If there’s one thing the Queen’s recent Platinum Jubilee proved, it’s that we Brits are quite the nationalistic bunch. And what’s more quintessentially British than a fancy afternoon tea? Hidden behind Oxford Street, on the top end of Regent Street, The Langham is a longstanding institution that’s serving a reimagined take on the traditional spread.
Along with award-winning cocktail lounge Artesian, upscale pub concept The Wigmore, and Michel Roux Jr.'s fancy French restaurant Roux at The Landau, Palm Court makes up The Langham’s swish hotel dining… and I took my mum (Chief Tea Officer of our not-so-regal household) to put it to the test.
Splatterings of rose gold adorn the walls, while huge rectangular chandeliers line the ceiling and central booths provide plush seating space. Mum’s first thought was “very Kardashian...” though less new-money-Calabasas and more old-school London. A real swish introduction with charming service and a live pianist playing everything from Minnie Riperton to Dean Martin and Coldplay.
Easing in with a glass of Taittinger (£21 each), we made our way through the selection of dainty finger sandwiches. There was the classic coronation chicken and cucumber with cream cheese, but my favourite was roast beef matched with mustard and watercress on a slice of soft tomato bread. Not the usual, and surprisingly light, it was a welcome surprise.
Reimagining the nation’s favourite classic biscuits, the afternoon tea menu has been created by Michel Roux Jr. and executive pastry chef Andrew Gravett. There was an indulgent take on a Custard Cream, the crème de la crème; the rhubarb sablis, which was a tart, sherbert-like twist on the pink wafer; a fruity French fancy; a glossy, luxe Mini Roll; and a giant chocolate tiffin – the star of the show – which came topped with chunks of brownie, nuts and candied fruit.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper spread without tea, and Palm Court’s list sources only the finest from JING. For me, a rosey porcelain pot of delicate white peony hailing from the Shanhugang Garden in China, while mum’s herbal chamomile was clean and fresh. Mopped up with a final course of freshly baked scones, it went down a treat.
The DesignMyNight Digest
With so many hotels serving afternoon tea, choosing one can be quite the challenge. There's the iconic one at Fortnum's, the Instagrammable kind at Dalloway Terrace, and for something a little more laidback, I'd definitely recommend Palm Court at The Langham. The place for a calm atmosphere, attentive staff, dainty bites and live music, it'll get you in the good books with your mum.
Our Chief Tea Officer would say a solid 10/10.
💰 The damage: £65 per person for afternoon tea, plus drinks and service.
📍 The location: behind Oxford Circus in Marylebone.
👌 Perfect for: treating the family.
⭐ Need to know: vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free afternoon tea menus are also available.