We Brits are known for making an excellent cuppa, but when it comes to luxury tea emporia, no one does it quite like the French. Founded by the Mariage brothers in the 19th century, this Paris-based gourmet tea company is known for its popularity among haute-couture fashion houses, Gallic celebrities and the well-to-do in general, so it’s no surprise that they’ve chosen Covent Garden for their first London outpost.
Before heading up to the first-floor Salon de Thé, take a moment to admire the jaw-dropping selection of teas on offer in the Comptoir de Thé. Just shy of 1,000 varieties line the walls of this beautiful Georgian townhouse, so even tea obsessives are sure to find a blend they haven’t tried before.
When it comes to selecting a tea from the overwhelming menu upstairs, you’ll be glad of the guide that accompanies it. There are also two food menus on offer: afternoon tea (naturally), and the delightful ‘La Cuisine au Thé’, brimming with unique tea-based creations.
We loved the roasted cauliflower hummus infused with smoky black tea, and the sea bass with Babylonia tea-infused candied fruits even more. Dessert was the real showstopper though, with a selection of stunning patisserie that included perfect eclairs, a cheesecake that resembled a toadstool, a French take on Eton mess and, most fabulous of all, a rich chocolate and salted caramel mousse, flavoured with Black Magic tea, and encased in 24-carat gold leaf that proved almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Prices are far from petite, but you won’t experience a menu like this anywhere else in the capital.