I made it a hat-trick of afternoon teas a fortnight ago when I went out with my best friend Laura. We chose the Kona at Taj 51 on Buckingham Gate and once again, it was courtesy of the Emerald Street 2-for-1 offer, we paid £35, instead of £70.
Finding the Kona was a bit of a nightmare, as Taj own the two buildings next to each other and both have so many little entrances and restaurants. After going to the main foyer of the hotel, we were escorted through the courtyard by concierge and led towards the restaurant.
Our coats were taken and we were taken to the afternoon tea dining area, which seated just 14 but was lovely and airy considering its size. Unfortunately we were sat on a table with couples either side and there wasn’t much space between tables. The couple next to us asked to be moved to the other side the restaurant, only to be told there was a reservation – the table remained empty throughout our two hour meal.
The tea menus were so cute and there were so many varieties to choose from, all listed in order of colour: black, white, green, herbal and fruit. Laura opted for the simple breakfast tea while I went for lemon-ginger, a vibrant orange coloured tea. Luckily we didn’t have long to wait until the savouries arrived, which was good as I was so hungry and they had brought me the wrong tea over. The savouries consisted of: a mini golden quail’s egg & egg mayonnaise tart; cheese & chorizo sandwich on white bread; smoked salmon, caviar & mascarpone on rye; Mediterranean vegetables & black olive on a crouton; minted cucumber pinwheel. I wasn’t a fan of the Mediterranean veg open sandwich and lucked out with both of the smoked salmon ones as Laura doesn’t like fish. I tried a corner of the cheese & chorizo one, as I let Laura have that instead and I’ll be honest, it didn’t wow me.
In between courses, we were treated to an amuse-bouche, an oriental soup spoon consisting of tiramisu topped with marshmallow. It was kind of like a coffee flavoured angel delight, very sweet, but nice nonetheless. The stand for the sweets soon followed. There were three kinds of scone: plain, chocolate chip and golden sultana, with a tray of clotted cream, strawberry jam and fresh mixed berries. I loaded my scones up with cream, blueberries and raspberries and they were lovely – although a bit ‘cakier’ than the traditional scone.
On the top two tiers were a selection of four sweet goodies – all featuring some kind of gold. After all this was the 24 karat gold afternoon tea. I began with Kona’ signature gold leaf opera cake, a rich, gooey, sickly chocolate layered sponge cake, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with gold leaf and chocolate shards. Despite how full I immediately felt, I ploughed on and opted for the white chocolate mousse in white chocolate cup next, which was lovely and light – and decorated with gold chocolate leaves and gold coated popping candy. It was by far my favourite. Next up was the champagne & gold leaf jelly, which was incredibly boozy – the fruit foam topping was divine though. Last up was a mini strawberry & crème anglaise tart with gold leaf and sparkly silver balls.
The treats were so decadent, but as I looked around the room, the additional cakes and pastries you could purchase also looked amazing. The cake of the day was spectacular, but then it should be at £6 a slice! It’s a shame we never got to sample macarons, as they looked beautiful too.
I think because we had the voucher, it meant the service really lacked. It wasn’t just the incident with the tables and the tea mishap, but were over-charged when paying service charge – I think we paid around 20% when it should have been 12.5. I didn’t question it because I didn’t really want to make a scene and well, we paid £17.50 so shouldn’t complain. Kona also have a Royal afternoon tea (which is what I initially wanted to book) but I’d be more inclined to try another restaurant.