One thing I love about afternoon tea is how it can transport you to a different place, to indulge in an experience that provides an escape from everyday life. I had that experience at Rosewood London recently when I had the chance to sample their wonderful art-inspired afternoon tea. Seriously, a 10 minute taxi ride from work one afternoon was all it took to physically transport me from The City to the gorgeous and decadent decor of Rosewood.
Take a moment or two to take in the opulent surroundings of the hotel, all gold-gilded and mirrored, accented with rich mahogany furnishings; a twist of British tradition, redesigned with a modern feel. First constructed in 1912, Rosewood London has been restored and renovated over the years, and visitors can totally feel the ‘sense of place’ philosophy of this grand hotel.
Once you’re done oohing and ahhing over the hotel interior, you’ll arrive to the Mirror Room for afternoon tea. Again, stunning, not overly stuffy, definitely not pretentious… and packed! I guess Cake Masters weren’t the only ones interested in their Art Afternoon Tea offering. The Mirror Room team were all very welcoming and knowledgeable about every aspect of the AT, recommending various teas to accompany each course.
I love Mark Perkins’ (Executive Pastry Chef @ Rosewood) introduction: “As a pastry chef, I’m always curious and try to find inspiration in things that surround me. London is a vibrant city with an incredibly energetic art scene. Rosewood London’s quirky interiors reflect the British capital’s history, culture and sensibilities, featuring the works of some of the world’s most renowned artists, with contemporary pieces complemented by more traditional art throughout the hotel. Here are my latest creations inspired by five of the most iconic modern artists currently represented in London.”
Rosewood London’s afternoon tea consists of:
Selection of traditional sandwiches
– Maldon smoked salmon, cream cheese andlemon
– Le Madru Ham, Comté and wholegrain mustard
– Coronation chicken, curry and sultanas
– Avocado, tomatoes and basil
– Egg mayonnaise and chives
Art inspired pastries
– Yayoi Kusama: Milk chocolate mousse, passion fruit cremeux with chocolate, set on chocolate sable biscuit
– Banksy – Chocolate cube filled with vanilla cream choux, salted caramel, chocolate cremeux
– Damian Hirst: Cassis jelly, yuzu curd, white chocolate tart finished with Hirst dot decoration
– Mark Rothko: Layered coconut sponge, raspberry, coconut mousse, decorated with raspberry chocolate
– Alexander Calder: Pistachio bavarois, cherry jelly, pistachio sponge sprayed with red chocolate decorated as a calder mobil
Plain & raisins scones: Served with Cornish clotted cream, lemon curd and homemade strawberry jam
What can I say? The sandwiches were soft, fresh and delicious (the bread was so soft!), and though I am not a veggie,my favourite ended up being the avocado, tomatoes and basil sandwiches. The scones were equally scrumptious and I am totally a convert to lemon curd and clotted cream on scones! Divine!
The stand outs were definitely the art-inspired pastries. Now I’m not a super-artsy person, but I do love Yayoi Kusama and Banksy’s works and have recently been to their exhibitions in Helsinki and Amsterdam respectively. So how cool is it that I ate their art! What did I say about being transported? This AT really made me reminisce about the art pieces I recently saw at the various museum exhibitions. Edible art at its finest, for sure, handcrafted and decorated with the artists’ essences, and they did taste as amazing as they looked. I can’t actually pick out afavourite, but the Banksy cube was definitely a surprise within a surprise.
A wide selection of fine teas was also available, and the Mirror Room team were kind enough to suggest a few teas that I had not heard of before. They complemented the AT menu perfectly, especially the keemun gong fu black tea… Widely considered to be one of the best black teas in the world, prepared in the small village of Keemun, China. Whole tea leaves are rolled into thin strips, taking care they do not crumble or break. It is an exquisite example of a clean and assertive tea.
I am definitely keeping Rosewood London on my AT watch list, as I can’t wait to see what inspires them next!