Friday

Foodie Friday - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, London

I've been wondering whether to post this review of afternoon tea at Fortnum's because it's a little more critical than I'd like it to be.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


On MBB I only want to share places and food that I'd recommend and my experience at FandM left me unsure as to whether to add this or not.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


It's a hugely popular place to go for afternoon tea and if I remember right, they manage to serve around 700 a day (I haven't verified this information, so I'll update you if I find out otherwise). That's an incredible number to manage on a daily basis.

Mind you I unreservedly recommend a visit to Fortnum and Mason's department store. The store is packed full of beautiful and interesting purchases for all pockets. In particular, if you are a fan of tea, coffee or sweet treats the ground floor has all three in abundance and in beautiful packaging, perfect for gifting and self-gifting.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


My Welsh One is a great lover of tea and it was such a haven of speciality teas I wished he had been with me to become immersed in the rows and rows of options. In his absence, I bought him some loose Yunnan, which was poured out of a great big jar by a man in a smart Fortnam and Mason uniform.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, London, photo by modernbricabrac


Further back in the store were tins of prepackaged tea and coffee at very affordable prices. The tins were decorated with the latest ornate designs and rich colours for the 2017 Fortnum and Mason Christmas season. We bought a basket full of varieties that included a selection of coffees and a tin of Darjeeling.

Our table was booked for 4:30 pm and we had some time for more shopping so we headed down the sweeping staircase in the centre of the store, bedecked for Christmas with frosted leaves and branches. Downstairs we found ourselves in the food hall, where alongside your everyday food items you can find the more unusual purchases, such as prettily decorated biscuits, mini pickled onions and stilton in traditional stone jars. I just wanted it all.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


After another short smash and grab session, mother, the sis and I headed up in the wood panelled lift to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. In either direction of the central waiting area the interior was awash with FandM's signature turquoise. In the corner, a pianist tinkled on a Grand Piano and nearby was a full-scale replica of the wedding cake made for Queen Elizabeth II. Tables with white tablecloths were occupied with chattering diners, china chinked and busy waiters carried pots of tea on silver trays. It looked delightful and I couldn't wait to be seated.

We sat at a round table in the centre of the room at the front of the salon and behind us was a traditionally dressed Christmas tree. Mum offered to buy us a glass of bubbly and how could we refuse in such a setting. We also had to make choices from an extensive menu of different afternoon teas as well as a tea menu of over 80 varieties. No longer is it just a matter of ordering afternoon tea, instead, you can choose from savoury, vegetarian and high tea. All the options sounded tempting but in the end, we went for two traditional and one savoury. To accompany our choices we requested Earl Grey, and a classic tea blend similar to English Breakfast.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, London, photo by modernbricabrac


Once decisions had been made we didn't have to wait long before the tiered plates arrived and I tucked in straight away to the plate of sandwiches. Despite descriptions such as Rare Breed Hen's Egg Mayonnaise with Chives and Fortnum's Smoked Salmon, the sandwiches were disappointing. The bread seemed rather dry, the fillings unremarkable and I wasn't keen on the cucumber and mint pairing.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


Next, I tried the scones, which were accompanied by little pots of jam, lemon curd and Somerset clotted cream. Disappointingly, however, our tea had not yet arrived and I asked a waiter standing nearby.

Rather than wait, we carried on tasting the many flavours and the sweet delicacies looked charming and tasted very rich and delicious. I was enjoying them very much despite the still absent pots of tea. I asked a second time and the pots arrived without the milk. Another request and after a further delay the milk arrived and we began to drink our tea rather late in the proceedings.

The other disappointment was that we weren't asked at all if we'd like more tea or if we wanted anything from the cake carriage that I'd spied on our way in.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


I had to try a slice of the impressive cake we had seen when we walked to our table so I asked for a slice and it soon arrived.

The cake I'd been admiring turned out to be an absolutely delicious coconut sponge layered with raspberry jam and topped with a light sugar pink icing. Incredible! Despite how delicious it was I couldn't finish the slice and a waiter very obligingly packed it up with another slice in a little box for me. My sis was offered the remaining scones with the cute little pots of jam and was equally delighted.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


Completely full it was time to leave and although the coconut sponge was outstandingly light and delicious the sandwiches were disappointing. The tea should have been served sooner, with milk and without having to chase it up.

So, why would I recommend afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason's?
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was refurbished in 2012, and looks fresh, elegant and is reassuringly traditional. It's a very special setting to take a traditional afternoon tea where it has been served for almost 100 years. Booking afternoon tea at Fortnum's also means you get a chance to visit their store and that is such a Christmassy treat it shouldn't be missed.

London - Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, photo by modernbricabrac


Afternoon Tea costs from £44, a glass of Champagne costs an additional £12.50 and a discretionary service charge of 12.5% is added to the bill.

Stand out taste - the coconut and raspberry many layered sponge cake. phenomenal

Wishing you a very merry Christmas

Sarah xx


photo 
Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac
    

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1 comment

  1. Oh no, that sounds like a bit of a mixed feelings about tea here. The coconut sponge sounds lovely, but the sarnies are a big part of afternoon tea and for them to be a let down is a real shame. :(

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