Whenever you search for the best afternoon teas in London, The Langham regularly comes up. So I was very excited when I was invited to get a sneak peak at the new Festive Afternoon Tea menu at The Langham, along with a few of my favourite blogger friends.
As I was walking into the Palm Court, I knew I was in for a treat. The decor is wonderfully luxurious. With it being quite early in the week and quite late in the afternoon, it wasn’t very busy. But with the wonderful pianist playing in the background, the music certainly filled the room. I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic, as he played several well known classics, like Elton John’s ‘Candle In The Wind’ and Randy Newman’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’, along with newer songs like Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’. I’m guessing these tunes will soon turn Christmassy!
We were spoilt for choice when it came to the tea – we could have anything we wanted. Now, I know I probably should’ve gone for something a little more sophisticated, but I really fancied the strawberry and kiwi tea, because I was feeling fruity, haha. And I’m glad I did because it was so good.
We started off with a lemon posset, topped with a little gold leaf. The sharp lemony kick was just what I needed and the texture was creamy like a cheesecake. I love lemon flavoured anything, so this was great.
The ever so lovely, award winning Executive Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden, came out to tell us about the menu, which has actually been inspired by the Nutcracker and elements of Christmas that we’re all so familiar with.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they were to dietary needs, in my case this was having halal food. It turns out, the meat used is halal. Normally I would be happy to just stick to the vegetarian options, but this really made my day.
At this point, Cherish ran and got me an eggnog pannacotta without the rum jelly, which is the first item on the festive afternoon tea menu. An interesting fact about The Langham is that they actually use fish gelatine in their desserts, as opposed to pork gelatine, which was wonderful news to me (and to all the non-pork eaters out there)!
I’ve never tried eggnog before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. But I liked the slight hint of warming spices and the silky texture of the pannacotta. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet either, which was probably a good thing as we had many sweet things yet to come.
Our sandwiches arrived on individual plates and I couldn’t wait to tuck in! I was given the sandwiches without alcohol. Now, I know what you’re thinking… since when do sandwiches have alcohol in them? Well here’s the thing my friends, the farmhouse stilton and red onion relish sandwich usually has port in it. But they were very lovely to whip up a non-alcoholic version for me and it was delicious! So tangy and sweet at the same time.
The cucumber, cream cheese and chive sandwich tasted light and fresh, and probably one of the nicest versions I’ve tried.
The truffled duck egg roll was their take on egg and mayonnaise, and it was delightful. I mean, who wouldn’t like having some truffle shavings on top of their food?
The Forman’s smoked salmon eclair was probably my least favourite, only because it was a bit too salty for my liking. But I know smoked salmon varies in so many places, and the cream on top of the eclair helped tone it down just a little bit.
However the star of the show was by far, the smoked turkey, marjoram stuffing and watercress sandwich, on this amazing cranberry bread. It was like Christmas in a bite. All the flavours worked well together and I loved it so much that I went for seconds! I could’ve easily eaten a whole plate of this, but unfortunately I knew I had to leave room for more food to come.
Speaking of which, the pastries and scones arrived and were placed on tier stands and we all got started by snapping away, adjusting the plates to catch the perfect light. Because there aren’t any windows in the Palm Court, I really felt like I missed that natural light, hence the yellow tinge to all my photos.
Now what do I tell you about these scones? These were by far, some of the best I’ve had! They were still slightly warm (always a great sign of a good afternoon tea scone) and were light, but not overly crumbly. There was also a sweetness to them, and once having added the dreamy clotted cream, we felt that the jam wasn’t entirely necessary, especially if you were looking to add it for sweetness.
Obviously I started the great scone debate… cream before jam or jam before cream? Except, there wasn’t really a debate because we all actually agreed on the same method. So I was very happy that I was dining with like minded people who ate scones the correct way, which I believe is the Devon way.
Now onto the pastries! If you really look closely, you can see just how much effort has gone into these. The tiny details like the dots on the mushrooms and the gold leaf baubles on the christmas trees are just magical. And to top it off, it all tasted really good! Cherish is a genius.
The mini reindeer chocolate log cake had crunchy caramelised hazelnuts in it and was placed on top of a biscuit. It was creamy and chocolately and I loved the print on the chocolate.
The cinnamon christmas tree was a good shortbread, but I am a lover of all things cinnamon, so naturally I thought it could do with a bit more cinnamon. I was so impressed with the santa though!
The pistachio and raspberry dome, with sablé biscuit was interesting. Pistachio is a hard flavour to get right, but it was really tasty and I liked the raspberry in it. I still can’t get over the detail on the tiny mushrooms!
The Nutcracker Victoria sponge with cranberry and white balsamic pâte de fruit was delicious. At first I couldn’t figure out what I was eating, because it tasted more like lemon than Victoria sponge, but I actually really liked the twist on this classic.
My favourite was the mango and passionfruit white chocolate Chantilly – sweet, smooth and tart, on a crunchy biscuit. After eating so much, it really helped to cut through the sweetness.
The reindeer on top was adorable and it was made out of chocolate. It was sitting on top of a shot glass of a syrupy berry-like drink, which rounded off our wonderful festive afternoon tea experience.
Thank you to the wonderful Aysem and Aftab for inviting me to this exclusive sneak peak and I can’t wait to hear what other people think of it when it launches on Friday 27th November. It will run until Sunday 3rd January 2016 and costs £49 per person.
*I was invited to review the Festive Afternoon Tea at The Langham, but as always, all opinions are my own.