With the advent of autumn starting to limit outdoor activities, the appeal of afternoon tea is sure to increase. That’s why Prêt-á-Portea at Knightsbridge’s Berkeley Hotel is a fashionable treat I can definitely recommend.
As the name suggests, it’s themed around the latest catwalk collections which in my case meant a fabulous chocolate handbag inspired by Miu Miu and a shoe-shaped biscuit designed to reflect a Christian Louboutin spike heel in turquoise. This and many more bite-size accessories were served on afternoon tea china exclusively designed by Paul Smith, one of the many touches that make the experience so special.
Not least of these is the service which was impeccable from the minute we walked into the Caramel Room at the Berkeley. Our waiter explained how it worked, what we’d be getting and checked any dietary requirements for the savoury section before pouring the champagne. That is of course an optional extra for afternoon tea, but not opting for it wasn’t an option in such a wonderful setting.
The savoury selection arrived and we realised it included a mini chicken bagel. We reminded our waiter that we didn’t eat meat and it was quickly replaced, but he also brought us an extra glass of champagne to apologise. It wasn’t expected and possibly not the best idea with Oxford Street holiday shopping on the agenda for later, but it was such a nice gesture it seemed rude to refuse.
Next came the realisation that the food was unlimited, so another round of our favourite savouries were ordered before moving on to the pièce de résistance, the cake selection. They were almost too good to eat, but after a suitable amount of admiration and photography we worked our way through the entire selection.
Then we ordered more of our favourite cakes, as well as finally moving from drinking champagne to tea. We didn’t realise that those favourites would also be added to a handbag-shaped take home carton, so the experience didn’t even end when we left the hotel.
The only downside was how long it took to find an available slot to book, but that’s because its popular which is also a good thing. The price at £41 per person also probably isn’t the cheapest afternoon tea in London, but I’d guess it’s one of the best and it does make a great gift. I had it as a birthday present from my team and it was definitely very much appreciated.
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