The Ritz London was opened in 1906 and has been host to a number of famous people in its history (Charlie Chaplin, Churchill, foreign and domestic royalty). Located just outside Green Park Station, it is very close to a number of other famous afternoon teas.
The Ritz brand is highly renowned, so a reservation is absolutely necessary if you are going for afternoon tea in The Palm Court.
The interior is very nice with palm trees, fresh flowers, and live music. (We had a pianist during our tea, but they often have a soprano with string quartet, a harpist, and a string quartet.)
The major downsides to The Palm Court were the crowded nature of the dining room as well as the the fact that The Palm Court is right off the main thoroughfare of the hotel. The tables are so close that you can easily hear the conversations of the tables next to you. We were also seating with a table directly behind us; so it felt like we were in a classroom with the people behind us staring at our backs the whole time.
They had a nice tea selection, but you are only able to effectively choose one. After specifically asking, we were told that we could change teas if we wanted, but were never able to do so. When they served the tea, we were also given hot water at the same time (in case our tea became too strong… why do some places serve tea like this?).
Since I’m unable to eat salmon, I informed the restaurant of this beforehand. Once again, they had lost this detail, but were able to accommodate without issue.
There were definitely plenty of sandwiches (these were about 1/3 sized slices of bread). Of the sandwiches, the Egg Mayonnaise and Cheddar Cheese with Chutney were the best. The Egg Mayonnaise had pieces of chopped shallots which added a nice crunch. The Cheddar Cheese with Chutney was nice, but it was the Tomato Bread that made the sandwich with its strong tomato flavor.
The Cucumber sandwich on the other hand, was not good. It was far too soggy; the bread was even waterlogged.
Without even getting through half of the sandwiches, we were asked if we wanted our scones. The scones eventually came out with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
They were a bit of a disappointment. A little burned on the bottom, and they tasted burnt. I also could have used a little more of a crust.
The desserts were an improvement. The lemon macarons were nice with cream and curd in the center, but should have had a little more of a crust. The pound cake was tasty, but not especially fantastic. The passion fruit mousse was tangy and sweet while being light and fluffy. The best was the choux pastry with its cookie crust (delightful) and cream filling.
Finally, there were two different cakes on offer: chocolate hazelnut and coffee cake and rhubarb cake. Both were good, but neither really stood out as being amazing.
I was pretty disappointed. I had been told that the service would be impeccable, the food fantastic, and be one of the best afternoon teas in London. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
All of the other tables were offered seconds and were attentively served, but we weren’t. We needed to seek out someone for everything.
The food had some highlights, but also had some bad points.
This tea just did not match its reputation. Unless you’re mainly going for the history, I would pass. It’s just not really worth the trouble of making a reservation months in advance for just an ok tea.
Tea 2.5/5, one choice (refillable), good variety
The Ritz London
Seating daily from 11:30, 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30