Lorna and I were recently invited to the Mandarin Oriental in London to try their new afternoon tea in the Rosebery salon. The Salon has been open for just six weeks and so we were keen to see what was on offer. The Salon itself is a really beautiful space, decorated in greens and ambers to reflect the teas that guests enjoy. At night, the salon becomes a Champagne bar serving a selection of champagnes, champagne cocktails and Sake.
|The Rosebery Tea Salon - Mandarin Oriental|
Photo from website
Now the interesting thing about the Mandarin Oriental is that they have two Tea Masters who work within the Salon, offering guests a wonderful tea experience. They blend teas, give recommendations and match teas with food. The Salon has a good selection of teas which have been crafted by the East India Company, the selection includes fine teas such as an afternoon tea blend or the Dragonwell Lung Ching, as well as a selection of rare and limited teas. The rare and limited teas include "Golden Tip" which is from a rare reddish tea bush cultivated near Ceylon’s Adams Peak and "Heart of Persia" which has saffron as a key ingredient.
Guests who want to enjoy afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental can either opt for The Rosebery Afternoon Tea, The Rosebery Tea Master's Choice Afternoon Tea or The Rosebery Sake Afternoon Tea. We decided to put the Tea Master to the test and plumped for the Tea Master's Choice tea, which included the standard afternoon tea menu plus three tea varieties from the rare and limited tea menu selected by the Tea Master.
|The rare and limited tea selection|
Our Tea Master Ester introduced herself to us at the beginning of our experience and asked us about the kind of teas that we like to drink. She then brought over all the teas on the rare and limited list in small bowls, for us to see and smell. Ester told us a little about the different teas and recommended a selection that she thought we would enjoy.
|The black Oolong being prepared - the Mandarin Oriental|
Ester's suggestions for us included the Golden Tips mentioned above, the Mi Lan Dan Cong which is a Black Oolong and finally the Heart of Persia which is a Ceylon tea. Each tea was presented to us beautifully in a simple tea ceremony, and we were encouraged to try each one before a pot was brewed to ensure we enjoyed it. The teas were served to us throughout the afternoon tea meal.
|The Tea Master's Choice - Mandarin Oriental|
It was a wonderful experience to have Ester on hand throughout the tea, she kept our teacups topped up and peppered us with wonderful nuggets of tea information. For example - did you know that in Russia jam is sometimes used to sweeten tea?
I also have to share with you the beautiful china that tea is served on....
|Mandarin Oriental Afternoon Tea China|
This has been designed exclusively for the hotel and is available to buy from the Rosebery (I think we might be buying some of the beautiful teacups!)
Now that I have shared with you the teas, the Salon and the china I think I better move onto the wonderful food that we enjoyed! The tea stand was brought out to us and hung on an ornate mandarin tree, meaning that the stand hovered elegantly over the tea table. I have never seen tea served like this before and love the concept as it gave us more space on the table!
This photo really doesn't do it justice, but you'll get the idea......
The tea offers a large selection of savouries, elegantly arranged on the bottom tier of the tea stand. Instead of traditional finger sandwiches, the sandwiches are shaped like tear drops, using just one piece of bread.
|Afternoon tea sandwiches - Mandarin Oriental|
The savoury fillings include:
Slow roasted organic chicken and buttered corn
Smoked salmon tartar with crème fraîche and dill
Cotswold egg and mustard cress
Cucumber, cream cheese and pea shoots
Portland crab and crayfish fondue on brioche
Wiltshire cured ham and heritage tomatoes
All the fillings were very generous without being too heavy and most importantly were fresh. The bread too was fresh and cut thin, with not a crust in sight! Both Lorna and I adored the crab and crayfish in the mini brioche roll, we could have eaten rather a lot of them!
After we had finished off our sandwiches and declined the extra serving that we were offered, we were served the scones (which were warm when served)....
|Scones and cream - Mandarin Oriental|
We had one plain and one fruit perfectly sized scone each. The scones were light and very tasty - although Lorna's fruit scone only had one sultana in it! The scones were served with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, rose petal jelly and homemade lemon curd. The strawberry jam was rather scrummy and was our favourite topping.
Again we were offered an additional serving of scones.
Finally we made it to the top tier....those beautiful sweets and pastries....
|Afternoon Tea Sweets - Mandarin Oriental|
The homemade pastry selection included:
Green tea éclair
Milk chocolate passion fruit tart
Coconut and pineapple gâteau
Greek yoghurt and mango
Wild strawberry délice
Each item both looked and tasted wonderful and although there was only one of each on the plate we were offered more. I think our favourite pastry was the Milk chocolate passion fruit tart, although that green tea éclair was also rather amazing. The pastries were a good size, were very light and the flavours well balanced.
Just when we thought we had no room left we were offered a small slice of cake and finally a chocolate truffle! It really was a feast and we left the experience feeling very satisfied.
The whole Tea Master's Choice afternoon tea is a wonderful experience for anyone who is interested in teas and trying some rather unique blends. Ester was extremely knowledgeable and happy to share her tea wisdom with us, she was also very friendly. The experience costs £62.00 per person and so it is one of the most expensive afternoon teas we have experienced, but if you enjoy tea I think it is definitely worth every penny. If you would prefer the standard afternoon tea which includes all the food mentioned above plus your choice of house blend tea for £45 per person. For more information about the teas on offer please visit the Mandarin Oriental website.
All in all the Rosebery is a wonderful place to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea, the surroundings are elegant and relaxing and the service is brilliant - a good combination of friendly and efficient.
I would like to thank Nicole, the Rosebery Manager, and the rest of the Rosebery staff and Ester the Tea Master for their hospitality.
Thank you for popping by today,
Please note that although we were guests of the Rosebery, this did not effect the article that we have written and all opinions expressed are our own.