Deputy editor Miranda McMinn takes Christmas afternoon tea in the smartest street in London
Pont St restaurant, part of Belgraves hotel, is located on the poshest street in the poshest part of London, Belgravia. So, will its Christmas afternoon tea (a seasonal take on its indulgent year round tea) live up to its location? Um. Short answer. Yes. But a tea of this magnificence deserves more than one word, so here we go. The tea menu has been created by Sophie Michell, Britain’s youngest female executive chef. (The day we went she had won best airport restaurant award for her other venture in Heathrow.) The restaurant offers all day dining from an American style breakfast to a Sunday roast, but Michell has truly gone to town on Project Tea - a modern take on the great classic English institution. The restaurant itself is modernish too, with marble and wood tables and oriental inspired décor and fairly frantic mood music, not a doily or black and white uniform in sight. We choose our tea from a tea menu, and also opt for the additional glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne (well, it’s Friday and we need to unwind). The tea is served in exquisite china pots with matching cups. Then the indulgence begins: stilton cheese balls with quince jelly that dissolve in a warm taste explosion on the tongue; mini brandy pork terrine toasts; smoked salmon with caviar eggs on pumpernickel; sandwiches (cucumber, ham and cheese) cut into delicate fingers; quails eggs in the lightest pastry cases. Then the sweet stuff: golden topped scones with jam and clotted cream; mini sherry trifles; perfect tiny marzipan mince pieces; rich creamy macarons; cranberry and Clementine éclairs with an amazing chewy brulee top, and a gingerbread Pramma girl (inspired by the hotel’s Christmas window collaboration with sisters Stefania Pramma and Valeria Napoleone of PRAMMA handbags). It’s the most enjoyable challenge we have faced in some time – and we win. It’s too good not to. But one word of advice. You won’t need dinner.
Pont St Belgraves Hotel 20 Chesham Place, London, UK, SW1X 8HQ http://www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/london/belgraves
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