We have just been to afternoon tea at Claridges. And we are, apparently, never going to have afternoon tea again.
That’s not because it was an awful experience. In fact precisely the opposite. It was excellent.
Just because I checked out the various purveyors of tea and sandwiches before we went. And chose the best one. My other half has decided that it would now be a let down to settle for anything less than the best. So what I really meant to say was; we are never going anywhere ELSE for afternoon tea.
If you do decide to choose Claridges, there are a couple of things we would have liked to have known before we went.
How long does it last?
A leisurely afternoon tea at Claridges normally lasts about two hours. But you can stay as long as you like. The service was attentive but not intrusive without even the slightest hint that the table was needed for other guests.
Indeed we were told a story about two little old ladies who arrived for the first sitting of afternoon tea at 2:30 pm. They were eventually waved off on their way home at 1:30 am the next morning by the night staff. They had, apparently, spent the whole time chatting. Which is precisely what afternoon tea is all about.
What if I don’t like what is on offer?
The whole ethos of the Claridges afternoon tea is that you should be able to eat and drink the things you like.
Substitutions are not a problem. If you enjoy a particular type of sandwich, it’s perfectly OK to order a whole plate. If you have a dietary preference, the chefs will ensure that you leave happy and satisfied.
The ‘standard’ selection was excellent, although the substitution for my egg sandwich was even better.
Can you do an Oliver Twist and ask for more?
Of course you can. But please be careful. Don’t overindulge on the sandwiches. It is definitely a good idea to leave room for the scones and pastries.
The light and freshly baked scones are particularly worth saving space for!
What if I don’t like tea?
The short answer is that there are other drinks you can order, notably a specially blended Claridges coffee.
The slightly longer answer is that you may well find a tea or infusion to your taste from the large variety on offer. Claridges have a selection of 23 different teas and infusions. These range from light, white teas to heavier, black teas, green teas and a range of herbal infusions.
Fortunately the waiters are very knowledgeable and will help you pick an appropriate selection.
And if you don’t like a particular tea, you can always try another.