I was so glad we did. This is a delicious & fun afternoon tea with informed & attentive staff, who do not rush you, in beautiful surroundings.
The main building of Rosewood, London is set back in its own courtyard, with a carriageway entrance, and a haven of calm sophistication.
It is a Belle Epoque Edwardian building constructed for Pearl Assurance in 1914 and became a Rosewood hotel in 2013 (GBP85MN was spent on that transformation).
The stunningly beautiful luxurious lobby takes your breath away but Pearl, the docile hotel dog, adds a delightful human touch.
The cheerful staff in the Mirror Room seemed genuinely pleased to see me and used my name. I was taken to my table. and given water.
My friend was going to be 15 minutes late. I was assured this was not a problem by the staff and this gave me time to look at the menu (being impressed by the choice of teas) and assess the room.
The Mirror Room
The Mirror Room has floor to ceiling mirrors on the walls & also mirrors on the ceiling above the ceiling lights. I had read it is a jewel-box design but I think it is too large for this description to apply. However, it is a very elegant space and a perfect environment in which to feast on afternoon tea.
We started with a glass of Ruinart champagne each. Afternoon tea is always a special occasion. Sorry to Bart, my personal trainer at Virgin Active, Barbican.
There were delicate sandwiches with Essex Maldon smoked salmon with cream cheese & lemon; Le Madru ham with Gruyere des Comte cheese & wholegrain mustard; Coronation chicken with sultanas; avocado, tomatoes & basil; and egg mayonnaise & chives.
My friend does not eat avocado or drink tea or coffee. There was no problem replacing the avocado or providing her with hot chocolate. I picked the lemongrass & ginger tea which was aromatic and refreshing.
The avocado & tomatoes sandwich was my favourite with the tangy strong flavour of basil and my friend loved the ham & cheese sandwich but admitted the Gruyere des Comte cheese was a strong flavour.
We, once again, made the mistake of ordering more sandwiches and regretting this when we felt bloated and still had the pastries and scones to go.
The 'Art Inspired' Cakes, Mousses & Tartes
Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins' pastries represent Louis Vuitton's Yayoi Kusama, death obsessed Damien Hirst's 'spotted paintings'; motion sculptor Alexander Calder, irreverent graffiti artist Banksy & abstract expressionist Mark Rothko.
The Banksy cake honours iconic 'Girl with a Balloon' and was a white chocolate cube filled with eclair like vanilla cream pastry dough, salted caramel & chocolate pudding and garnished with a miniature replica of the legendary artwork. We both adored this moreish dessert, who does not love salted caramel.
Yayoi Kusama's pastry was a milk chocolate mousse with passion fruit creme & a chocolate crispy wafer on a chocolate shortbread biscuit covered in bright yellow glaze & her famous polka dots. The taste of the passion fruit really came out and it was deliciously refreshing.
Damian Hirst's pastry was a white chocolate tart flavoured with a sweet liqueur jelly & yuzu curd and finished with Hirst's dot decoration. We both loved the citrus flavour.
Alexander Calder's pastry was aimed to be evocative of his famed mobiles. It was pistachio Bavarian cream, cherry jelly & pistachio sponge glazed with red chocolate. We both enjoyed this interesting dessert.
Rothko's use of colour was represented by the bright pink raspberry chocolate plaque that adorned a layered coconut & raspberry sponge filled with coconut mousse & fresh raspberries.
Neither of us are keen on coconut but I tried it and the fresh coconut flavour was far better than I expected.
The Finest Black Tea In The World
With these desserts I drank Keemun Gong Fu tea, which is said to be the finest black tea in the world. This clean & strong taste was a perfect accompaniment to all these sweet cakes, mousses & tartes.
Because the second drinks took some time we were given a complimentary glass of Ruinart champagne, which was very sweet of the staff.
Scones with Clotted Cream & Lemon Curd
There were freshly baked scones with clotted Cornish cream and homemade strawberry jam but, after all we had eaten, we could not do these justice. However, we both agreed the tart lemon curd that came with them was brilliant.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(6 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - the informative, friendly & helpful staff; beautiful hotel; basil flavoured sandwich; delicious & inventive pastries; and extra glass of Ruinant champagne broke the 'teddy score'. This afternoon tea has all you could want for one in London. My tip:- do not eat too many sandwiches, so you can properly enjoy the pastries & fresh baked scones.