I love an afternoon tea. Nothing feels more indulgent than tiny sandwiches, dainty cakes and scones in the middle of the afternoon, so I was excited about sampling The Coral Room Sparkling Afternoon Tea. Nestled inside the Bloomsbury Hotel, The Coral Room is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of central London, and definitely a sight for sore eyes. The décor is bold and sumptuous, with huge chandeliers, velvet cushions and a fabulous shade of pink on the walls. We were a little bit early, so sat at the beautifully styled bar while our table was being prepared, watching a series of cocktails being shaken and served by the talented bar staff. We were lucky enough to get a corner booth by the window, which not only gave us a gorgeous view of the restaurant, but also allowed us to people watch in comfort. There was a fire going in the opposite corner, (still sadly required even in June), and high ceilings gave the whole place an opulent feel.
Our waitress talked us through the variety of sandwiches, cakes and scones and after ordering, we were very quickly sipping on a refreshing glass of prosecco. The presentation of everything was lovely, and even though there were a number of other tables around us, the atmosphere was relaxed and peaceful. The savoury options were delicious – everything you expect from an afternoon tea sandwich, but with a little twist. The smoked salmon & lemon crème fraiche was served on a slice of Guinness bread which supplied a perfect hint of sweetness to the sharpness of the lemon crème fraiche. The devilled egg mayonnaise had some mustard in (I think) which gave it a bit of a kick and the coronation chicken was spicy and creamy and definitely a favourite. Personally I would recommend eating the marinated cucumber and cream cheese sandwich last, as it provided the perfect palate cleanser before diving into the scones and cakes!
I’m never sure of what order you’re supposed to do the scones and cakes in, but we went for the scones as they were warm and smelled freshly baked. After a long discussion about whether to put the jam or cream on first (jam obviously first), we dived into the golden raisin one, which was light and fluffy and wonderful. The sweet plate looked beautiful, with 5 different options to choose from. I’ll start with my least favourite – the pineapple and red chilli terrine with red vein sorrel, its texture and flavour didn’t hit the mark for me, and I couldn’t taste the chilli at all. The lychee and coconut cake with lime glaze was tasty, albeit a little dense, but the chocolate mousse was delicious, especially the sugar-coated cashews delicately placed on the top. I saved the mango and coriander tart with pink peppercorn meringue till last. It didn’t disappoint, although I would have loved a bit more meringue. The pastry was light and flaky and the mango filling was not too sweet, which was perfect – I must admit though, I couldn’t taste the coriander, but I don’t think that detracted.
Overall I loved the experience, although I take my hat off to anyone who takes them up on the offer of savoury and sweet refills, I honestly couldn’t have eaten another thing. I would definitely go again, it’s the perfect oasis for an afternoon of treats with friends and family.
The Coral Room
The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3NN