If it's not for Big Ben, Parliament or the Tower Bridge, London is undoubtedly known for its afternoon tea. And it was imparted upon me that my trip to London would be horribly incomplete if I did not spend an afternoon at the Wolseley. So I booked my reservation and took off across Green Park on a sunny fall day to embrace the British tradition.
A handsomely dressed server offered me a selection of teas and I chose the Afternoon Blend (it was "Afternoon Tea," after all). I took in the beautiful architecture and interior while I waited for the glorious show that was about to ensue. And was it glorious.
First, the tea arrived. A large polished silver pot with a matching creamer and strainer. I carefully and deliberately measured milk and sugar, straining and sipping on my delicate cup of Afternoon Blend. Of course, I know not the way to make a perfect cup of English tea, but I did my best, observing those around me. Feel free to leave tips in the comments for next time.
Before I knew it, the coup de grace arrived: a tall tower of delightful treats. The base level held a variety of finger sandwiches, from smoked salmon, to cucumber, celery and turkey. Glutton or not, I tried every mouthwatering one of them.
Again, I did not hold back, sampling each of the sweet treats.
At the tippity top of the trio, beneath an intriguing and mysterious silver dome, were two homemade scones, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
I've never had clotted cream before. Wow. And clotted cream in addition to homemade scones and jam? It was almost too overwhelming to the palate. I needed a moment to soak in and appreciate that one. Absolutely beyond delightful. Thankfully no known arteries were harmed in the process.
Beyond the incredible charm of the tea, treats, environment, presentation and service, the Wolseley is amazing for its fabulous people-watching potential. Guests around me openly discussed details of their varied lives, from business associates, to clearly close friends and mother and daughter combos enjoying the bonding experience of a tea and hot chocolate together.
I spent more than an hour soaking it all up, making notes for the Project, nibbling and sipping.
I was well-advised with the recommendation: my trip absolutely would have been remiss without the experience of a British Afternoon Tea and the Wolseley did me right.
What is your favorite spot in London for a spot of tea?