I kicked off my first ever 24 hours baby-free in style when I went to London the week before last, with an afternoon tea at The Capital hotel in upmarket Knightsbridge. Set just round the corner from Harrods, this is a seriously swanky venue that oozes class. It felt like a million miles from my sleepy Devon village, as I walked past people rushing around dressed head to toe in shiny designer labels, carrying armfuls of shopping probably worth more than my house.
My partners for the afternoon were long time blogging pals Emma and Jane, to celebrate Jane turning 21 (cough). The sun was shining, showing the street in all its well manicured, shiny doored London beauty.
The Capital hotel is the kind of place I imagine foreign tourists would come to, to experience London like they see in the movies. It’s very Hugh Grant, “proper” English, with uniformed doormen standing on pavements that gleam cleaner than my kitchen floor. Lovely.
The afternoon tea was booked via afternoontea.co.uk, a website specialising helping people find the perfect venue for their afternoon tea, with offerings across the UK. They didn’t disappoint with The Capital, which gave us just the right amount of treat factor required for celebrating a birthday and a long-anticipated reunion between three old friends.
I should be honest here and admit that we didn’t clear our plates. The food was absolutely delicious, but with an awards ceremony to go to that evening which included a three course meal, we were well aware we may not fit into our chosen outfits for the night. My suggestion – if you want to go all-out and really go to town with this then book it on a day when you can lounge around in elasticated waisted jogging pants afterwards. Seriously.
The first course came out on dainty cake platters, with crustless sandwiches filled with egg mayonnaise and ham and mustard, along with toast topped with cucumber and tuna, toasted muffins with smoked salmon and cream cheese and tiny, melt-in-the-mouth quiches. We had a three page menu of different types of tea to choose from to accompany our food. I went with my constant tea of choice, Earl Grey. It was delicious.
The setting was a quiet room upstairs in the hotel, overlooking the street below. Tables were covered with crisp white tablecloths and adorned with pretty fresh roses. It felt like everything you’d hope an afternoon tea in London to be.
Following the savoury course, we were brought out platters of cakes, including mini bakewell tarts, icecream sandwiches, mini Victoria sponges and all sorts of other delicacies. We chatted, and chatted and chatted. Ordering bellinis to help wash down all that cake, followed by a bottle of wine. The service was quick, friendly and helpful – with our waiter offering advice about tea and wine choices.
The afternoon tea was finished with a selection of plain and fruit scones, clotted cream and jam. Since moving to Devon I’ve become a bit of a regular on the scone scene and know what I like from a good scone. It needs to be served warm, so the butter melts, with a slightly toasted, crisp outside hiding a soft, fluffy centre. These scones didn’t disappoint.
We left The Capital in high spirits, excited about the evening ahead and full to the brim with food, tea and laughter. A perfect way to celebrate with friends and kick off the night.
Our cycle back on Boris Bikes to Kensington was a bit slower than the way there though, predictably.