Afternoon Tea at The English Tea Room, Brown’s Hotel

London, UK
January 2016

Established in 1837, Brown’s Hotel is in the middle of Mayfair between Green Park (5 minute walk) and Piccadilly Circus (8 minute walk) Stations.

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Brown’s Hotel’s English Tea Room is reminiscent to a club room with its wood paneling and fires.  The cosiness of these rooms is furthered by the various rooms and little nooks you can sit in.

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Due to it’s low lighting (designed by Paul Smith), it has a good feel in the winter and later in the evenings when it’s darker outside.  Although, you probably wouldn’t want to go when it’s a bright and lovely day.

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To start, a quote that personifies The English Tea Room philosophy.

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Then, a little history of tea at Brown’s Hotel.

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Finally, a bit on the history of afternoon tea in general.

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Then, there’s the tea menu.  Lots to choose from, but again you can only choose one.

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I eventually decided on the Cornish Grown Tea, which was a nice black tea blend.  Halfway through, we were asked if we wanted a refill of tea and were given a new pot with new tea leaves.  So the tea was fresh and not bitter.

The menu didn’t give away any secrets, so we weren’t too sure what we were getting.

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We were told that all of the food items were unlimited, but we only tested this with the sandwiches.

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The sandwiches overall were just ok.  For some of them, the bread was a little stale having been prepared beforehand and left sitting out.  None of the sandwiches were really standouts or inventive, but the tomato, cheese, and chutney sandwich was the best, followed by the coronation chicken on bagel.

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After we finished the sandwiches, we were asked what cake slices we wanted from the trolley (already… and before scones).  They had two different kinds, so we got one of each.  (We didn’t actually eat them until after the other sweets.)  The lemon meringue was pleasantly tart with a nice bite to cut the sweetness of the meringue.  The orange and chocolate cake was a dark chocolate cake with a little bitterness that was nice with the Cornish Grown Tea.  I didn’t really get much of an orange flavor though.

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The scones, clotted cream, and jam came quickly after the cake slices were added to the table.  The scones were a little too soft and dense without any crust for my liking, but the flavors were still good.  The ramekins for the clotted cream and jam were as big as the scones!

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The sweets were pretty interesting, with some better than others.  We started with the giant avocado macaron.  The macaron, itself, was hard and hollow inside and tasted like food coloring.  The cream inside didn’t really taste like avocado or anything for that matter.  Moving on, we had the apple tart.  It had a nice pastry, and the apples were soft with a hint of vinegar and carbonation.  The coconut mousse with tropical fruit was light and had a nice balance between sweetness and sourness.  The rose choux pastry was a surprise.  At first bite, the rose flavor was really overpowering.  After the second bite, I found the raspberry.  The tartness of the raspberry mellowed out the rose and sweet flavors and become very pleasant.  The last one ended up being the best.  The chocolate toffee cake was rich and sweet with just enough saltiness to even things out.

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With the bill, we each were given The Brown’s Afternoon Blend tea leaves to take home, which was a nice touch.

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I was a little disappointed with the sandwiches (mainly) and scones, but was so happy to finally be getting any service at all.  We didn’t have to constantly look around to find someone and then try to get their attention.  We were able to actually enjoy ourselves without having to put in work.  A little pricey for what you get, but very enjoyable on a winter evening.

Tea 2/5, one choice (refillable), good variety
Food 3.25/5
Atmosphere 4/5
Service 4/5
Overall 3.5/5 (rounding up)

Brown’s Hotel
Seatings from 12:00pm to 6:30pm daily

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