Tired of the classical afternoon tea, Earl Grey, scones and clotted cream? Go for the wow factor and try the fashion version at The Berkeley. A mini catwalk made entirely of sweets, inspired by the latest designer collection and served on colourful china created by Paul Smith. After haute-couture, taste haute-pâtisserie!
Savoury treats are still on the menu – different kind of bread even a delicious mini-bun. But also fragrant and palate-pleasing spoonfuls of salmon sashimi wrapped in poppy seeds, elegant crab curry, beef satay rich in peanut taste, wasabi infused mousse, pepper gazpacho spiced with a drop of tabasco… All very velvety in texture, concentrated in flavours to smoothly wake up the tastebuds.
Forget scones - you will not need those with the gorgeous festival awaiting you. Masterpieces with sugar taking leopard or rainbow hues, folding like fabric, being hemmed in amazing shapes. How skillful to reinvent the luxurious dresses in a sweet way! And so you will mmmmh on the Dolce and Gabana bag in braided chocolate, hiding a bite of moist blueberry cake. You will alternate spoonfuls of the Mulberry inspired dessert in pastel hues (mint cream, white chocolate, a cloud of raspberry mousse topped with a lemon curd meringue) and the Jason Wu one (a cherry bavarois with an exotic coconut cream and on top a sugar pink dress showing a leg and high heel). You will bite into biscuits dedicated to Louboutin‘s red soles and Miu Miu 1950ies glamorous red bikini. Michael Kor‘s leopard signature also brings a touch of sublime to the best opéra I have tasted so far, rivaling easily with Parisian versions of the cake – dense, creamy, rich. As fantastic is the art deco triangle reflecting the metallic touches of a Gucci dress: a decadent Valrhona mousse with a hint of Grand-Marnier and golden jeweled popping candy to catch the light. You will hesitate to cut into the Valentino pyramid – under the multicolour white chocolate frosting is a heart of the most delicate champagne jelly. Keep the Fendi till last – this red and white striped vanilla cake hides a strawberry cream closed with an edible giant button.
The usual selection of teas (Earl Grey, Assam…) is available but the range also includes tempting choices like caramel-pear or mint-chocolate truffle. Also a must-try, the fabulous fruit infusions. Nothing to do with boring tea bags, we are talking candied fruit, a very delicate drink when infused with hot water. much more refreshing than a tea and matches the cakes perfectly. Funky Fruits, Posh Pomelo & Melon, Luscious Lemon and Amazing Apple, Gorgeous Ginger (a gem) are sure to surprise you. And I guarantee you will not resist eating the fruit after your last sip.
Verdict? The perfect afternoon tea after an afternoon shopping (Harvey Nichols is a two minutes walk from there), with girlfriends, after a fashion-themed exhibition (think Louboutin at the Design Museum until July 09 2012 or Ballgowns a the V&A until January 06 2013). This will switch the day from perfect to memorable. Not to be missed either, from May 29 to June 09, the Jubilee version, presenting some of the iconic hats worn by the royal family.
(Gluten and nut free alternatives are available – just let the hotel know a minimum of 24 hours in advance)