More and more of London’s biggest chefs are trying their hands at putting a spin on the classic British afternoon tea. From ultra-luxurious cakes and decadently filled sandwiches, all the way through to much wackier takes on the British tradition, it’s almost become a competition as to who can be the most original with their afternoon tea. The Parlour at the new Great Scotland Yard Hotel near Trafalgar Square sees chef Robin Gill take his turn and he’s been brave enough to dispose of one key element all together.
The Parlour sits on the ground floor of the grand hotel and has an immediate warmth and sense of cosiness. The walls of the Raj-inspired room are illustrated with elaborate pictures referencing Britain’s Victorian explorers, though charming waiters dressed in white and coral-striped uniforms come over more Mary Poppins than East India Company, alas.
That’s where the traditional side of the Parlour ends though. For a start, there are no sandwiches on the two separate cake stands which comprise afternoon tea here. Gill has replaced the traditional triangles of bread with a selection of canapés with the idea that you won’t get full too quickly.
Each morsel is freshly made and beautifully crafted, with the delicate crab tarts topped with lime pickle, and the generous slices of venison pâté with quenelles of tangy mango chutney, proving to be the highlights. Huge fluffy scones come next, served with a wonderful rhubarb jam, before a selection of cakes and biscuits which included perfect spheres of yoghurt and rhubarb mousse.
Different teas from The Rare Tea Company are paired with the food; we particularly liked the gentle and perfectly light Nepalese Himalayan hand-rolled black tea. Despite Gill’s best efforts, we left feeling full to bursting, but it was the best kind of bursting – one that leads to a tea-induced afternoon nap.