The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is less than three weeks away, and London is in a state of anticipation. Some of the pre-celebrations of the monarch’s 60th anniversary on the throne are Diamond Jubilee afternoon teas. In March I went to one at the Andaz Hotel by Liverpool Street. In April it was The Petersham hotel in Richmond.
The hotel was set on a hill above the Thames, and from inside its historic walls the tea room’s expansive windows offered beautiful views of the river. The room itself was bright and sunny, and provided the perfect place for enjoying traditional afternoon tea in London.
I arrived with a friend for our four o’clock reservation, and we were shown to a table in the middle of the room. A server promptly arrived with two glasses of Petersham Champagne to start off our tea on a bubbly note. From there we ordered pots of Earl Grey as we waited for our food to arrive.
When it did, it came in abundance. First there was a selection of sandwiches that included Scottish smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, honeyroast ham with wholegrain mustard, smoked Applewood cheese with apple cider chutney, and classic cucumber.
Then came a plate of some of the lightest, fluffiest scones I’ve ever had. They were served with a huge dollop of clotted cream and dishes of strawberry preserves.
Next came the cakes and pastries. They consisted of bright blackberry and strawberry tarts, colorful Battenburg cake, fondant fancies, decadent chocolate opera cake, choux swans, and fruit cake.
The cakes and pastries, scones and savories were all to our liking. There was a good mix of flavors, and the offering had a nice balance to it. We stayed as long as we could, lingering in the sunny room well after we had finished our Champagne, tea, and food.
Eventually we tore ourselves away from our afternoon tea at the Petersham hotel in Richmond and made our way back to central London. On the way, we lamented the fact that we don’t make it down to that part of the city nearly enough. Maybe if they offer a post-Diamond Jubilee tea we will find an excuse to return. In the meantime, the celebrations are about to begin…