Tuesday, August 28, 2007

White Cat Waltz

Things to Try Before You Die in UK #9: afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is an extension of leisure eating and hence one of my favourite things to do... when there's time to kill and chat-worthy topics to go through.

Tissa and Nat are my sister's friends from high school. Since they are in London as part of their tour of Europe, I managed to get a booking for the three of us in an attempt to be a good/helpful/hospitable host. Since afternoon tea tends to be quite pricey, good experience is as indispensible as the edible consummables are, so the venue choice was quite narrow: Dorchester or Berkeley. I couldn't get a timely booking at the Dorchester, so Berkeley had to do... and off we went to Berkeley.

I am used to having my own 'afternoon tea time' at Liberty or Partridges accompanied with scones and jam... but this afternoon tea is in a league of its own.

the magical tray of nibbles
the shotglasses were supposed to be something from Valentino, Ungaro and Blahnik
We were booked for 2PM and stayed all the way till the end. We had such a good time chatting and catching up, and we practically sampled everything that was provided. We also watched the Caramel Room scenery changed as customers came and went and waiters changed their work shifts - it started off with ladies and ended up with lads. I'm trying to list down the things I learnt about proper afternoon tea today.

First, there were no scones in sight.

Second, afternoon tea at Berkeley is basically like a lunch buffet. You get bite-sized servings of sandwiches and savoury bits, and you get the fancy-looking, nice-tasting, fashion-emblazoned sweet little creations. Aaaaaand... the plates are refilled when they run low.
(Just come early and skip lunch altogether.)

Third, you can stay till the service ends at 6PM.
(Stay back and pig out on the refill service.)

Fourth, drink all you like... as long as it's tea.
(Anything else are charged. Steep.)

At the end, we got offered to bring home the remaining little cakes and biscuits in our plate. Tissa's plan to get more 'of that smoked salmon' failed miserably; we quickly finished up anything they put on the lower trays so that they are refilled with savoury nibbles. Well, towards the end we had nothing but sweet, and had to be content bringing them home ^__^ Probably we should've asked the kitchen... nevermind :q

Recounting the experience, afternoon tea left me with these things: frivolous little sweets, precious moments, an injured bank account and allergic rashes on my back. Probably I should've stayed clear of the bubbly ^^;

Anya Hindmarch! ;D
Special mention goes to Gincu, who suggested me to try Pret-a-Portea sometime last year. Thanks for the info, we had a good time ^^

Anyway, have a nice day! :D

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