London correspondent Emily Goldfischer offers a round-up of what is new and exciting in a most special pastime that’s making a comeback.

New Afternoon Tea With an American Twist at The Beaumont

For the very first time, this intimate 72-room five-star hotel tucked on a quiet garden square in Mayfair is offering a traditional Afternoon Tea. When The Beaumont opened in 2014 with a fanciful American theme inspired by the previous owners, renowned London restaurateurs Corbin & King, it wasn’t “on brand” to offer a full Afternoon Tea, which is very English. That all changed with the hotel’s closure during the pandemic, says Leni Miras, the food and beverage operations manager at The Beaumont. She and her team decided the reopening was the ideal time to launch afternoon tea service, as it is something “guests repeatedly were inquiring about.”  

While the hotel was shuttered, they took the area formerly known as the American Bar, and reimagined the space as the Gatsby Room, removing the bar and subbing in a baby grand piano and new low, comfortable lounge-style furnishings in a palette of soft browns and beige and adding a cozy fireplace. 

In keeping with the hotel’s nod to America in its theme, the tea menu weaves in twists on American classics. Think: Chicken Caesar sandwiches, deviled eggs, and pastries including Boston Cream Pie and a PB&J macaron. Guests can choose from a dozen types of tea and there is also an option for children. For bookings, e-mail Leni Miras ([email protected]). 

Shangri-La at the Shard’s Ting Restaurant

The afternoon tea at Shangri-La at the Shard’s Ting Restaurant includes savory delights and baked scones alongside Austrian-inspired pastries.

Alpine Vibes and City Views at Shangri-La at the Shard

Shangri-La The Shard, London general manager Kurt Macher has to be one of the most creative in the biz; every season he completely transforms the hotel’s interior into a different scene and, of course, being high up in The Shard, the tallest building in Europe, the exterior backdrop of London is unparalleled. For winter, Macher has amazingly turned the skyscraper into a cozy alpine chalet, inspired by his own upbringing in Austria. He doesn’t miss a trick, covering up sleek marble with rugged wooden panels, fake snow, gingerbread, skis, and infusing it all with spiced aromas of the season. 

Afternoon Tea in the hotel’s TĪNG Restaurant is a wonderful way to soak it all in, sipping a warming brew in low, comfortable seating with views of London that stretch for miles. Freshly made savory delights and baked scones are served alongside delicate Austrian-inspired pastries, including Vanille kipferl and Black Forest cake, expertly prepared by the delicate hands of pastry chef Emma Watts. For details and bookings, contact the restaurant on 011-440-207-234-8000; or [email protected].

Afternoon Tea at The Rubens at the Palace

The Rubens at the Palace serves Afternoon Tea in a room overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace.

Experience the Work of a Great British Bake Off Finalist at The Rubens 

Does it get any more English than Rubens at the Palace, where Afternoon Tea is literally served in a pretty room overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace? Enjoy the festive “Winter Wonderland” version of the hotel’s award-winning Afternoon Tea prepared by Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Houghton, who was a finalist in “2021 Bake Off: The Professionals” television series. Chef Houghton has created a festive journey that pays respect to this long-standing English tradition, featuring bottomless mulled wine alongside classics with holiday twists — cranberry and turkey sandwiches, fruited scones, peppermint macarons. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

The Hotel Café Royal Van Gogh theme

The Hotel Café Royal is paying homage to artist, Vincent Van Gogh, with a museum-worthy Afternoon Tea. 

Van Gogh-Inspired Afternoon Tea at Hotel Cafe Royal 

The Hotel Café Royal is paying homage to the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, with a museum-worthy afternoon tea. The hotel’s head pastry chef, Michael Kwan, has carefully crafted each item on the menu drawing inspiration from Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings, these include tea sandwiches such as Crab and Dill on Lemon Bread, inspired by Van Gogh’s 1887 piece, “Two Crabs;” light-as-air scones; sweet delicacies such as a Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (sunflower seed praline, salted caramel); The Starry Night (pink grapefruit compote, orange marmalade) and a pecan crunchy, coffee mousse and taro sponge Van Gogh Self-Portrait, served on its own easel. The afternoon tea is served in the Oscar Wilde Lounge, where Oscar Wilde fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust, and Mick Jagger, the Beatles, and Elizabeth Taylor used to dance the night away. The Vang Gogh tea is available until January 2022. For more information, or to book, e-mail [email protected]; or call 011-440-207-406-3310.

As Afternoon Tea throughout London is so popular year-round, we highly recommend pre-booking at least a week or two in advance. This will also help you secure the more prime slots. 

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