What with it being the weekend and the day dishing out some beautiful summer weather, the only right thing to do was to find a nice place to eat, drink and lap up the rays. Seeing as we’re in London, why not treat ourselves to a spot of afternoon tea at the Crowne Plaza Battersea.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Crowne Plaza as a whole has a number of sleek hotels and restaurants dotted around the capital, catering for the locals and not just the mass of tourists that our fine city brings. Heading to their Battersea venue which can be found conveniently located on the side of the Thames, we took to a table on the balcony for our afternoon stint. With hardly any wind and the sun shimmering on the river, it’s easy to feel so relaxed that you almost forget you’re in the middle of the city. There’s only a few tables dotted on the narrow balcony, but what with it being a lazy Sunday there were plenty of tables free until mid-afternoon when it started to get a bit busier with families, couples and friends. In the winter, the lounging sofas and low tables would be ideal for an afternoon tea treat, with bright natural light flooding through the floor length windows.
The Afternoon Tea
Marco, our waiter, was attentive from the off, welcoming us with a talk through the champagne afternoon tea experience and what to expect. Of course, every great afternoon tea has to start with a glass of bubbles. Halfway through our Champagne, the afternoon feast arrived on a sleek black and silver stand; savoury sandwiches perched at the bottom, sweet pastries in between and a mix of sweet and plain scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Utmost British scoffing? You bet.
I like to mix my sweet and savoury items, and so began with the chocolate eclairs for the ultimate in gluttonous but petite treat. The smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwiches were second choice - full to the brim, there’s no skimping on fillings here. Also in the sandwich selection were egg and cress mayo, cheese and caramelised onion chutney and cured ham and English mustard - all very traditional, and making me want to go on a family picnic in the countryside.
The little pastries were bitesize but not of tiny proportions. My favourite was the cherry bakewell - the pastry cases were rich, indulgently sweet and the icing as glossy as I remembered from lunchbox days. For my partner in crime, the little victoria sponge stole the show and prepared us for the scones. Having half a savoury and half a sweet scone each, I smothered mine in a heap of clotted cream and a spoonful of jam. With all great afternoon teas, we had to have a cup of peppermint tea and mango tea. Being even more on point with British etiquette as we closed our experience, a Sipsmith G&T rounded everything off.
Crowne Plaza Battersea is a chic yet friendly venue that offers an ample sized afternoon tea selection fit for the Royals, if I say so myself. If visiting them in the summer, do make sure to nab a table on the terrace and if in the winter, be ready to get way too cosy on the sofas and nibble at the sweet and savoury options to your heart’s content.