Wednesday, September 15, 2010

High Tea at the Capital Hotel London

Rick Steves recommends tea at the Capital London. I started perusing the food section of his guidebook before our trip to London and immediately realized his suggestions were worthless. He doesn't really seem to care about food but he liked tea at the Capital which provides a small amount of food for a not so small cost. Since he is pretty much a self-described anti-foodie and categorizes eating in terms of 'an easy way to save money', I was surprised to see this recommendation and curious enough to want to go.

The Capital London is in the Knightsbridge neighborhood near Hyde Park. The front of the hotel has a quiet, very non-flashy exterior. The staff seated us as soon as we entered the hotel and we ordered the Champagne afternoon tea from an ultra-attentive waiter. Service was perfect even though we were late for our reservation which was already toward the end of when they serve tea. The room we sat in was tiny, only six tables but with a window allowing you to take in what little was going on in the the quiet street in front of the hotel. The room felt comforting. The walls are covered with pretty wallpaper, a bookshelf lines one wall, the tablecloths are white and newspapers (and books) available for reading if you feel like it.

The ice cold jacquart champagne was served with two different sandwiches. After that came the three tiers of sweets and scones along with our lemongrass tea. The desserts were beautiful. There were small fruit tarts, tiny little sundae shaped dishes filled with mousse, an apricot preserve cake and delicious scones served with jam and clotted cream. There was also a pound cake (seen on the top of the tray in the picture). I was positive the sweets  wouldn't taste as good as they looked. It didn't seem possible, but they were scrumptious! Each one was delicious, fresh and unique. The tea was also fantastic, aromatic and flavorful. It was enough food to pass for dinner before we headed off to the BBC Proms. If you are wanting a splurge tea experience, I think this is one to try.

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