I was introduced to ‘The Dorchester’ at age of 18. When I say introduced, I mean me and the hubby dearest went to London for a weekend to his aunt’s house, and she took us for a tour, one of the stops was here. And when I say stops I mean we parked outside and saw the hotel.
At that point in time, all I knew was that a cup of tea here was £30 (I’m assuming now that they were talking about afternoon tea), as I could hear aunt saying to her husband ” I’m still waiting for my cup of tea here,” and him replying “Well keep waiting, only silly people pay £30 for a cup of tea, and it’ll be English tea anyway, we won’t Evan like it”.
£30 for a cup of tea! It fascinated me, I needed to know more. At a time when minimum wage was £4.10 an hour, how were people affording this? And what was this place? I needed to know what this tea looked like, the colour, what it came in, the taste, the smell….Those yellow patio umbrellas stuck in my mind forever.
For a long time The Dorchester wasn’t mentioned, being an avid reader I stumbled upon Jackie Collins ‘Hollywood’ collection of books, I’m not sure which book it was, but on a few occasions, London and The Dorchester Hotel were mentioned within the book itself, once again the memory of the yellow parosols etched in my head.
Then 2009 came- the year of Britney Spears, and all across papers were pictures of Britney Spears walking in and out of The Dorchester. It was then that I knew The Dorchester was out of my league. It was a world for the celebrities. And a dream for a call centre worker (at that time).
My time came. December 2017. We booked ourselves in for Afternoon tea at “The Dorchester”. The excitement was real. My hubby who obviously has gone after his uncle was in disbelief that we would pay £70 for tea, but for me it was a dream come true. I was going to the place where Britney spears walks in and out, Jackie Collins had inspiration for her famous novels, where Brad and Angelina stay on visits to London. Where J.K.Rowling accepted her award for “Outstanding Achievement” for South Bank Show Awards. It was all so surreal. Giddy with excitement we wondered if we would meet any celebrities…
By we i mean Katija and Sabina and also we didn’t see any celebrities, but we did have a fantastic time. We arrived half hour early and were told to have a seat just outside the Promenade- perfect. The exact time we needed to take photos.
After exactly half hour we were shown to our table
The whole look and atmosphere was lavish, soft padded luxurious carpets as we walked down, every few feet a beautiful Christmas tree, draping curtains from ceiling to floors, beautifully decorated urns full of Evan more beautiful flowers. All the way down to soft padded comfortable seating. The atmosphere oozed with luxury.
Being Christmas time, it was the festive champagne afternoon tea, however on pre-booking we had advised that we do not drink alcohol therefore the champagne was not needed, and also we opted for the halal menu. They met our requirements kindly. Instead of champagne they gave us a non alcoholic festive berries mocktail.
For teas the variety was immense, I remember just reading and reading, I’m sure there were several pages full of various different kinds of teas, and we spent some time, scratching our heads to figure out what we wanted. In the end we settled for ‘ The Dargeeling’ and ‘Vanilla infused tea’ (the simplest ones) both of which were perfect having come from the freezing cold outside.
For sandwiches we were given an option of : (wait for it- this is long….) Montgomery cheddar and green onion on a caraway bread. (Cheese and onion basically). Smoked salmon, lemon balm, English wasabi, and avacado mayonnaise on malted grain bread (we will call this the salmon one). Baby cucumber and apple minted cream cheese on walnut bread (cucumber sandwich), and lastly Turkey, sage,and onion stuffing with mustard mayonnaise on an onion bread. (Turkey sandwich!) And no afternoon tea is complete without warm raisin scones, homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.
The difference between this afternoon tea, and afternoon teas anywhere else is that rather than it the food coming on a tiered stand – we had a Butler (Aaaaahhhhhhhh! that is what you call them? Isn’t it? , I wanted to take a photo of him, but felt it was rude to ask. 🙄)He Came with the sandwiches on a tray and we would say which ones we wanted. He would come every time he saw our plates empty, so sandwich’s were basically limitless. Initially this was really nice, “we have our own Butler (na na na na na).” After a little while we felt claustrophobic, like someone standing on top of us, everytime he came out, our conversation stopped. I don’t think it was a bad thing- I just think we are not use to that kind of attention.
Our Afternoon tea experience ended with a selection of desserts and pastries- this did come on a tiered stand
These petite desserts were so beautifully decorated, all dressed for the festive month. From cheesecake, the chocolate tart, to the santa cupcake, it was devoured instantly.
And to top it all off, our left overs were brought back in a presentable bag to take home.
When it comes to Afternoon teas- this is on the dearer side of the market, yet it is definately the most memorable afternoon tea ever. It does not get any better than this. The service was amazing, location cannot get any better, and food was very filling and tasty. It ticks all the boxes of an afternoon tea experience.
Hope you enjoyed my post as much as we enjoyed the experience.
To more afternoon teas….(glasses clink)