Through the grand entrance of this historic building, across the lobby and up the stairs into the Lobby Lounge, and you are at the very heart of the luxurious Corinthia Hotel, and in a wonderful space to indulge in afternoon tea. Understated elegance prevails, natural light floods in from the glass domed ceiling onto the fabulous Baccarat glass chandelier, and exotic flowers adorn the central table. Seated at a table set with fine linen and bespoke bone china designed by William Edwards, from your comfortable armchair you can view the peaceful courtyard, or on a warm day, where better to enjoy your tea than outside under the shade of the magnificent maple trees.
Afternoon tea here is so much more than a traditional feast.
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There are finger sandwiches with mouth-watering fillings, vegetarian options available, assorted scones that are crisp on the outside and light inside, and served with handmade preserves and clotted cream. Picture a perfect miniature eclair, violet iced and filled with violet cream, and you can get an idea of the exquisite pastries on your cake stand. Everything will be replenished if you so desire. Besides all this there is the Lobby Lounge Table, resplendent with hand-blown glass cake stands, each of which displays one of a selection of English tea cakes beneath the domed lid. The choice might include puff pastry Eccles cakes, which originated in Lancashire, and are filled with a mix of dried fruits, spices, apple, citrus zest and French Brandy. The apple, almond and poppy seed cake is wheat free, whilst the spicy rhubarb cake with ginger butter cream and toasted pecans is made with spelt flour, organically produced in the Cotswolds. Or you may have the chance to try the Victorian chocolate pound cake, so-called because the original 1700s recipe called for a pound each of butter, eggs, flour and sugar. Add a glass of Champagne for a special treat, and allow the trained staff to help you choose from a selection of excellent loose leaf teas from the Tea Palace — note the absence of a tea strainer – to complete the occasion. The thoughtful and attentive service includes a treat for you to take away, making this a memorable experience.
Address: Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD Tel: +44 (0)20 7321 3150 E-mail: lobbylounge@corinthia. Com Web: www.corinthia. Com.
Afternoon tea served: Monday to Friday 3-5. 30pm, Saturday and Sunday 12-5. 30pm Nearest underground station: Embankment.
Places of interest nearby: National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, South Bank, Thames Embankment, Whitehall and 10 Downing Street, London Eye, Covent Garden.
Dean Street Townhouse.
The Dean Street Townhouse, sympathetically converted from two four-storey Georgian properties, has a character and atmosphere all of its own that is quirky, lively and subtly stylish. Originally built in the 1730s, the houses were home to a variety of people, from aristocrats to musical publishers and Soho luminaries. Most famously the rooftop of 69 Dean Street was home to the Gargoyle club, founded in 1925, which became the in-place for London society, and was the epitome of decadent glamour. Think Fred Astaire, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud and you get an idea of the members. Now a cool hotel, beloved of Soho socialites, film buffs and tourists alike, you can take tea in the restaurant area with its stripped wood flooring, half-panelled walls, red leather banquettes and upholstered chairs, and gaze at the contemporary art collection by Peter Blake and Tracey Emin, amongst others. Alternatively you can sit in comfy armchairs looking out onto Dean Street, or cosy-up in similar comfort in The Parlour in front of a roaring fire on a chilly day. Blue Burleigh crockery adds to the old-English feel of the place, and eager young staff will serve you a jolly good traditional afternoon tea. You may find it hard to resist adding some buttery crumpets to your order, or, if it’s getting late in the day, an old-fashioned savoury delight such as macaroni cheese or yummy welsh rarebit, not to mention the fish fingers. This is very homely place to have a wonderful afternoon tea.
Address: 69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE
Tel: +44 (0)20 7434 1775
Web: www.deanstreettownhouse. Com.
Afternoon tea served: daily 3-6pm.
Set teas: Townhouse Tea and High Tea.
Nearest underground station: Tottenham Court Road.
Places of interest nearby: Theatreland, Leicester Square, Chinatown.