Celebrating National Afternoon Tea week? Read on about our Red Letter Days luxury afternoon tea experience at the gorgeous Galvin at the The Athenaeum below.
Afternoon tea. It’s a tradition as British as the queen herself. Here’s an interesting fact though – afternoon tea was not actually borne out of the need to enjoy a hot brew. Afternoon tea actually has more to do with the cream filled scones and dainty cakes and sandwiches than the tea itself. It originated from a time where only two main meals existed, and the long gap in between inspired a very hungry duchess to schedule a midday treat. Little did she know how much she’s about to shape British culture!
Why have Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea is a vital part of the British experience. Many hotels in the UK offer them as a luxurious treat, enjoyed in place of lunch or as a prelude to a late lunch. As an expat, I tend to take visiting friends for afternoon tea for a catch-up and also for them to experience a truly British ritual. I also love afternoon tea because it allows you to have a proper conversation in a relaxed setting. It makes for a great date, whether with good friends or your partner. There is something about a warm cup of tea that inevitably taps into a feeling of coziness and ease.
Afternoon Tea at The Galvin
That is exactly how I felt when Andrew and I had Royal Afternoon Tea at Galvin at The Athenaeum.
It was a lovely and sunny Sunday so we decided to get out of the house and make the most of a Red Letter Days experience to a luxury afternoon tea for two. A stone’s throw away from Green Park and Buckingham Palace, Andrew and I enjoyed a gorgeous walk to the Athenaeum, a 5-star hotel in Mayfair.
Galvin at The Athenaeum, the Michelin Plated restaurant ran by Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin, has received many accolades. Galvin’s afternoon tea, specifically, has been awarded Top London Afternoon Tea by the Afternoon Tea Guild.
We were greeted by a lovely host who seated us and explained our menu options while starting us off with a glass of Ayala Majeur Brut. Definitely a good way to start the meal!
Fit for Royalty
We went for The Royal Afternoon tea, which boasts of a luxurious British experience. The menu is literally fit for a queen. The food makes use of ingredients from royal warrant holders that cater to Her Majesty the Queen. The tea comes from Darvilles – Windsor’s oldest business and supplier of tea to the Royal household.
Being more of a savoury fan myself, I must say that the selection of sandwiches was nothing short of extraordinary. The traditional sandwiches had a modern twist to them and really made use of the best ingredients in the land. There was Cumbrian beef and horseradish on beetroot bread, Regent’s park honey roasted ham on brioche, H. Foreman and Son salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, and Coronation chicken sandwich. My favourite, however, was also the Queen Mother’s favourite sandwich – Eggs Drumkilbo. It was so delicious, I even asked for seconds!
To many, afternoon tea would not be complete without scones. The tea came with one plain and one raisin scone, which was served with Devonshire clotted cream, Tiptree strawberry jam, and lemon curd. Do you enjoy your scone jam or cream first? Fun fact, the queen apparently has her scone jam first.
The selection of English pastries sealed the meal with a sweet ending. It was a journey through British classics. The stars for me were the Raspberry Bakewell Tart, Strawberry Eton Mess, and Battenberg Cake.
The Galvin at the Athenaeum was a delightful experience all in all. It definitely epitomised British Afternoon Tea at its very heart, and I’d love to take my family here when they come visit!
Luxury for less
A traditional Afternoon Tea can go for a lot of money, but it is definitely an experience that must not be missed when you travel to the UK. Here’s a top tip: Red Letter Days UK offers afternoon tea promotions in celebration of Afternoon Tea Week. Enjoy!
The low down
GALVIN AT THE ATHENAEUM
Attire: Smart Casual
Category: Afternoon Tea, Modern British favourites, Luxury Dining
Location: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ
This review was written thanks to an invitation from Red Letter Days UK. I did not get paid to write this review. All opinions are mine.