During these hot summer months, I often find myself relaxing in the local pub garden with good friends and ice cold beer. Not that I am in any way slating these lackadaisical days, but after spending a gorgeously warm Sunday afternoon at the Lounge at the Royal Horseguards, sipping on Tattinger and eating a wonderful afternoon tea spread, I think I have found my new way to unwind this summer.
When my guest and I arrived at the Royal Horseguards, it was pretty hard not to be taken aback. It’s one of those iconic London sites – the kind of building used in the backdrop of any London film. It has that quintessential old school British class.
My guest and I made our way in and were stunned. We sat down for our afternoon tea in the lounge when the waitress came over and asked if we would rather sit outside – we did and my, what an even better way to spend the afternoon. An al fresco afternoon tea was just the way to do it.
We had the hotel in front of us and a little park behind us. We felt we had found some sort of green retreat amid the buzz of central London.
The waiter came over with a glass of Tattinger and my guest and I let the summer warm wash over us. It was clear we were going to have a lovely afternoon.
There is nothing wrong with your classic builder’s tea, but when we were presented with an array of loose teas we wanted to try something new. We first opted for the strawberries and cream (their signature loose tea) as it perfectly complements the sweetness from the spread and also the Oolong which acts as a palate cleanser. A good combo I feel.
A nice little touch, was the tea timer – to highlight how long certain teas should be brewed for.
With champagne and tea at the ready, it was time to tuck in.
We were served such a beautiful platter of treats – one of the loveliest I’ve seen.
I decided to take the adult approach of having savoury before sweet and my boyfriend and I were most impressed.
This isn’t your run of the mill egg and cress on white – each sandwich comes with its own flavoured bread. We had : cucumber and cream cheese on pesto bread, egg and watercress on lemon bread, ham and mustard on sun-dried tomato bread, chicken on olive bread and my personal favourite, salmon and dill crème fraîche on caco bread.
The bread was light and springy and complementary to the corresponding filling. We may have asked for a few more of these…
One of my bug bears with afternoon tea is when you can tell the sandwiches were made in the morning, so the bread is already dry. Not here.
We then moved onto our pre-dessert scone stage. Again, one reason why I am often wary of afternoon teas is because I find scones are generally dry, cakey and crumbly. The Royal Horseguards impressed me as these were light and fluffy. With the jam and clotted cream, delicious.
After a cleansing swig of Oolong, we dove into the cakes.
These were just so dinky and beautiful – the perfect size.
My boyfriend adored the mango cheesecake with chocolate (so much so he had both, but I am led to believe this was a very positive experience) so I made a beeline for the Bakewell tart and lemon semolina cake. We also loved the lime meringues and Bakewell meringues. These were just stunning to look at and rounded off our lovely afternoon perfectly.
I want to thank the Lounge at the Royal Horseguards for our wonderful afternoon. Mellowing in the sunshine, eating a wonderful platter of treats and sipping on Tattinger will be my new summer jam. I feel like I have found my new way to enjoy summer.