I recently had the opportunity to experience afternoon with a twist. In light of the recently released version of the much loved tale by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book Afternoon Tea at St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel , is phenomenal.
The team at the hotel have re-interpreted the tale with each component of the afternoon tea being given a playful twist.
The menu is offered at their in house Kona restaurant and despite being a few minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace, entering the private courtyard means leaving the hustle and bustle behind.
The experience starts before you even reach your table, with a wonderful spread at the table in keeping with the underlying theme of the afternoon.
There is a choice of teas to try and we went for the masala chai, an infusion of spices providing a perfect accompaniment to the treats on offer.
In addition to the tea, you can accompany the proceedings with champagne, which we did of course.
First to arrive were the sandwiches, which were suitably themed without straying too far from the traditional versions.
The humble egg mayo got a hint of spicy with addition of some curry in a brioche bun that was so soft and scrumptious that I would have happily eaten the bun on its own!
Meanwhile even the normally plain old cucumber sandwich got a spruce up with some crème fraiche with a hint of mint while taking away nothing from the familiar crunch of cucumber.
Smoked salmon, in the customary bagel was paired with lightly spicy yoghurt instead of cream cheese with the yoghurt actually bringing lightness and enhancing the smokiness of the salmon.
Another choice, which is a particularly popular one for the veggie corner was their take on the humble ploughman’s sarnie filled with lovely cheese and the twist here being the addition of mango chutney.
Wrapping things up, (literally and figuratively!) there was a chicken wrap but with coronation chicken and a hint of sultanas which was totally yummy!
Sandwiches were followed by scrumptious scones accompanied with traditional clotted cream and preserves. Staff were considerate enough to provide me with additional orange preserve once I mentioned by strawberry allergy to them.
I liked the fact that even the scones were of three different flavours, sultanas, chocolate chip scones and traditional scones and I can confirm that all three were delicious! Surprisingly, my favourite was actually the chocolate chip with clotted cream for a slightly less common flavour.
And now, to jump into the favourite part of my meal…the treats! Each one was quite different to what I have had in other afternoon teas.
My guilty pleasure was actually the masala chai éclair with a strip of tiger print chocolate dedicated to Shere Khan. I could not stop gorging on these! The little piece of Shere Khan imprinted chocolate on the top was literally the “icing on the cake.”
Other notable mentions were for the cupcakes which had their own twist as while they look plain and simple from the outside, they had a soft centre filled with softened sweet pineapple and the cream itself was chilli infused! On paper it did not look like it might work, but in the mouth it was very moreish and can actually get you in trouble because the more you have the cupcakes the more heat you get and then, to overcome it you will want something sweet….yes, you guessed it, more of the same cupcake!!
The Bandar log was also scrumptious with spiced banoffee and saffron cream. The flavours really complimented each other really well.
Mowgli’s Jungle Pink Guava and Sweet Basil Jelly was divine. Served beautifully and the perfect balance of flavours.
The Jungle Book Afternoon Tea costs £35 per person and you if you fancy bubbles with it, £45 per person. This is so reasonably priced in comparison to other afternoon tea’s and the experience is fantastic.
The effort that has gone into the theme is apparent and really enjoyable. The service at the Taj is superb too.
The best part about this special edition afternoon tea is that aside from raising awareness about endangered species, proceeds from the menu as well as sales of 2000 limited edition hard cover Jungle Book literature books will go towards the Born Free Foundation, who focus on Tiger Conservation work in India, which is home to more than half of the world’s wild tigers.
For more information and to book the Jungle Book Afternoon Tea go to http://www.taj51buckinghamgate.co.uk/Fine-dining/Afternoon-tea
Disclaimer: Our Afternoon tea was complimentary but all photos and views are my own.