Lanesborough Hotel

Last Sunday was one of those days when I think to myself… honestly catty, why the fruck am I living in London?

I mean, the day started pretty well ~ I had a sleep in (which is undoubtedly the best way to start any day) and woke up at the ripe ol’ time of 1pm.  I stretched lazily… well, as much as I could in the cocoon I’d created with my duvet, and rolled over to reach for my phone.

Ah, the technology age ~ twitter and email, all before I open both eyes.

But as per my morning routine, I also checked the weather. Rain. Heavy rain. Urgh. Sunset? 3pm. What? I just woke up and then sun is setting in two hours? Like seriously?? 

Screw you London.

I did consider rolling back into my cocoon and calling it a day, I mean it’s night time in two hours anyway, right?

Right. Wrong.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it may be, we had plans. Uncancellable plans, posh plans, plans to celebrate our anniversary again, because once is clearly not enough.

So it was with great displeasure that I got out of bed, showered, put on a dress and despite the downpour and arctic conditions, hopped in a black cab and off we went to The Lanesborough Hotel. All in the name of sipping some overpriced tea.

Lanesborough interior and awards

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not posh. There are some girls who are just gorgeous and polished and perfect all the time. Me? There’s always a good chance I have food on my face, some down my top and occasionally, I save some in my hair. And this is on a good day.

So when we stepped out of the cab into The Laneborough’s impossibly decadent interior, I felt completely out of place. Christmas decorations consumed the foyer, an enormous Christmas tree flanked by glistening baubles and gold-sequined leaves. Fire places were alight and it was Christmassy and utterly… beautiful.

Having also won awards every single year, the Lanesborough Afternoon Tea did not disappoint. Situated in the Conservatory, you can imagine how a mid-summer tea would be profoundly different, the curved glass ceiling illuminating the room with the brilliance of natural light. What did we have? Gloom. 

Upon being seated, the tea sommelier unleashed upon us his vast knowledge of tea, the show off, and recommended a special Christmas blend, created uniquely for The Lanesborough. A black tea, it’s infused with cinnamon and berries, which sounded just like Christmas to me. I drank it by the gallon and became a little too acquainted with the ladies’.

fresh strawberries & cream; vanilla jelly, chocolate mousse and pistachio "croutons"

So. Should I start talking about food or something? I mean, there’s a reason you’re reading this and I’m assured it’s not because I love to wax philosophical about… I don’t even remember what I was talking about.

Ok, well, one awesomeness thing about tea at The Lanesborough, which I’ve not experienced in my semi-limited Afternoon Tea experience, is that they serve not one, but two little amuse bouche (dude, is there a plural to that?).

We started with a plate of fresh strawberries, swimming in a deliciously light cream. Being the unsophisticated grub that I am, I probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been served with a scoop of ye olde vanilla ice cream, but hey, one must also enjoy the finer things in life and guess what? I totally forgot to start with cutlery from the outside in. God, I am a neanderthal.

A teeny tiny shot glass of something followed the strawberries ~ a layering of vanilla jelly and milk chocolate mousse topped with pistacio croutons. Pistachio. Croutons. Need I say more?

savouries: brioche with smoked salmon; beef sandwich with blue cheese; goats cheese tart; turkey & cranberry sandwich; tuna sandwich; cucumber sandwich

After enjoying the little freebies we got to the real kahuna. Savoury pastries and sandwiches. The bottom layer of our tiered serving tray was littered with the usual suspects ~ cucumber sandwiches, tuna, turkey, beef and tarts, my favourites being the brioche with smoked salmon, goats cheese tart and the scrumptious beef with blue cheese & caramelised onion.

The beef sandwiches were hands down my very most favourite and in the name of getting our money’s worth, I ordered seconds. Yeah.

scones with jam, cream & lemon curd

Upon wrapping up our second serving of savouries, the penguin clad waiters brought out the scones ~ one plain, one fruit and one already cut open and generously drenched with butter.

The spreads were the usual clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd… mmm lemon curd. I had a mini dejavu of Bea’s of Bloombury’s lemon curd pavlova which imprinted on my brain the day we fell in love at first bite months and months ago.

And finally there were the sweets. I was actually completely bewildered by the pastries because aside from the additional but very normal course of Christmas cake, mince pies and lemon cake, the actual sweets course was just bizarre.

sweets: macaroon with hazelnut cream; lemon cake; blueberry macaroon with lemon meringue & white chocolate

I mean, look at them. Macaroon with hazelnut cream which I endearingly coined the “hazelnut brains”, and the blueberry macaroon with lemon meringue & white chocolate, all served on the most delicate meringue shell, and perched above a slice of ginger bread. Weird!

You know what it totally reminded me of? I know this is going off at a tangent but does anyone read Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series? You know the flat earth? The one that sits atop four elephants and rides through space on the back of a giant turtle? OMG this dessert totally reminded me of that.


Wild imagination aside, the bizarre desserts, along with a very ordinary but supremely delicious dark chocolate slice tasted amazing. Too small, but isn’t everything that is delicious?

So. After gorging on scrump-diddly-yumtious goodies for two hours, the sun had well and truly set when we went home and I pretty much crawled right into bed. Possibly the shortest day of my life, but one of the most delicious 🙂

ps: incidentally we had considered spending the previous night at the hotel but take a seat for this one ~ at £450 a pop for their standard room, I think I would rather stick needles in my eyes. or buy an iPhone. Yikes.

pps: these are the first photos I’ve taken with my new Canon PowerShot S90. Am still learning its functions and features!

Afternoon Tea @ Lanesborough Hotel
1 Lanesborough Place
London, SW1X 7TA
0207 333 7254

15 Thoughts on “rainy days and decadence: afternoon tea @ The Lanesborough Hotel

  1. Looks lovely, I adore afternoon tea! How much did this set you back? Was it the standard tea for £35?

  2. hey there! yes it was £35 for standard. £45 with bubbly and £55 with bubbly rose 🙂

  3. OK, I want to go there now! No other choice!

  4. “There’s always a good chance I have food on my face, some down my top and occasionally, I save some in my hair. And this is on a good day.”

    That’s me too. And often, when I get home, I find a little snackette in my bra, that was lost down my cleavage. I kid you not.

    Love your reference to Pratchett – you’re full of surprises!

  5. o o o is this comment # 667??

  6. lol
    i tot that was meringue with a serve of fried mee on top!

  7. Mathilde: compared to other afternoon teas around London, I’d rate this one and not least because of the great little amuse bouche. Definitely go 🙂

    Kavey: LOL the cleavage is a weird and wonderful storage compartment for “snacks for later”! 😉

    Jason: you rock.

    Ying: Haha i see what you mean, I was more thinking brains but now i see soba noodles!

  8. Oh Catty, this is a hilarious and brilliant post! I love the way you write – it’s like listening to you talk and you have such a wicked sense of humour too – love it. Loved Kavey’s comment too – LOL! x

  9. “Screw you London” indeed. It was definitely worth it braving the rain in a dress though, the food looks absolutely yummy. I love afternoon tea (as it is an extra meal to eat, lol) and will need to put this on my list of places to try..

  10. Those fancy desserts look very cute, but those scones just take the cake. (Heh). Just give me a big pile of scones with cream and jam, and a big pot of tea and I’m done!

    xox Sarah

  11. Mowie: spot on! LOL I basically write the way I would say something hence 90% of the time, it doesn’t actually make any sense. But who cares, people only look at photos, right? 🙂

    Su-Yin: Definitely put it on the list, although after we had this, there was definitely no need for dessert!

    Sarah: You are *so* right – nothing quite beats a good scone and clotted cream! 😀

  12. I went there about 3 or 4 years ago (pre blog!), and loved it – glad you did, too. Nom nom nom. Maybe I should have a little New Year tea treat up there… 😉

  13. aforkful: everybody needs a little new year treat 🙂

  14. Pingback: thecattylife – up close and personal to all things… edible » rainy … Tea

  15. I couldn’t decide between here or the dorchester but I think your write up means I have a winner.

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