Should you pour milk or tea first into a teacup? Should you spread clotted cream or jam first onto your scone?
The Palm Court at the The Langham hotel in London will know as they claim that the tradition of serving Afternoon Tea was born there 140 years ago.
Last Sunday my husband surprised me with afternoon tea at the Langham for Mother’s Day. Now, I know it was not Mother’s Day in the UK but husband was away with work on my first Mother’s Day earlier this year so we took advantage of our South African roots and celebrated this past weekend.
I’ve been to Afternoon Tea at the Langham a few times before for a variety of celebrations and they do not disappoint. However, the idea of taking an 8 month old baby to this elegant establishment has never crossed my mind. But clever husband called in advance and, ‘Yes, sir’ they are baby-friendly.
As a friendly face escorted us to our quiet table in the corner we saw a few other parents with young kids and buggies and our “hope she behaves” worries vanished.
We did a quick scan of the menu and my husband ordered the Wonderland Afternoon Tea and I ordered the Theo Fennell Bijoux Afternoon Tea, with a glass of champagne obviously. There is a kids menu too, priced from £5 to £10 a meal but our little Bug is a bit too young so she would have to do with a few of our finger sandwiches and an Ella’s pouch.
Tea sommeliers assist you in choosing from the extensive tea menu. The tables are set with ironed, white tablecloths, fine china and a teapot filled with roses. I found myself humming along to the tunes gently playing on the grand piano.
As the finger sandwiches and pastries arrived, I thanked my lucky stars that I had skipped breakfast. Such tantalising delights lay before us and it would be a huge shame to leave even one little morsel behind. We started with the sandwiches and these are not just any sandwiches. I had the more extravagant menu so mine included beetroot cured scottish salmon and grey goose vodka cream which was served in a cone, which technically is not a sandwich but who cares. They all were delicious.
We munched our way through a scone and could not wait to get started on the pastries, which had sat to the side of our table teasing us all this time. The Theo Fennell inspired pastries from my menu were little edible jewels and each so carefully constructed that I almost felt ashamed to gobble them up. Well, not really.
Words cannot do these delights any justice so let me just show you some pictures.
Throughout the service the staff were so warm and personable. Each of them took time to chat to little Bug and would tell us about their own kids. Nothing was too much of a bother and they did not bat an eyelid at the pile of sandwich remains building up under her highchair.
With our waistbands a little tighter and a goody bag filled with the world’s most delicious leftovers we waltzed out leaving behind the tunes on the grand piano and other tea-loving patrons.
To answer the ‘which comes first’ questions above:
- Tea is always poured first as this was a test of the quality of the hostess’s bone china waaaaay back whenever. Hot tea would crack poor quality china.
- You can spread your clotted cream onto your scone whenever you’d like because in Devon you would spread the cream first and in Cornwall you’d spread the cream last. So you are bound to be wrong 50% of the time.
xxx TGM xxx
You can find out more tea etiquette and make reservations for afternoon tea at Palm Court
Glam Mummy details: There are baby baby changing facilities in the ladies bathrooms and high chairs are available upon request.