Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Afternoon tea | Espelette @ The Connaught


Two weekends ago, Vicky (The Blogging Brunette) took me to afternoon tea at The Connaught in Mayfair. It had been booked for ages, since my birthday in fact, but it was the first time we both had a weekend free – so it was lovely to catch up and be ladies that eat cake! The hotel is literally a five minute walk from Bond Street station so super easy to get to!

We sat in the beautiful conservatory, which was so light and airy and as we took our seats and perused the tea menu, a harpist began to play. It was so lovely, but almost felt like I was at a wedding, it was so much more formal than any afternoon tea I’d been to. At the same time, it was so easy to relax.
Afternoon Tea, Espelette @ The Connaught, Mayfair, London
 We both opted for the Champagne afternoon tea, which included a glass of Laurent-Perrier, which I drank before the food had even arrived! The tea menu was extensive with a variety of herbal/fruit infusions and green, black and white teas. We both chose the imaginatively named Old Blue Eyes, described as vanilla and caramel, with a blend of apples pieces, citrus peel, berries and herbs. It was a gorgeous pink colour, which smelt stronger than it tasted (like all fruit teas!) but it was really lovely once it had infused.

Beginning with a round of sandwich, we were asked about dietary requirements and as Vicky doesn’t like fish/seafood, we had extra coronation chicken (on white) and my crab ones were served on a different plate. They were definitely my favourite: on brioche, with celery, chive & crème fraiche; they were so fresh and light. The other two varieties were cucumber , with mint & cream cheese (on brown – and there was definitely some dill in there!) and smoked salmon with sweet pea, on granary (unusual but very nice too; luckily I got all of those).
Afternoon Tea, Espelette @ The Connaught, Mayfair, London
There were six different pastries to choose from, which followed, but unfortunately, there was only one of each – so we played Russian Roulette taking it in turns to pick our cake. My first was the Brazilian mango & litchi-rose bavarois – kind of like a moussey blancmange, which tasted really tangy and tropical. That’s the only way I can describe it, it was nice. My favourite, however, was the wild strawberry, passion fruit & guava macaron. I never used to be a lover of macarons, but this had a lovely filling and the wild strawberries were incredible! My final choice was a raspberry & crystalised violet St. Honore. This was a puff pastry base with mini choux buns, raspberry puree and violet petals. It was quite unusual, but light considering all the pastry. It wasn’t too floral either, as the raspberry added a sweetness.
Afternoon Tea, Espelette @ The Connaught, Mayfair, London
Once our cake stand was taken away and our teapots refilled, the scones and cakes came out. We initially chose strawberry & Tahitian vanilla preserve, but instead we got three varieties (raspberry, rhubarb & angelica and gooseberry & geranium), along with a pot of clotted cream and some mixed berries. The scones were plain and golden sultana; the perfect size and still hot. The outsides were crisp, but once cut into, had fluffy middles – the perfect scones. The jams weren’t too sweet and contained so much fruit – I particularly liked the rhubarb one. The two cakes were a bee pollen & raspberry sponge (amazingly light and not at all stodgy; I could have eaten the whole cake) and a chocolate & orange blossom battenburg (quite rich and dry; I’m not a fan of chocolate orange either). I managed a mouthful of each, but was so full.
Afternoon Tea, Espelette @ The Connaught, Mayfair, London
 And as if we could eat anymore, when Vicky asked for the bill, they brought my out a birthday cake on a slate board with a little candle. We both had a small corner each, to be polite but it was a really good dessert: layers of sponge and chocolate mousse and nuts, coated in a glossy chocolate ganache.

Afternoon tea at The Connaught was without a doubt, the most elegant I’ve had – the setting was also perfect and the tea & food delicious. It’s definitely the kind of place I’d recommend for a special occasion.

Love, Lucy xx


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