Afternoon Tea Unlimited

There is only one prerequisite you need in order to go for afternoon tea in the Rosebery Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park: be ravenous. And I don’t mean be just a bit peckish thinking you’ll have a cup of tea, a dry sandwich and a piece of cake. I mean this is my only meal of the day hungry. Trust me on this one, now let’s find out why…

On the surface, the Rosebery offers a fairly standard afternoon tea selection. Sandwiches, scones and cakes all accompanied by a variety of teas. However, both the selection and quality are what really stands out. Everything is delivered to perfection, the serving is carefully considered and especially when pouring tea or sake it takes the form of a ritual.

All afternoon tea options start with the following sandwiches:

  • Roasted chicken shawarma, pickled turnip, lettuce
  • Finest Cotswold egg with black truffle
  • Confit tuna, spring onion , piquillo pepper, green olives, oregano
  • Teriyaki salmon, asparagus with pickled ginger
  • Portland crab, wasabi tobiko, crayfish, miso, coriander with yuzu
  • Braised beef, watercress and horseradish

The Cotswold egg with black truffle was my personal favourite, while my husband thoroughly enjoyed the Portland crab.

Following proper afternoon tea tradition, next up came two types of scones – plain and raisin – accompanied by appropriately thick Devonshire clotted cream and traditional strawberry jam. Unique to The Rosebery was also a rather delightful rose petal jam, along with a delicious lemon curd spread.

Finally, you are offered hand-made pastries: apricot and verbena cherry and pistachio streusel, banoffee espresso dome and an apple tatin. These are accompanied by mignardises: raspberry and coconut pavlova, wild strawberry religieuse and chocolate éclair.

All of this is accompanied by various teas which can be paired to the food by the knowledgeable staff. The staff are friendly and willing to chat to you about what might appeal to you best or how to push your boundaries if you feel like it. We had three different teas each, but for me the Hōjicha really stood out with its distinctive flavour that was very different to your typical tea. As for my husband, as he has a sweet tooth, chocolate vanilla did it for him.

At £56 for the base afternoon tea, the above may seem nice but perhaps a bit pricey. Now for the unexpected bonus: the sandwiches, scones and teas are unlimited. Yes – unlimited. Finished your plate of sandwiches? In only moments a staff member will be along to offer to restock your plate, be it only the ones you liked or the full spread. Similarly, you can have as many teas as you like throughout the experience although note some do carry a supplemental charge.

That’s the traditional tea experience. However The Rosebery also offer alcoholic supplements for an extra charge. We did the sake and wine supplements, however there’s also supplements for bubbles and beer. It added another level to the whole experience and proved to be a great value for money too!

The beer, wine and sake supplements offer three choices that are matched and served with the sandwiches, scones and cakes. For the sake supplement, two very rare sakes were on offer as well as a more common “Oka” Ginjo. The wines were all delicious Alsatian Grand Crus and in both cases were paired with the food to perfection. We can’t wait to go back and sample the beer supplement! The sake and wine supplements were £19 and £17 extra respectively, with the beer supplement coming in at £14. Each of these serve three different and matching drinks.

I think now you understand why I emphasised why you should come to this event on an empty stomach. I learned the hard way – I had a huge breakfast at Breakfast by Mandarin Oriental that finished only hours before this wonderful tea experience. Even worse, afternoon tea was had knowing that three hours later I had a reservation for Dinner by Heston! Learn from my mistake and come prepared… to eat a lot! I wouldn’t make any dinner reservation on that day either. Oh, and prepare to stay longer. I would suggest for several hours. Enjoy your company, the beautiful tea room and the anecdotes delivered by the staff alongside the pure deliciousness for your tastebuds.

Of course, if you are there to celebrate a special occasion, let the staff know in advance and they will prepare something exquisite as a surprise.

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