The best way to grab an afternoon tea is on a sunny terrace, preferably surrounded by greenery. If you’re lucky enough to schedule your afternoon tea on a beautiful day, The Royal Horseguards Hotel is a brilliant venue.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel Setting ★★★★★
The terrace is lovely and offers a view on the Whitehall Gardens & The London Eye. It is relatively free of traffic noise, that alone make this terrace a gem on the London scale.
Otherwise, the tea can be taken in the lobby, also a nice atmosphere but it lacks the “peace and quiet feeling” of the terrace.
The Tea & Beverages ★★★★☆
Our Afternoon tea started with a glass of Tattinger Champagne which both me and my guests found deliciously refreshing and tasty.
The hotel’s exclusive blend is the “Strawberries & Cream tea” and even though I’m usually not a fan of fruity teas, I must admit this one is rather pleasing. There is a very generous collection of teas and for some strange reason, a few of them are not featured on the menu (e.g. the Pai Mu Tan, Pear & Ginger White Needle).
Unfortunately the white tea I ordered was brewed at an excessive temperature (90/95°) which resulted in the usual bitter taste, in that regard there was room for improvement. Without that little inconvenience, this would have been perfect.
The Savouries ★★★★☆
On top of the most common sandwiches of any afternoon tea (Pork, Salmon and Cucumber), you get two brioches: Crab & Cream and the Egg & Mayonnaise.
These two brioches added much needed originality to the savouries selection, the crab brioche being particularly pleasant.
The Scones ★★★★☆
The fruit and plain scones were moist and very tasty, they came with the usual strawberry jam and clotted cream.
The jam was a tad too sweet to my liking and the lack of an extra flavour is a bit of a pity, otherwise these were brilliant scones.
The Pastries ★★★★★
The highlight of the afternoon tea, the pastries were a true pleasure for both the eyes and the taste buds, with enough variety to please each guest. Note that these cannot be refilled for free, fair enough considering the amount of work put into them.
The “Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Tart With Maple Mousse” (on the left in the pictures) was my favourite, along with the “Raspberry & Rose Crumble Choux Bun” (in the middle in the pictures).
I am normally not a huge fan of lemon flavours but the “White Chocolate, Coconut & Lime Cake” and the “Lemon Macaron” were delicious.
I was slightly disappointed with the “Triangular Strawberry Jam Sponge” (on the right in the pictures), the Swiss Meringue was flavoured with chamomile and I personally favour it plain, once again a rather subjective matter.
The Service ★★★★☆
Sara and the rest of the team were friendly, efficient and within reach despite the fact that we were sitting on the terrace. Akim kindly offered us some refills and always made sure we had a pleasant afternoon.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
So far this is the best terrace in London for an afternoon tea, and that alone makes it one of my favourites for this summer.
If you have it on the terrace, it’s a five-star rating. Indoors, a four-star rating.
+: Beautiful hotel, great location
+: Gorgeous terrace with a view of the Whitehall Gardens
+: Delicious savouries, scones & pastries.
+: Efficient service
-: You’ll have to pray for some sun
-: White/Green tea was brewed too hot
-: Capricious wifi