Sam treated me to afternoon tea at The Hempel, a 5* luxury boutique hotel located just a short walk away from Hyde Park. This was my first London afternoon tea experience so I was incredibly excited when I stepped into the modern sleek reception area. The interior of the hotel was stylish yet sophisticated, with marble floors, minimalistic candles and grand doors discreetly hidden in the walls.
We were shown to the No.31 Lounge bar where our waiter took our jackets and presented us with a menu. We were all packed in the incredibly small bar area, including a party of 12 women we suspect were on a hen do. However, the atmosphere was nice and we felt comfortable on the sofa we were placed on. You wouldn’t expect to have high tea whilst sitting on a sofa which looks like it has come straight from a show-home, but this was the Hempel after all. We ordered our tea, nothing fancy, just regular aslam and afternoon tea for two. The tea arrived in a glass teapot with matching glasses, another unique touch which distinguished the Hempel from other luxury hotels. Our food was presented on an attractive three tiered stand which struggled to fit on the table. The first plate consisted of a selection of perfectly rectangular, finger sandwiches filled with egg a cress, ham and mustard, smoked salmon and cream cheese and coronation chicken. The bread was a little hard, as if the sandwiches had been made that morning and left out in the kitchen since. I like the variety of the fillings but it would have been nice to choose our selection as Sam and I both don’t like salmon so this was wasted.The second tier consisted of two plain scones and two with currants in, accompanied by two generously filled pots of clotted cream and strawberry jam which we smothered each scone with. They were lovely, with the fruit scones being the fresher of the two. Luckily the hotel staff were incredibly patient, continuously refilling our tea and being careful not to rush our experience. This allowed us time to recover from the scones and prepare ourselves for the best bit, a selection of cakes.
Situated high on the third tier were 8 miniature cakes. We each had a chocolate brownie, lemon meringue pie, Eton mess and a macaron. Sam was first to bite in to his chocolate brownie and didn’t like it at all. He passed it to me and I have to admit, it was a little hard and tasted rather stale. I decided to try mine anyway and to my surprise mine was lovely! The brownie was soft and gooey, just like a brownie should be. Poor Sam must have just had a bad one. The macaron was nice but after sampling macarons in Paris, I was bound to be a little disappointed. It tasted no different to the luxury ones found in Waitrose.The Eton mess was incredible. Although tasty, I wouldn’t choose Eton mess when given the choice of dessert. Meringue and fruit are just too healthy to constitute a dessert so I would normally stick with sticky toffee pudding or similar. This Eton mess was different, with the rich thick cream making it something special. It would have been far too sickly if served as a full sized dessert but a shot glass of this Eton mess was just enough to excite the taste buds. The lemon meringue pie was my favourite and I am glad I saved it till last. The sharp citrus taste was the perfect way to end my afternoon of food and relaxation, leaving me full but satisfied.
Although delicious, I wouldn’t return to The Hempel for its food (although I am keen to try their dinner menu) as I believe you can get just as nice afternoon tea in a local tea-room for half the price. However, the service was exceptionally good, the atmosphere relaxing and the decor second to none. The food at the main restaurant is sure to be of a much higher standard as we were after all, just in the bar area. If you ever need a place to stay or are looking for a stylish and modern place of luxury then The Hempel is definitely worth a visit.
Living Life, Loving cake,