The Hotel Bristol Warsaw is the only venue in the Polish capital that serves a proper traditional afternoon tea. Luckily, it happens to be the city’s most iconic hotels.
The Hotel Bristol Warsaw Setting ★★★★☆
Located within walking distance of the Presidential Palace and the Ogród Saski park, the Bristol Hotel is a beautiful 1901 building which is elegantly decorated in the Art Déco style.
Afternoon tea is served in the Art Nouveau Column Bar, which strangely lacks warmth and personality compared to the rest of the hotel. Despite the big windows and the view of the courtyard, the place is also quite dark. However, the atmosphere is greatly enhanced by live piano music on Fridays and Saturdays.
If possible, I strongly recommend siting by the window. Even better, guests can enjoy their afternoon tea in the courtyard if the day is warm and sunny enough.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
The tea selection is solid but you will have to settle for a single tea with the afternoon tea, with as many water refills as you may wish. Any extra tea will cost you 19PLN (£4/5€). Considering the price of the afternoon tea, this is perfectly acceptable and also quite normal outside of the UK.
I highly recommend the Intensitea: the strong flavour of Assam tea pairs very well with the soft aroma of vanilla.
The Tearili is also a good choice if you’d rather have something with a more fruity taste but be warned, it’s quite a powerful flavour!
The Savouries ★★★★☆
The savouries are the best part of this afternoon tea as they are generous and tasty.
Goat’s Cheese, Red Onion Compote: ★★★★★
Marvellous. The goat cheese and red onion chutney combine perfectly. One of the best sandwiches I ever had.
Egg Mayonnaise: ★★★★☆
Very soft bread with just the right amount of mayonnaise. A classic.
Polish Ham, English Mustard Sandwich: ★★★★☆
Polish ham with English mustard. Tasty and smokey.
Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese Choux: ★★☆☆☆
The bread was too dry and there wasn’t enough cream cheese for a salmon choux, which should be fresh and moist.
Prawn Cocktail: ★★★☆☆
Interesting, not to say peculiar, taste. Quite nice but not unforgettable either.
The Scones ★★☆☆☆
The biggest disappointment: the scones were a miss, way too cooked and slightly burnt at the bottom (see the second picture below).
However, they deserve two stars since they came with a generous quantity of delicious jam, lemon curd and clotted cream. If you spread these generously, the scones will taste decent enough.
The Cakes & Pastries ★★★★☆
Four beautifully presented and quite tasty cakes.
Pistachio Cake, Passion Fruit Mousse: ★★★★★
The pistachio flavour blends very well with the light and refreshing passion fruit mousse. The best cake and also the ideal way to get started with the sweets.
Battenberg, Peach Compote and Chocolate base: ★★☆☆☆
You can’t really go wrong with Battenberg, but I find the addition of chocolate a bit… daring.
Chocolate Nut Roulade, Brandy Snap: ★★★★☆
This wouldn’t be a proper Polish meal without a roulade (Zrazy): chocolate and brandy make for a wonderful combination.
Vanilla panna cotta with mint aroma, raspberry sauce: ★★★☆☆
Not bad but this isn’t panna cotta, it’s yoghurt. I recommend it to finish the afternoon tea on a light note.
The Service ★★★★★
The service is brilliant. The team is both courteous and efficient.
Michael is an excellent waiter, speaks great English and was always making sure that I had plenty of water refills. Below is a video of him detailing the contents of the afternoon tea:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
The Hotel Bristol Warsaw does not serve the best afternoon tea in the word and the scones are especially disappointing. But for a price of 59PLN (£11/13€), this deserves a four star rating and is well worth a Friday or a Saturday afternoon to the tune of Chopin’s best pieces.
+: Beautiful Hotel with an inner courtyard.
+: The goat cheese & red onion sandwich
+: Perfect service
+: Live piano music on Fridays & Saturdays
+: Excellent value for money
-: The Column Bar is a bit dark
-: Disappointing scones
-: One choice of tea (then 19PLN extra)