The French oddly renamed the afternoon tea tradition “tea-time”, perhaps as an excuse to take a few liberties and make it “à la française”. The Bristol Hotel Paris Afternoon Tea has recently been revamped after being in place for a few years. Let’s see if the new tea time is as good as it used to be:
The Setting ★★★★★
Located near the “Palais de l’Elysée”, the Bristol Hotel Paris is a magnificent establishment, one of the best five-star hotels in the country. Everything is tastefully decorated in the 18th-century style, for your enjoyment whether you’re having your tea at Café Antonia or simply walking around the hotel corridors.
The staff is very welcoming and will happily share a few anecdotes which may remind you of the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. Remember to ask about the story behind the lift/elevator and to meet the Bristol Hotel Paris resident cat: Fa-raon, who peacefully enjoys his five-star hotel cat life.
I could write a whole article on the beauty of the Bristol Hotel Paris but a few good pictures are better than a thousand words (these pictures were taken between 2015 and 2018, hence the discrepancies in decoration):
Whether you’ll take the tea indoors in “Café Antonia” or outdoors in the courtyard/garden “Jardin français”, this tea will be perfect for guests who enjoy art, luxurious hotels and tranquillity. I strongly recommend to visit the “Jardin français” and weather permitting, to have the afternoon tea there.
The Café Antonia (2018)
The Café Antonia is named after Marie-Antoinette and it does succeed in making you feel like royalty. The atmosphere is on par with the hotel: grandiose and luxurious.
If you fancy a bit of privacy, I suggest sitting in the red salon, which is located at the back of the Café Antonia.
Le Jardin Français (2018)
Spring is upon us and the Jardin Français is now open for afternoon tea. The flowers are blooming and the corner behind the Epicure restaurant is more beautiful than ever (pictures 1 & 2 below) so do take a stroll around the whole garden.
I especially enjoy the quaint feeling of the courtyard. You may even meet the Bristol’s resident cat Fa-raon, who is often seen roaming the garden in the late afternoon.
Click here to read about/see the Jardin Français back in 2015-2017:
Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
There is a generous selection of teas: black, green, white, oolong and infusions. Each guest can choose two beverages with the tea-time menu, which can then be refilled at will. An extra beverage will cost you 15€.
I especially recommend the “Sencha Yamato”, a deliciously refreshing green tea, as well as “Paris est une Fête” and the “Jardin des Poêtes”, both excellent choices. The hot chocolate is a marvel, however, I do not suggest ordering it too early, it will kill your appetite!
The “two beverages per guest” limit may be a problem thus it’s preferable that each guest orders a different beverage, as the unlimited refills will allow you to easily share it with your party.
Click here to read about/see the teas and afternoon teas back in 2015-2017:
The Food: The Bristol Hotel Paris afternoon tea (2018)
The chef Eric Fréchon and the pastry chef Julien Alvarez took on the challenge of designing the new Bristol Paris afternoon tea, which hadn’t changed in years.
The bar has been set very high, as the 2015-17 version was simply marvellous in every aspect. Let’s see if the new afternoon tea can hold its own:
The Savouries ★★★☆☆ (2018)
Back in 2015, the savoury bites were the strongest aspect of this afternoon tea. I’m afraid that they are now the weakest. Each guest is served three sandwiches:
- Chicken club sandwich (egg, tomato, lettuce and chicken)
- Vegetarian club sandwich (avocado, aubergine, tomato confit and tzatziki)
- Veal sandwich (parmesan, roquette salad and veal)
The sandwiches are tasty but feel very run-of-the-mill compared to what I was expecting. Then again, the previous ones were among the best I had ever tasted.
Click here to read about/see the Savouries back in 2015-2017:
The Scone ★★★★★ (2018)
Each guest is served with a single scone but it should be more than enough as it is huge! The “Orange Peel & Yuzu Scone” is so delicious and moist that it can be eaten whole without any toppings.
Each scone is served with crème fraîche and three different sorts of jam (apricot, strawberry and blueberry).
Click here to read about/see the Scones, Muffins & Madeleines back in 2015-2017:
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★ (2018)
The Afternoon Tea Cakes
Sweet-toothed guests will be happy to see that the new cakes are as mouthwatering as the previous edition’s petits-fours.
The middle plate is home to the most elaborate cakes with flavours that will please even the most demanding gourmets:
- Corsican Cervione Hazelnuts & Praline Cream Eclair
- Blood Orange & White Chocolate Streusel cake topped with a mixture of fresh Blood Oranges & Nepalese Pepper
- Caramel & Chocolate Sablé cake topped with torrefied cacao
The top-plate features three French specialities which are now internationally famous:
- Pink Praline & Apple Brioche
- Canelé Bordelais
- Honey & Lemon Madeleine
The à-la-carte Pastries & The Pastry Tray
Guests who do not wish to go with the full afternoon tea can order à-la-carte (one beverage and one pastry costs 30€)
The pastries (which are refrigerated) are brought on a plate from the kitchen while the cakes are displayed on a tray in front of the bar.
- Chocolate Pearl Cake with Raspberry Coulis
- Raspberry Tartlet
- Yuzu Puff pastry with Vanilla Chantilly Cream and Pear Coulis heart
- Chocolate Black Forest with Chocolate Sablé, Amarena Cherry and Vanilla Chantilly Cream finish
- Mango Cheesecake on a Parmesan Sablé coated with raw Mango
- Strawberry Tartlet
- Cakes, Canéles, Madeleines…
I only sampled the mango cheesecake, which is as heavenly as it is inventive. Every pastry looks gorgeous and sounds even more appetising once you hear about the contents.
Tea & pastry: 30€; Pastry: 22€ Cake: 18€
Click here to read about/see the Petits Fours & Pastries back in 2015-2017:
The Service ★★★★☆ (2018)
The Bristol Hotel Paris is quite welcoming for a Parisian luxury hotel: the atmosphere is quite laid-back compared to what you might see at the Ritz or at the Meurice.
The Café Antonia team is professional, courteous and knowledgeable about each aspect of this tea time. Below is a presentation of the afternoon tea and the à-la-carte pastries by our amazing waiter, Guillaume (in French):
Click here to read about the Service back in 2015-2017:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★ (2018)
The Bristol Hotel Paris Afternoon Tea has changed drastically since last year and even though it isn’t as good a deal as it used to be, it’s still a fantastic experience that is bound to delight both gourmets and tea lovers.
I recommend going on a beautiful day so you can sit in the Jardin Français: this garden seems to get more and more beautiful each year.
+: A magnificent Hotel at a great location within Paris 8
+: The Jardin Français, a gorgeous garden
+: Solid tea & beverage selection
+: The food, original and delicious
+: Good service
-: The 2015-17 tea time will be missed
-: The Savouries
-: No bookings
Phone: +33 (0)1 53 43 43 42
Click here to read the article’s Conclusion back in 2015-2017: