I am a huge fan of afternoon tea, as anyone who read my most recent post on Things I always do when in London know. And those who follow me on Instagram know that my birthday was this past Friday. While I spent my actual birthday driving in a car and then on an overnight flight to London, my friends and I had planned a fancy afternoon tea for our first full day in London to celebrate. We opted to book at The Georgian Restaurant At Harrods because in all my trips to London I have never been to Harrods. I figured we could enjoy a nice afternoon tea and then wander the store looking at the things we can only dream of affording and that’s what we did.
Choosing your tea service
If you haven’t been to a proper afternoon tea before, then you are probably confused by this section. You’re thinking “what do you mean choosing? Isn’t it just tea?” And you would be very wrong. At the Georgian, there are a few options for your afternoon tea service. There is “The Georgian Afternoon tea” which is your more basic option and includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly prepared tea pastries, warm scones served with clotted cream, strawberry jam, rose-petal jelly and homemade lemon curd, a Harrods Trifle, and of course your choice of Harrods’ fine tea. There is then the Champagne Afternoon tea which is the same as the one above but with a flute of champagne.
Now, we were feeling fancy and went with what was behind door number three: the Luxury Afternoon tea. This option is over the top and probably more than anyone needs to consume in a three-hour period(which is how long we were there. It includes: an amuse-bouche(a small appetizer of sorts; ours was a prawn cocktail with caviar), a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly prepared tea pastries, and warm scones served with clotted cream, strawberry jam, rose-petal jelly and home-made lemon curd like the other options. But then it continues. Next we were served fresh strawberries served with cream or Pimm’s No.1 syrup and a Harrods trifle, all while sipping on our choice of Harrods’ fine tea and a flute of rosé Champagne. Did I mention they will bring you as much tea as your heart desires and you can also get more sandwiches if you are still hungry? However, I don’t recommend that because you still have four courses after the sandwiches. Oh, and it’s only £3 more than the champagne afternoon tea.
The beginning: Champagne, an Amuse-Bouche and choosing your tea
The first thing to arrive after you order is your flute of champagne. This champagne is heavenly. It’s a million times better than anything I ever buy myself and it makes you wish you could have an excuse for fancy events more often. Shortly after the champagne comes the amuse-bouche which is essentially a small appetizer. The name means “mouth amuser” and this is generally just something small to delight your taste buds as you wait for your main course. Our amuse-bouche was a prawn cocktail topped with caviar. It was quite delicious and had a lot of great flavours in it.
By the time you have finished your amuse-bouche your tea will be arriving at the table, but which tea did you choose? I personally am a traditionalist with tea and always opt for English Breakfast tea. It’s a classic that you honestly can’t mess up. My friends selected the Rose tea and the flowering jasmine tea. The rose tea is everything you expect it to be and more. It has a slight pinkish tint, and tastes like the smell of roses with just a hint of tea flavour. The flowering jasmine tea is beautifully presented in a clear teapot with the entire flower bloom in it. It’s also has a wonderful floral flavour and is also rather refreshing. Now that you have your tea, it’s time for the next step…
The Tower of Deliciousness
Following your amuse-bouche, the next thing to arrive at your table will be a three-tiered tower containing your finger sandwiches, pastries and the clotted cream and preserves for your scones which will arrive later. This tower of delicacies is everything you wanted and more.The sandwiches we had were salmon and herb butter, egg and watercress, roast beef, and turkey with cranberry sauce, plus a broccoli and cheese tart. They were all so incredible that we actually opted for a second round of sandwiches so we could sample more of our favourites (mine was the turkey because it tasted like a holiday dinner in a sandwich). After the sandwiches, we moved on to the tea pastries. There was a phenomenal lemon, raspberry cake, a tart stuffed with cherries and topped with a pistachio mousse, a thousand layer pastries stuffed layered with buttercream frosting, and a small cake topped with caramel and dipped in chocolate. All were delicious, my favorite being the pistachio and cherry tart. There was also a delicious chocolate truffle for each of us from Harrods truffle bar downstairs.
In my definitive ranking of scones, I have to say these weren’t my absolute favorite, but they get points for serving them warm and therefore still rank near the top. The clotted cream and preserve though were AMAZING. The middle tier on the tower of deliciousness contains strawberry jam, Rose petal jelly, lemon curd and clotted cream. All of these were delicious and paired perfectly with the warm scones. I ate mine with a generous helping of clotted cream and strawberry jam slathered on them while my friends leaned towards the rose petal jelly.
But wait there’s more…
At this point, I was on my second pot of tea and had eaten more than I thought possible, and yet more food still appeared. Our final two courses were the Harrods Trifle and the fresh strawberries. The Harrods trifle is a sort of lemon custard with berry preserves and cake crumbs. It’s very sweet, but also very delicious. After the Trifle came the strawberries. At this point, I’m full and was only able to eat a few bites of the trifle(shouldn’t have asked for more sandwiches), but I love strawberries. This was my first time trying them with Pimm’s and cream and it was delicious. The sweetness of the cream and the Pimm’s compliments the tartness of the berries perfectly and it was the perfect ending to our extravagant meal. This was the best afternoon tea experience I have ever had and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for some extravagance. From the moment you walk in, the staff acts as if you are their only priority. They were very polite and helpful during our experience and the great service made the afternoon even better. And of course it didn’t hurt that after our tea service we were able to wander through Harrods dreaming of being able to afford things, especially in the women’s shoe department, which is aptly named Shoe Heaven(sign pictured below).This was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday and I highly recommend going to Harrods for your afternoon tea experience. As always, from one misguided Millennial to the world, this has been my review of Harrods Afternoon Tea Service.