After a glass of wine in Gordon's Wine Bar near Embankment, a stroll around the shops in Covent Garden, and a another glass of wine (mulled) in the historical Lamb and Flag pub (see below and look at the AMAZING Christmas decorations!),
we headed across Leicester Square and Piccadilly towards Green Park and The Ritz.
Opened in 1906, The Ritz Hotel is synonymous worldwide for being the cream of the crop- cream being the operative word, as we arrived in good time for our tea (the hotel likes you to be there at least 15 minutes before the start). Coats hung in the luxury (free) cloakroom, and after a trip to the extremely posh loos, we were shown to our seats by a
Our seats were fabulous this year, with both of us getting a good view of the opulent decorations, and more importantly, the festive carol singers (a perk of booking a tea at Christmas). Our allocated waiter was just as attentive as our welcoming waitress, and immediately bought to our table a glass of champagne each (always keenly received!) and talked us through our tea menu. Which was just divine. Finger sandwiches included: egg mayo, cucumber, ham and mustard, smoked salmon and cheddar and pickle.
After sandwiches, fresh, warm scones are delivered to each table complete with artery-clogging clotted cream and strawberry jam.
At the top of our cake stand, beautiful mini patisseries awaited, ranging from diddy chocolate slices, to mini white chocolate tarts with fresh raspberries.
During our tea, another waiter appeared and offered us Ritz Christmas cake as well as apple cake (by this point mum and I could only manage to share a slice of Christmas cake we were that stuffed!). And of course, how could I forget the actual tea! We opted for classic Ritz breakfast tea, but there was a wide range of other fruit and herbal teas to choose from if desired.
Despite forgoing eating throughout the day in preparation (yes, we do treat this a bit like an annual sport), we got to a point where we physically couldn't eat anymore even if we wanted to. However, gluttons will be pleased to know that there is no limit on the amount of food you can eat, and waiters will keep bringing you more of whatever you want over the 2 hours that you have to eat tea at your leisure. Which makes the £60 each you pay for the tea worthwhile! After eavesdropping at a nearby table with a mum and two young girls, I was also impressed to discover that they also cater for dietary requirements and special requests providing you phone ahead- the little girl's mum had pre-ordered veggie sarnies for her, and a variety of unusual fillings for her daughters (avocado and tuna?), plus they had hot chocolate instead of tea, and a mocktail instead of champers.
I have to say that this tea is starting to become a bit of a tradition for us, and long may it continue. We are rather spoilt and I have to admit that once you've been at Christmas, I don't think going at any other time of year will be the same- the carols, the decorations and the festive touches to the menu all make this a magical day out, and one that I thoroughly reccomend you treat yourself to at least once, whether you live in London or passing through. We left the place pretty much rolling out of the revolving doors, vowing as we do each year to not eat so much ever again, and also knowing that we will once more break this vow!
Christmas Cream Tea - £60 per person
The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR