For my second review, I will write about two afternoon teas at the same venue: The Italian “Dolce Vita” and the British “Summer Afternoon tea” at the Four Seasons Park Lane.
The Four Seasons Park Lane Setting ★★★★☆
Ideally located on Park Lane and easily accessible from Green Park & Hyde park, The Four Seasons Park Lane is as gorgeous as one could expect from such a premier location. The Afternoon tea can be served in the Amaranto Lounge & restaurant, the predominantly red and black decorations make the whole place feel quite dark at first glance but you’ll quickly forget about it since the large windows provide plenty of natural light.
Weather permitting, the tea can be served on the terrace which is also quite pleasant, unfortunately the proximity to a major road makes it a bit too noisy. Do note that the terrace cannot be booked and afternoon tea serving in only possible if a table happens to be available at your arrival.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★☆☆
There is a decent variety of JING teas (Black, Green, White, Oolong, Herbal Infusions…) though I would have wished for more actual tea and less infusions, which of course is a personal preference and I’m sure the herbal infusions will delight those who prefer to hold down on the caffeine.
The selection is varied but also very ordinary: there is no in-house blend and nothing that will really surprise you, yet you can never go wrong with an Assam or a Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea.
I especially recommend the “Iron Buddha”. Its mineral and yet floral flavour which defines a genuine Oolong is simply the best, especially fitting to drink with food.
The Savouries ★★★★☆
If your favourite part of an afternoon tea is the savouries, then I strongly recommend pre-booking the “Dolce Vita” option as there are plentiful, tastier and a lot more original than the British equivalent.
The best Italian savouries are most definitely the “Italian cheese toasts” and the “Vegetable fried sticks”. I was slightly disappointed with the “tomato toasts”, which were tasty but lacked any distinctive flavour.
My favourite Sandwich was the “Maldon cured smoked salmon with Sweet english peas”, including an honourable mention for the “Devonshire crab sandwich with Apple & Celery”.
The Scones ★★★★☆
Served with the British afternoon tea, the scones were warm, soft and tasty, one plain and one fruit. They came with clotted cream, summer red fruits jam and rhubarb vanilla preserve. The latter was especially tasty and even got the approval of my otherwise rhubarb hating friend.
Be aware, the Italian Dolce Vita comes without scones, thus I recommend ordering one Afternoon Tea of each to enjoy the best of both worlds. Considering that it’s possible to order food refills, sharing will never be a problem.
The Pastries ★★★★☆
The Italian Dolce Vita comes with cannoli, nougat and some delicious cream puffs. Though the Italian pastries are very tasty (with “Cannoli” being the best part) it is rather frugal compared to its British counterpart.
It is quite possible that the selection varies, as the Italian afternoon tea is “on demand”.
The British Summer Afternoon tea was more generous pastries wise, also a lot more beautiful to look at. I would recommend it if you want your food to be both tasty and pretty.
With six cakes in total, each unique in flavour and appearance, the “Chocolate Mousse & Hibiscus Jelly Hat” and the “Cherry and Yoghurt choux” were the best among the rest.
The “Rose Champagne” and “Lavender & Bee Pollen Cake” were very subtle in taste, so I would recommend having them first before the otherwise much sweeter pastries.
The Service ★★★★☆
Excellent, as expected from a five-star hotel. The staff are friendly and will take good care of you for the whole afternoon, frequently offering refills of both food and tea.
The tea might have been a bit slow to come once or twice, but that is to be expected on a Bank Holiday.
Bonus point, we never felt rushed and were told that we could stay as long as we wished for and the staff are very multilingual if you require explanations in your own language.
Among my favourite afternoon teas in London, I was upset when I saw that the Italian option had been taken off but gladly, it is still available on request and is tasty as ever.
So if you feel like having a treat with a touch of Britain & Italy in a single meal, do not look any further!
+: Two afternoon teas in one
+: Beautiful hotel & great location
+: Delicious food
-: The Italian tea must be pre-booked with a credit card
-: JING Tea selection lacks a bit in variety/originality