The Langham, London has once again partnered with Wedgwood to create a completely new and unique Afternoon Tea called ‘Back to the Classics’, which offers a selection of classical recipes made with fresh ingredients that is now being served in the beautiful refurbished Palm Court every afternoon from just after midday.
The Palm Court has been serving Afternoon Tea for over 140 years now but underwent a soft refurbishment towards the end of 2015 which has transformed it into a brighter, more cosy and warm space with additional tables and comfortable seating making it a place you want to linger in longer, particularly on colder winter afternoons and evenings.
The traditional English Afternoon Tea itself dates back to 1865 when the Duchess of Bedford is said to have been the first lady to enjoy ‘afternoon tea’ inviting friends round to enjoy a mid-afternoon snack of bread and butter and tea. It wasn’t long before bread and butter was joined with cakes, biscuits and the scones and the more elaborate fruit desserts we have become accustomed to today.
Wedgwood’s history goes back even further to 1759, when Josiah Wedgewood founded this iconic English Potters. Its exceptional craftsmanship and exquisite design can be found in many a home, fine restaurant and hotel around the world and is therefore the perfect partner for the iconic Langham, London.
Rest assured though, you will get much more than just bread and butter with your Afternoon Tea!
First off, the setting. Stepping inside the Palm Court is like walking into another world and to be honest I could have stayed there for the rest of the day listening to the very talented pianist playing hit after hit whilst sipping chilled Champagne and eating delicious sandwiches and cakes.
For 2017, newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Gavett has taken up the mantle from the long-standing Cherish Finden, who has moved on to pastures new, to create an altogether quite different afternoon tea and stamping his own mark on it with a style that illustrates his craftsmanship as a former chocolatier and giving us flavours that are well balanced and offer reduced sugar and lighter textures. For example, the Paris Brest is made with Crunchy Choux pastry, lightened pecan cream and caramelised pecans and is truly exquisite!
The Decidedly Madeleine is made with classic Madeleine sponge and passion fruit jelly wrapped in a coat of Itakuja, whilst Babalicous consists of blackcurrent and star anise soaked baba, Jivara whipped ganache and crunchy pearls. One in a Million is deliciously light caramelised puff pastry with vanilla infused mascarpone. And finally, the Spherically Challenged is a mix of creamy coconut, liquid raspberry and Manjari mouse.
Executive Chef Chris King has come up with some of the most deliciously moist sandwiches to accompany this rather special afternoon tea, which consist of a Burford Brown egg sandwich with marinated artichoke on rosemary bread, a classic ‘prawn cocktail’ iceberg on a potato bun with tomato powder. And then there is my favourite, the Scottish smoked salmon with Sarawak pepper and preserved lemon cream, whilst a tasty Beef Pastrami with sauce ‘Albert’, watercress on caramelised onion bread also puts in an appearance. And of course, any afternoon tea would not be complete without the classic English cucumber, cream cheese and chive sandwich!
As for the tea connoisseurs amongst you, the Langham blends have been specially created by Alex Probyn, Master of Tea and consist of the classical Langham Blend which is a rather sophisticated blend of Second Flush Indian Assarn, giving a malty flavour, First Flush Indian Darjeeling and High Gown Sri Lanken for that light citrus character. There is also the Palm Court Exotic Blend made with Chinese white tea, Hibiscus flowers and Rosehip. The Silk Road Blend is a fine Chinese Silver Needle white tea whilst the English Flower Blend is herbal infusion of British flowers and chamomile. There is even a special Children’s Blend made with a blend of dried rooibos, flowers and rhubarb and is caffeine-free.
You also have a further choice of six Wedgwood teas, from the Wedgwood Original and English Breakfast to the Pure Darjeeling and classic Earl Grey. And for those of you who like speciality teas, there is a selection of four plus a white and three green teas. Infusions, Oolongs and two flavoured teas round off the menu offering pretty much something for everybody. Alternatively, you may simply just want to enjoy a refreshing glass of NV Laurent – Perrier Brut, Rosé or Grand Siècle. The choice is entirely yours.
Whatever you do decide on though, you are sure to have a memorable afternoon in this most perfect of settings. So, get your friends together for a catch up or treat your mother, she’ll love it!
The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood, The Langham, London, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7965 0195
Afternoon Tea is served in the Palm Court in the Langham, London, located in the heart of London’s West End just north of Oxford Circus and across the road from BBC’s Headquarters. The closest Tube is Oxford Circus on the Central and Bakerloo Lines.
The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood starts at £49, add a glass of NV Laurent-Perrier Brut and it’s an additional £10 or a glass of NV Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé and it is £64. Afternoon Tea sittings are daily between 12:15pm and 5:30pm.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground and a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Photographs by Paul Judd Photography and by Simon Burrell