As you may know, my husband and I were married recently, and went on our honeymoon to England. On the must-do items on our list was afternoon tea, a quintessentially British leisure activity.
One of the days we spent touring the British Museum and National Gallery (more on those in another article). After being on our feet for hours, we definitely needed to find a good sit-down restaurant not too far from the museum. My husband, being the Google Review fiend he is, found a place called the Mirror Room at the Rosewood. We went there for dinner and when we arrived, we could immediately tell it was upscale and dining at its finest, given the Bentley and Ferrari in the small parking area. Not going to lie, while we both make enough to live comfortably we by no means are rich and certainly not wealthy enough to own a Bentley, let alone a Ferrari. Still the wait staff were extremely attentive and polite, and obviously knew we were from the US.
Unbeknownst to us at the time, the Mirror Room has the best rated (according to a few websites) contemporary afternoon tea in London. We liked dinner enough that the waiter suggested we come back the next day for tea. And we did. I’ll save dinner for another post.
Afternoon tea consisted of three courses: sandwiches, scones and macarons, and finally desserts. At the Mirror Room, the afternoon tea is based on some art theme. This year’s theme is Cubism and Pop Art, and the two pastry courses reflected that theme.
The tea itself was absolutely phenomenal. I had two herbal teas: “Rouge Opera” composed of red fruits and vanilla, and chamomile. Doing a little googling, this is probably the company that produces the tea: Mariage Freres. My husband had the “Marco Polo” tea. We didn’t used to be tea drinkers until we went to England and now we pretty drink tea every night.
Then came time for each course. First the sandwiches, as you can see below. Four different kinds – chicken, cucumber, egg, and salmon. All four were delicious, about 4″ x 1.5″ in size, and portioned properly given that we were going to have three courses. In all honesty, the bread was white or something I couldn’t quite figure out, depending on the filling flavor. The fillings were quite good.
The second course consisted of what you would expect: scones, cookies, and smaller pastries. Here you can see some of the Cubism and PopArt influences. The macarons were a bright lemon yellow color (but mango/lime-flavored), with a white chocolate triangle on top with black and red colors (pop art). There were also some bright red raspberry choux with edible Cubism mini-paintings. My favorite parts of this course were the scones (plain with raisins) and the chocolate tarts. The tarts were more of a milk-chocolate with a creme on top. Very light. I could have eaten ten of them. And of course, we were provided with some fresh jams to top the biscuits (jams are definitely a bigger thing in Britain than in the US).
Finally, we had the third course: dessert. The photo isn’t great because the front of the pastries was facing me, rather than my husband who took the photos on this excursion. But they are inspired by the artists Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, and Andy Warhol. The middle pastry was supposed to be a Campbell Soup can (Andy Warhol), but the “soup label” wore off and kinda broke. The one on the right was a blue sponge cake. In all, I preferred the second course to the third. There were some unexpected, rather daring flavors in the third course and the pastries weren’t as sweet as I’d hoped they would be (I have a massive sweet tooth).
Key Takeaways: Go to the Mirror Room to see and be seen, literally. Expect creative food and leave not needing to eat dinner. You can find The Mirror Room here.
We didn’t take photos of the inside, so here is a YouTube video from “allthegoodies” showing what the Mirror Room looks like: