Bubbles & Battenberg: A beautiful afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental

Afternoon tea, my favourite quintessentially English tradition. For me, an ultimate indulgence, and it doesn’t get much better than the way it’s served at the Mandarin Oriental’s Rosebery Lounge. Joining me on this Sunday afternoon was my best friend Chantelle who had managed to unshackle herself from her two young boys for a few hours in-order for us to have a much needed catch up.

Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental is taken in the delightful Rosebery Lounge; a smartly decorated modern looking lounge with sunken chairs and ambient side lamps. They even had very chic looking table hooks on which to hang my handbag. Impressive!

On taking our seats, we were offered small hot white towels infused with scents of Mandarin and smells reminiscent of Christmas to refresh our hands. They smelt delightful and got us in to the pre-Christmas spirit!

Our selected afternoon tea menu promises us a glass Champagne on arrival, so we begin with a glass of Ruinart Rose, which is pinkish gold in colour with a subtle fruity flavour and hints of rosehip and strawberry.

Our first course consisted of the most delightful selection of hand-crafted finger sandwiches. Each sandwich resembled a sushi roll and consisted of a plethora of fillings, including slow roasted organic chicken, black trumpets and buttered corn, Cotswold egg and black truffle, smoked salmon tartare, tarragon and compressed Granny Smith apple, pancetta, mustard cress and marinated tomatoes, Portland crab, crayfish, curry mayonnaise, coriander and carrot and finally my personal favourite, goats cheese, caramelised onions and butternut squash.

To accompany the sandwiches, we had the pleasure of enjoying the lightest, most fragrant Jasmine and Green tea. Both tea and sandwiches were unlimited, and our friendly waiter was more than happy to keep topping us up!

Like myself, Chantelle has a bit of a sweet tooth and is partial to the odd cake or two so, we were eagerly awaiting the sweets.

Our second course comprised of a selection of scones and  handmade pastries, including chocolate and tonka entremet, berry and vanilla trifle, mint and lime chiffon roll, St. Honore cappuccino, and Bramley apple snack bar.

Cascading down a two-tiered cake stand, this delightfully sweet offering is as delicious as it looks in the photos.

The scones were accompanied by clotted cream a triple ensemble of preserves – lemon curd, strawberry and the most delicate-tasting rose petal jelly, which aimed to connect and fuse the Mandarin’s Asian heritage and Chinese culture, to the more traditional afternoon tea.

I found the Battenberg to have an interesting combination of textures. With white chocolate on the outside, it was delightfully sweet with flavours of lemon zest coming through. The sponge was soft and delicate with raspberry coulis on top. Overall it had just the right amount of sweetness, not sickly-sweet as with some Battenberg cakes I have tasted in the past.

Chantelle didn’t think she’d be able to eat a whole Battenberg, but she managed!

The Mandarin definitely knows how to do a sponge. The blackberry sponge and the mint and lime chiffon roll had the softest sponge, and was melt-in-the-mouth delicious!

The strawberry triangle reminded me of my primary school days: a sophisticated version of a strawberry Cornetto with a moreish biscuit crumb! Delightfully playful, the thin red top layer is actually white chocolate, and topped off with fresh strawberries. Yum.

Champagne afternoon-tea at the Mandarin Oriental was a blissful way to wind down after a busy week, and to catch-up with friends in a relaxed atmosphere. The tea, pastries and sandwiches were all lovely, and the handmade touches were the icing on the cake, literally! The service was second to none, and combined with the fact that you can refill your tea, sandwiches and cake repeatedly makes it well worth the money. I would definitely recommend.

The Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA

About Josephine Ellis

London born and bred, Jo is always on the lookout for newly opened bars and restaurants in the city. She is most fond of restaurants with interesting menus and unusual décor. When she’s not eating food or Instagramming it, Jo can be found in her new kitchen baking banana bread with a cocktail in her hand.

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