Of all meal occasions my favourite might just be Gluten Free Afternoon Tea. Laid back comfort, relaxation & conversation. Gorgeous teas you have never heard of unless you are a level 10 fancy tea explorer. Cute sandwiches. Let me be clear. Cute cucumber sandwiches. Scones. Oh my goodness, scones. Meaningless debate over whether cream or jam goes on the scone first. It does not matter so long as there is cream and jam and scones. What comes after scones? Desserts of course!
So yeah I love Afternoon Tea. In addition to my own reviews of London County Hall and Aldwych One I love to find new places to go via Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes and Endless Distances. I am constantly in catch up mode compared to those prolific ladies. Once I become independently wealthy and no longer work for money I will catch up! Maybe . . .
Corinthia Hotel – Comfort, Style & Service
Afternoon tea is served in the Crystal Moon Lounge. This is a bright, light, spacious place with an amazing Baccarat chandelier and beautiful central floral display. Chairs are of the genuinely comfy kind. No hard wood or sharp angles. Tables are set far enough apart from one another that each group has a measure of privacy and conversation is easy.
Service included smiles, advice, tolerance for bad jokes and waiting patiently whilst pictures were taken of food. Of all the places I have enjoyed afternoon tea this was the one where the tea itself flowed most generously. We were offered new brews of any kind we liked at least six times!
Corinthia Hotel – Free From Credentials
Safety was never in doubt. My gluten free requirement was confirmed back to me on arrival. Every plate was carefully pointed out as gluten free when being served. My dining partner was instructed not to touch our shared jams and cream for scones until I had. My desserts were brought out separate to the regular dessert trolley.
Some nice to have improvements? There is no mention of gluten free being on offer on the Corinthia website. This is frustratingly common. If you offer it why not say so? There are also no dedicated gluten free menus so you must rely on the staff – excellent staff – to tell you and sometimes remind you what you are receiving. One more? I am pushing it a bit perhaps but I was rather envious of the choice offered by the dessert trolly! Unlike regular diners I had no choices to make.
Corinthia Hotel – Afternoon Tea
The tea menu is among the best, quality and choice, of any I have found. Blacks, greens, whiles, oolongs, rooibos and fruit infusions. However, curses! As I revisit the menu now to remind myself of what I sampled I see there is also hot chocolate served with marshmallows, cream and chocolate splinters! Why was I not offered this? I am docking half a point.
Finger sandwiches are present and correct. The gluten free bread is nothing special but is soft and firm and moist enough that they sandwiches are pleasant. Cucumber and radish were in the mix of fillings. I was satisfied. We can progress.
Okay, critical point, scones. These were served inside warmed tea towels. I appreciate the intent of keeping the scones warm until they are going to be eaten. No scone is going to survive very long in my presence however and these were teeny tiny scones too. Couple of bite sized. Condiments were being shared between myself and my non-gluten free partner so I took everything first. From other reviews I have read of separate servings and I am sure these would be provided if asked and served by default in a larger group.
Something delightful, in addition to clotted cream and strawberry jam there was a rhubarb and tonka bean jam. This little flavour combination was a hit! Punchy, tangy, sweet and smooth. If I had taken a second round of scones they would all have been topped with this lovely spread.
Finally the fancies! Whilst regular diners pick from a dessert tray I was served a ready prepared set of gluten free desserts. Like the scones each were couple of bite sized and therefore easy to enjoy. Between a brownie, pistachio cake and two mousses nothing leaped out but all were at least nice.
Corinthia Hotel – Recommendation
I have enjoyed Gluten Free Afternoon Teas at St. James Hotel, Brasserie 108, Covent Garden Hotel, Aldwych One, County Hall and a very exclusive one off special at Beyond Bread that would be tough to beat. My expectations are ever increasing.
How did Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel compare?
Setting – My favourite yet thanks to the lovely light, bright & spacious room with comfy, cozy and intimate seating
Service – Friendly and welcoming and very capable, best in class
Food – Nice albeit very conventional and nothing amazing. Teeny tiny scones and a limited selection of gluten-free desserts relative to the regular array. Rhubarb and tonka bean jelly for the scones was a lovely highlight
Teas – The best I have experienced anywhere. Diverse and premium and lovely range of black, green, white, oolong, rooibos & herbal teas
I recommend Corinthia Hotel for an extremely high class and comfortable Afternoon Tea. I am sure that there would have been second rounds of anything had I asked for so the relatively small portions are not a complaint.
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