Thursday 27 June 2013

Charlotte in the City Reviews: 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea at 51Buckingham Gate, London

Last week we sent our London girl, Charlotte Vowden, to 51 Buckingham Gate Hotel to sample their new and exclusive 24K Gold Afternoon Tea. Here's how she got on:

Fit for a King or Queen

The moment you lay eyes on the table set for Gold Afternoon Tea at 51 Buckingham Gate you realise it’s going to be special. Champagne flutes perch on gold coasters beside white and gold-embossed menus, while tea cups finished with patterned gold trim, paired with polished golden teaspoons, stand out against the black tablecloth. It’s dazzling.

51 Buckingham Gate

To get proceedings underway the waiter will invite you to take a seat so he can pour you a glass of Luxor Pure Gold 24K Brut Champagne, half a bottle of which is included in the price of the tea, and within which flecks of real gold dance around among the bubbles.

After this he will officially welcome you to five star hotel 51 Buckingham Gate with an explanation as to what you are about to be served. It sounds a little formal but in such regal settings, just minutes from Buckingham Palace, the sense of ceremony feels appropriate.

The Full Tea

Taken in a wood-panelled room where people talk in hushed tones the Gold Afternoon Tea is new to the hotel, which has a gorgeous Victorian-Edwardian stone and brick façade, and the courtyard which resides at its centre is a wonderful place to relax after you've eaten. The savouries include parma ham and ruccola mille-feuille, beetroot bread with sun dried cherry tomatoes and a smoked salmon pinwheel. The variety of ingredients and textures used puts  traditional platters of finger sandwiches to shame.

The tea menu offers a range including green, black and white as well as herbal infusions. Running with the gold theme I chose the lotus tea which has a rich yellow colour and tastes superb.

Prepare to be wowed when the scones and sweets arrive on an all-gold three tiered cake stand because everything that's edible glitters – even the cream and jam for the scones is sprinkled with gold leaf. Such an impressive sight is worthy of a fanfare upon entrance.

The pâtissier has put an admirable amount of effort into both the recipes and decoration of the cakes and pastries - such as the Gold Leaf opera cake with a nest of spun sugar on the top - but the crowning glory is the champagne and gold leaf jelly. Served in a small glass it is spruced with a white chocolate flower and has a gold dusted centre. It’s elegant, simple and a light way to finish a heavy afternoon tea. By the time your plate is cleared even your lips will be glistening with a dusting of gold.

51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites & Residences’ new 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea costs £99 for two.  It includes a range of scones, cakes and sandwiches as well as half a bottle of Luxor Gold Leaf Champagne. Available until 31st December 2013, booking required with at least 24-hour notice.

Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and indulging on cake. Writing for The Sunday Times and other national publications keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.

Twitter: @charlottevowden

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. 

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