The month of June marks the Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday and to celebrate, the luxurious Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge has been hosting a Royal Afternoon Tea in collaboration with famed pastry chef Will Torrent. I love how quintessentially British the tradition of afternoon tea is and always find it such a treat to go, so when my friend Melanie asked if Ciaran and I wanted to come along to this very special tea, I was thrilled!
The Capital Hotel is located right around the corner from Harrods in Knightsbridge and and is well-known for honouring the tradition of afternoon tea. Will Torrent, award-winning chocolatier and patissier, has created an exciting menu of British afternoon tea favourites with a Royal twist.
Ciaran and I kicked off our Royal Afternoon tea with some bubbles and had a look over the menu, all of which, were incredible. Each menu had a brief history of where the tradition of afternoon tea originated. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford introduced afternoon tea to England in 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and asked that a tray of tea, bread, butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. She later began inviting friends to her afternoon tea and before long, all of fashionable society was sipping on tea and nibbling on sandwiches in the late afternoon, and thus the tradition was born.
The tea menu is quite extensive, with all sorts of delicious sounding teas like Silver Needle White Tea and Jasmine Pearls, but we opted for the Queen’s favourite, Earl Grey Tea! (My personal favourite as well).
It was really nice to be able to have a Sunday afternoon all to ourselves and do something fun together. The past few months have been super hectic so I really love when we have afternoons like today to just enjoy each other’s company.
Before we knew it, lovely plates of beautiful afternoon tea delights arrived in front of us. Our lovely server talked us through what each sweet and savoury indulgence was.
For the savouries, we had Cucumber sandwiches with verjus and chive butter, Smoked Salmon with whipped cream cheese on crumpets, Potted coronation chicken with pickled red onion, and Pulled Ham Hock and piccalilli sandwiches.
And for the sweets, Summer berry and champagne tartlets, Chocolate and marmalade teacakes, Strawberry and Vanilla Victoria sponges, St. Clement’s posset, and gorgeous Earl Grey Crowns that sparkled. The indulgence, however, didn’t stop there! Will kindly brought out a few very special treats that he had also created, all of which were exquisite.
A decadent cherry chocolate brownie, mini carrot cake treats with vanilla bean icing and lemon French fancies.
The entire presentation of the afternoon tea felt really special and each delicacy was made with such care and thought behind it. All of the food looked too gorgeous to eat, but alas, we dug in and began with the savouries.
Highlights for us both, was hands down, the Coronation Chicken, which sat on top of a thin, crunchy poppyseed crostini. It was so good in fact, that we ordered more and noticed other people were too. I wish I knew how to make this at home, because it would make the ideal starter for a dinner party.
I also loved the Smoked Salmon with whipped cream cheese on top of a fluffy, buttery crumpet. I’ve never had Smoked Salmon on a crumpet before. The combination of the two worked great together and it was a refreshing change from the usual smoked salmon sandwiches that I’ve had a most afternoon teas I’ve been to. We also thought the cucumber sandwiches were fantastic as well. The chive butter tasted great and really set them apart from the norm.
Now, I must say, that every single dessert was divine. The Earl Grey cookies tasted fabulous with our tea and the Lemon Posset was a lovely palate cleanser. We even took a few home with us to enjoy later. The Summer Berry and champagne tartlets were also a highlight and the fresh fruit was very refreshing after indulging in the incredible cherry and chocolate brownies!
We had almost forgotten about our scones, and although we were bursting at the seams, we couldn’t resist the warm, just-out-of-the-oven scones with jam and clotted Cream.
Scones are one of my favourite parts of afternoon tea. I could have eaten the whole basket had I not just over-indulged in the incredible desserts beforehand. Just like the rest of our Royal Afternoon Tea experience, the scones were exceptional. Warm, fluffy, moist and melt-in-your-mouth good. I topped my raisin scone up with clotted cream and jam and savoured every bite. Delicious.
Utterly satiated, we sat back and relaxed and ordered another pot of tea. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of The Capital Hotel’s afternoon tea room. The service was outstanding and always on hand to ask if we needed anything more or a top up. There was no rush at all we were able to really enjoy each other’s company over a leisurely afternoon, which to me, is how every afternoon tea experience should be!
As we were saying our thank you’s and goodbyes, our lovey server brought us out a few more chocolate treats courtesy of Will himself. Golden coffee chocolates, passion fruit and chocolate ganache crowns – absolutely stunning. On our way out, I ran into Melanie, who very graciously gifted me a copy of Will’s recently published book, Afternoon Tea at Home, which is filled with all of his best recipes for sandwiches, savouries, scones, cakes and other fancies, and we had the opportunity to meet him too, which was great. He let us know that there is another residency in the works, so if you aren’t able to make it to this very special Royal Afternoon Tea over the next week, you’re in luck because he’ll be collaborating with The Capital Hotel again in the near future.
Overall, the Royal Afternoon Tea at the Capital was a very special experience and it was wonderful trying all of Will’s stunning desserts. The service was impeccable as was every single dish we had. The atmosphere was relaxed and it was a wonderful way to spend our Sunday afternoon together. For a unique twist on the traditional afternoon tea, head to the Capital Hotel for an all around lovely experience. I am definitely going to be bringing my Mom come August!
Where are some of your favourite afternoon teas in London? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The Capital Hotel | 22-24 Basil Street | Knightsbridge | London | SW3 1AT
Our afternoon tea was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.