Wellies and umbrellas. Double decker buses and iconic black cabs. Ladies called “Love” and men known as “Chaps”. It seems after each trip to London I am soon flipping through my calendar to plan my return for the first break I get. I’m smitten.
After wrapping up my internship at the art gallery and just before the start of my final year as a graduate student, I was excited to hop on the Eurostar for London! Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Kings Road – I wanted to explore and re-explore it all! With a week of nothing but fun to be had, I was most excited to indulge in the lavish experience of Afternoon Tea at some of London’s most notorious salons. After consulting Milla, the one person whose opinions I trust when it comes to high tea, reservations were made at the Lanesborough’s Apsleys for a luxurious afternoon British-style.
The Apsleys’ dining room is the definition of opulant. Designed by Adam Tihany, American interior designer who has brilliantly transformed a number of luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, the tufted canapé against the muted sea-foam Art Deco panels in the Venetian-style dining room make for an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. Our tea began with glasses of chilled champagne served with fresh strawberries and cream, soon followed by endless servings of tea sandwiches, decadent mini-cakes, miniature pastries and scones with cotted cream. We were delighted down to the very last cup of Darjeeling tea under the three suspended chandeliers, light dancing off the dangling crystal.
I’ve come to appreciate that afternoon tea is much like theater and we are the interactive audience. It is an affair never as simple as finger sandwiches and fresh scones, though these are important. Instead, its most memorable when every component, from the polishing of silver teapots to the attentiveness of the waitstaff, is carried out with the utmost care for the benefit of the guests. The Lanesborough excelled in creating a charming experience for my family and I as we marveled at the beauty of Tihany’s sophisticated set and Heinz Beck’s Michelin-starred props. Hours pass unknowingly and soon the performance was over. The afternoon had flowed into a chilly Autumn evening, the dimming dining room our queue that the curtain was closing on our British tale.
Of course, not before we could each enjoy just one more glass of champagne.
Primary image courtesy of the Lanesborough.