room next to it, which is decorated in marble with mirrors, and serves as a tea dance area.  We were in the second room, which was light and airy, and a lovely setting for our tea.  It was surprisingly quiet, we had expected them to be a lot busier, although we were at the last setting for afternoon tea before they changed over to dinner service. 

The teas were loose leaf Twinings varieties, although there was a signature Waldorf Blend, which Mo had.  Caroline chose the Mighty Assam, and Charlotte had the Jasmine Petals and Pearls.  We felt the selection was quite limited for somewhere like the Waldorf, as there were only 12 teas in total.  Also, we were surprised they had chosen Twinings, which was fine but not very interesting.  We were offered refills though, so had plenty of tea.  22/30

There were five types of sandwich: smoked salmon and cream cheese on brown bread; ham and mustard on onion bread; egg and watercress on basil bread; tomato and cheese on Mediterranean bread; and cheese and cucumber on carrot bread.  We weren’t told up front that we could have refills but saw another table having them, and asked about it.  Refills of all the courses were available if we wanted any.  We all enjoyed the sandwiches, they was a good selection and we particularly liked that the breads had been made to complement the fillings.  The depth of filling was occasionally a little erratic, but as refills were available, this wasn't really an issue.  27.5/30

We were given two chocolate scones, three plain, and one fruit.  They had a nice flavour but were a bit stodgy and chewy, although the chocolate ones were slightly better.  It seemed a bit strange that with three types available, we weren't given equal numbers, or offered a choice  24/30

There was a lot of variety in the cakes, and they all looked lovely.  We had: chocolate mousse; coffee and walnut cake; Eton mess shortcake; pannacotta with green tea and passionfruit; chocolate and hazelnut éclair; fruit meringue; coconut and pineapple cake; and a layered raspberry cake.  It was a very good selection, which covered a large range of patisserie items.  There was also a good variety of flavours and a nice balance between fruit flavours and richer, chocolate ones.  28/30

Although the tea is advertised as having a limited session time, we weren't hurried by the staff at any point, and we spent a very leisurely and enjoyable time there.  The only downside was that the room we were in was just off the main room, so it was occasionally difficult to find any staff when we needed something.  This wasn't helped by the fact that they started setting the main room for dinner towards the end of our session, so the staff were all busy elsewhere.  This was our only real quibble, and apart from that, we very much enjoyed ourselves. 

This is definitely a special occasion tea, as the grandeur of the setting is impressive and helps to make the tea feel special.  The Waldorf also hold regular tea dances in these rooms, though if you can dance after all the tea and cake, we'd be impressed.  At the full price of £38.50 for afternoon tea (£47.50 with champagne) we do feel it's value for money, but at £26 it is easily be our preferred tea at this price range, which is why (for the first time, oooooh!) we have given two scores below.

Pros                                                         Cons
Good quality food                              Basic Tea selection
Beautiful setting                                 Staff were occasionally hard to find
Relaxed atmosphere          

Score with a voucher/deal:             

9 out of 10

Score at full price:

8.5 out of 10

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