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Good Holiday Ideas | May 22, 2024

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Tea Time is Me Time

Tea Time is Me Time
  • On 29 July 2016

That great British institution, afternoon tea, is a world beater becoming more and more popular, writes John Hill.

I had forgotten the sheer joy of a good cup of tea – especially on a swelteringly-hot summer afternoon in London.

I was taking a short cut through Hyde Park when, having skipped lunch, I felt the craving for a really good cuppa. And I got it without having to go far at all.

I simply crossed the Bayswater Road and wandered into the Lancaster Hotel, where the first floor houses the restaurants, and lucky me – afternoon tea was in full swing.

And this was the real thing, and brilliantly served up by a team that included our Egyptian waiter, the charming Monir al Ashari, and assistant Maria from Madrid, and though not British they knew all there was to know about afternoon tea.

That’s because the hotel had scores of teas to choose from – and an assortment of cakes and sandwiches. First he tea – choose from a large list starting with Classic English Breakfast or energising Earl Grey and a dozen more blends such as White Pear and ginger, organic jasmine, Ceylon, stay-awake all night Rooibos, to Chamomile, Egyptian Mint, Organic Darjeeling (my favourite) and spiced Chai.

If he Novus tea list seems impressive the Lancaster chef has dreamed up a most delicious plater – starting with smoked salmon, or free-range egg with cress on carrot bead, then hot asparagus tartlet, small burger of roast beef garnished with mushroom and horseradish cream.

Then the best bit Plain or raisin freshly cooked scones with home-made jam and Cornish cream.
Not being piggish I managed to skip the sweet bits, which temptingly included chocolate and honey lollipops, lavender eclairs, lemon tart, vanilla macaroon and strawberry and rosewater pancetta.
This magnificent feast costs a lowly £30 or £45 if you wash done with Laurent-Perrier.

Clipper for tea

The Thames Clipper fleet is a replica of the old tea clippers which rushed tea supplies from India and China to London. Only these days the clipper carry more than 4million passengers a year – commuters and tourists alike.
And no surprise the MBNA Clipper fleet now does after afternoon tea on cruises from London Bridge Pier to Greenwich return. Prices start from £16.90 for Scone/Jam/Cream and Tea or Coffee, £18.50 to for cream tea and glass of juice and £21.55 for tea with a glass of champagne. Cheers..