There is no denying that the Sofitel St James is a very special place.
During my first visit, whilst strolling through the grandeur, I walked past The Rose Lounge. I was so intrigued – I knew I needed to return for a proper visit. The Rose Lounge is a beautifully feminine venue with a French twist – the walls are veiled with tapestries and there are rosy hued chandeliers on the ceiling.
I knew after a long day pounding the streets of London, there is nothing that I would like more than to recline on their comfy sofas and munch on some sandwiches and cakes. With winter in full bloom, this is definitely going to perk up the spirits and warm the cockles of your heart after a day of Christmas shopping – which often vexes me to say the least.
My friend and I sat down and decided we needed to sample the ‘Le Tea en Rose’. Everything sounded so fragrant and elegant – it definitely matched our surroundings.
To starts things off, I did something I never do and ordered a tea rather than coffee. This is where I really start to question my English roots as I often think I am the only person who does not really care for tea. However, the charming waiter showed us through their extensive tea collection and I found one that really caught my eye.
I ordered the ‘Rose Buds’ tea and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was when it was served to me. It was quite difficult to stifle my girly squeal. The rose buds are air dried to preserve their colour and perfume and it results in this delicate, rose-tasting tea. We are not talking old soapy floral flavours that you might remember from your childhood sweet shop, just a delicate fragrance that gently tickles those olfactory senses. This was a joy and our waiter was great in making sure it never ran dry. My friend opted for the White tea Passion de Fleurs, which offered the same rose flavour but with additional apricot and passion fruit.
After our teas, it was time to tuck in to the sandwiches and scones.
These were presented on a beautiful plate and they also offered vegetarian options for my friend. Our sandwiches consisted of the classics – salmon and cucumber, egg and mayonnaise, goat’s cheese, chicken and salad – all the bases were covered! They were delicate and although they were very tasty, they were light enough for us to enjoy the scones on the side.
The scones were utterly delightful and one of the standouts of the afternoon. You could tell they were freshly made – none of that dry doughy flavour that can often be associated with scones.
We had to order more of these as we got through them in no time! We had plain scones, raisin scones and chocolate chip scones – the latter definitely being the favourite. These came served with clotted cream (of course), lemon curd and a rose-infused raspberry jam. I would come back for this platter alone
We were quite full at this point so decided to have a little break and enjoy a glass of champagne. Of course this champagne was in keeping with the theme, so it was doused with rose syrup. This rose sat beautifully with the crisp champagne – even though my friend is rarely a champagne drinker (which is something I find hard to comprehend) she really enjoyed it.
It is no secret amongst my friends and family, that macarons are the way to my heart. I was obviously gleeful when our waiter presented us with rose macarons. These were so chewy and delicate, the best surprise in my book.
With my sweet tooth ignited, my friend and I perused the cake and patisserie selection. Everything was so beautiful, it was genuinely a really difficult decision to narrow down what we wanted – there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch.
My friend had the passion fruit cheese cake slice – I also had my eyes on this, so I manged to sneak a taste. This was sweet and creamy but the citrus from the passion fruit provided that slightly acidic kick so that it wasn’t a sweetness overload.
She also ordered the plum and pecan tarte which I have to say was gone so fast I didn’t have time to sample as she ate it so quickly. Clearly her favourite of the afternoon.
I spied the raspberry macarons so it was a no brainer that I was going to have to get this. This was my number one favourite of the day. The macaron was just as delicate as the ones we had had earlier, but they were larger (the more macaron the merrier) and they were served with fresh raspberries and a raspberry and rose cream. It is as wonderful as it sounds – this one must be tried.
Keeping up with the raspberry theme, I had the raspberry and rose choux bun, the moment I bit into it the cream spilled out of the sides – totally glorious. I am so glad I have now found a venue in London where my raspberry and rose addiction can be catered to.
Lastly, my friend and I shared the banoffee éclair.
We had obviously had quite a sweet-filled afternoon, so the ever-so-slightly bitter coffee aroma rounded everything off beautifully. There really wasn’t a bad cake or pastry in sight – I will have to be back for more.
I want to thank Rose Lounge for such a fantastic afternoon. I cannot think of a better place to sit down and relax in the warmth – especially in these cold December days – and drink fragrant tea and eat sandwiches, scones and pastries galore. Our waiter was so kind and made sure we were never left wanting. It was a special way to spend an afternoon.
The Rose Lounge
Sofitel St. James, 6 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AN