Friday, 27 January 2017

heArt Tea at the Lancaster Hotel

Written by Katrina Schollenberger
With Valentine's Day shortly approaching, the Gourmet Girls headed to the Lancaster Hotel to sample their newest afternoon tea: their revised Art tea (heArt tea) with a love twist.

As the hotel is currently being renovated, and will open back more than half of their rooms and new foyer this summer, we entered through a side door to a large function room currently serving as the front desk. We made our way to the elevator where we exited to the Lounge Bar, expanding with comfortable, decorative couches, chairs and tables. The room was filled with a lovely floristic aroma, which came from the Nipa Thai restaurant adjacent to the Lounge Bar.

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We were ushered to sit, and met with the afternoon's menu and tea list, as well as a complimentary glass of bubbles. The Lounge Bar has an array of local and international artists work adorning its walls, the inspiration behind the Lancaster's original ARTea.

After a long deliberation on the variety of teas on offer, I selected the pomegranate tea, while my guest selected the Egyptian mint. Not long after finishing our champagne, two clear pots emerged with our colourful tea choices, brought out with a sand timer that would let us know when our pots were brewed. This was something I'd never seen before at an afternoon tea, I thought it was quite clever.

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Next, the waiter brought us a gorgeous wooden briefcase-type box, full of small edible treats. My guest and I started with the miniature savoury selection: oyster beignets with salmon caviar, choux buns with tomato and basil, Scottish salmon and dill on rye, egg and cress sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese with 'crush on you' black pepper sandwiches and beef and horseradish sandwiches. The options felt very traditional and quintessentially British, but were presented with such a creative flare. My favourite was definitely the egg and cress.

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Next, we delved into the sweet treats. On offer were raspberry and honey eclairs, white chocolate and strawberry macaroons, pink champagne lollipops, chocolate cupcakes topped with rose icing, and a passion fruit tart topped with an edible flower. All quite sweet, but exceptionally tasty.

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The crème de la crème were the warm scones, brought to us on a plate with white chocolate heart decorations and raspberry candy crumble. There were plain scones, raisin and chocolate, accompanied by clotted cream and jam in paint tubes. This was definitely a sweet, creative highlight of the afternoon tea, and better yet, you could use up the tubes and ask for 'refills' whenever you got a bit greedy with them.

The menu, full of oysters, chocolate and champagne, is meant to invoke an aphrodisiac-like feel perfect for you and your partner this Valentine's Day. I guess the menu achieved its mission for the couple behind us, as they were kissing and cuddling the entire afternoon.

The HeART Afternoon Tea will be available from 8-14 February 2017, from £40 per person


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