The seasonal Afternoon Teas at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane have always been incredible, and this Spring/Summer, they’ve collaborated with the Chelsea Physic Garden for a Garden Tea, which I was invited to preview. It was perfect timing as London had just started to bloom and so I was excited to see what the Garden Tea would be like. The Chelsea Physic Garden, which is the oldest botanical garden in London, was originally established in 1673 by Apothecaries to grow medicinal plants. It is now high on my list of places I want to visit during the summer as it sounds lovely.
Along with my blogger friend Angie, we arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane in the Amaranto lounge, where the Afternoon Teas are usually held, to an absolutely stunning table set with beautiful tableware and so many amazing pretty flowers! It was magical.
In true Four Seasons fashion, we were given a chilled glass of Veuve-Clicquot to enjoy whilst we mingled with the directors of the Chelsea Physic Garden and got to know a little bit more about the collaboration as well as about the gardens.
We were then seated at the gorgeous table and Executive Pastry Chef David Oliver explained the inspiration behind the pastries that we were about to enjoy and all the seasonal ingredients and flavours he had chosen for each one. It all sounded so incredible and looked fantastic and I couldn’t wait to try it all!
As a nod to the history of the Chelsea Physic Garden, we started our afternoon tea in a slightly different way, with a tasting of hot chocolate, made from an original recipe brought back to London from Jamaica by Sir Hans Sloane, the primary benefactor of the Chelsea Physic Garden, who then went on to make a fortune after the recipe was sold to Cadburys. I could see why it was in high demand as the hot chocolate was divine!
I also enjoyed my usual choice of tea – a lemongrass and ginger tea, which is absolutely delicious and as it was so light and zesty, it went perfectly with the afternoon tea.
In true afternoon tea tradition, we started first with the sandwiches and we had a choice of the classic cucumber sandwich, served in white bread with lemon butter, Cornish manuka smoked salmon paired with borage, sorrel and cream cheese in a cumin brown bread, dresh Portland crab with crème fraiche, chive and breakfast radish in a white bread, Holden’s farm Hafod cheddar cheese with pickled veg in a cocoa rye bread, and curried egg with coriander salad in a seeded Vadouvan Bread, specially made for the hotel. This was my favourite sandwich!
Then comes the debate of whether to have the scones first or the sweet selection. The consensus on the table was to start with the scones, which were warm plain and raisin scones, served with the most delicious Strawberry and Vanilla Jam, zesty Citrus Paradisi and Asam Tea and the classic clotted cream. The scones at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane are just heavenly! Thinking about them now I wish I could indulge in them all over again!
Saving the best for last, the sweet pastries created by Executive Pastry Chef David Oliver, which were all inspired by the different areas of the Chelsea Physic Garden, and which looked spectacular.
Inspired by the perfume section of the garden, and complete with a spritz of perfume from the cutest bottle, is a delicious Rose, Orange Blossom and Jasmine Mousse served on a Cinnamon and Cocoa Nib Biscuit with Spiced Cream.
Inspired by the best of British Native Plants is the Poppy and Wild Strawberry Macaron which has a hand painted intricate design on it, and was so pretty it was heartbreaking to eat it. But we did anyway!
Cocoa is a much loved treat and the Chocolate and Long Pepper Tart was just sublime! Any chocolate lover would thoroughly enjoy this one!
My absolute favourite was the Beehive, complete with a cute bee! A Honey and Oat Biscuit with a delicious combination of Blueberry Jelly, almonds and Honey. The inspiration for this was the small collection of hives at the gardens, that actually produce their own honey in late summer.
Afternoon Teas at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane are always extra special and they always find ways to go above and beyond and this time they treated us to a slice of delicious honey cake to finish the already fabulous garden tea.
The Garden Tea is so creative, delicious and really special and I can’t recommend it enough. I love the inspiration behind each pastry and it is wonderful.
Afternoon Tea is served daily from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm (last seating at 5:30 pm) in the Amaranto Lounge and starts from £42 per person or £55 including a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne.
You can find out more here.
My afternoon tea was complimentary but all views and photos remain my own.