I initially reviewed the DUKES LONDON Gin & Tonic afternoon teas in 2017. Here I go again 2 years later, to update this article and review the newly created Martini afternoon tea. Shaken, not stirred. Article updated in July 2019
The Setting ★★★★★
This 1908 old hidden gem It may be found in a small alley in Mayfair, close to Green Park and St James Park. The decoration is gorgeous and the area is so quiet that you may forget you’re right in the middle of busy London.
The Drawing Room, Conservatory & Courtyard ★★★★★
Afternoon tea is served either in the Drawing Room, the Conservatory or in the courtyard on sunny days. Wherever you may be seated, the atmosphere and brilliant and the seats are very comfortable.
On busy days, the afternoon tea may be served in a function room which may not be as nice, so I recommend booking in advance on weekends and maybe even request a table in the conservatory.
Back in 2017, we were lucky enough to have our tea under the courtyard’s canopy, which made the now discontinued G&T afternoon tea even more enjoyable. However, there are very few tables and you may have to put up with the smell of smoke…
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The Teas & Infusions ★★★★☆
There is are 17 teas on offer from the reputable East India Company, who also supplies the Gin. I especially love the Sencha ♥♥ and the DUKES blend 1908 ♥, a delicious combination of Assam, Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong teas. It wasn’t on the menu when I reviewed the DUKES London afternoon tea but I also recommend the First Romance black tea to fruity flavours aficionados.
Each guest can only order several different teas so feel free to try a few, maybe one for each course of the afternoon tea. As always, I suggest starting with more subtle flavours (Green/white tea) and finishing with the stronger ones (black tea) or an infusion if you’d rather finish the day caffeine free.
However, the tea is not transferred to a new teapot and the tea may overbrew if you don’t drink it quickly enough I suggest you ask for a pot of hot water with each tea to regulate the brew, as there is no way to stop the infusion.
17 Classic teas (8 black, 3 green, 2 white & 4 infusions) from The East India Company
Brewing method: In a metal teapot filled with the loose-leaves brought to the table (tea may overbrew)
Choice of coffee, smoothies, ice teas, summer specials & cocktails
The Martini Cocktails ★★★★★
Martinis are a no laughing matter at the Dukes and James Bond’s trademark line “shaken, not stirred” is said to have originated in the hotel, as Ian Fleming was a regular customer at the Dukes bar.
Guests who opt for the MarTEAni afternoon tea will get three Martinis, each paired with one stage of the afternoon tea:
- Black Pepper & Citrus Martini, paired with the Savouries
- Victoria Plum Martini; paired with the Scones ♥
- Spiced Karak Tea Martini (made with an infused vermouth using The East India Company’s First Romance), paired with the Cakes a Sweets ♥♥
The East Indian Company Gin (the Martini’s base ingredient) is of excellent quality. I have a slight (and highly predictable) preference for the Karak based Martini: it’s the best in terms of taste, pairing and aspect (third picture below).
I will add one paragraph to each of the next three sections, in order to give my impression on the pairing as well as the Martini itself. You’ll normally want your drink to complement the food and not exactly match it as both flavours would cancel each other out.
The Savouries ★★★★☆
I love the DUKES LONDON afternoon tea sandwiches. Granted, they’re a tad smaller than before but they still taste excellent:
- Baked ham, fig relish, smoked cheese, onion bread ♥
- Coronation, chicken, apricot, sultana, coriander ♥♥
- H Forman’s smoked salmon, horseradish cream cheese, beetroot bread
- Egg mayonnaise, winter truffle, granary bread ♥
The best coronation chicken sandwich I ever had is at the Dukes, it’s so good that I always order a few more of these as refills before starting with the sweets. The Ham & cheese pickle is delicious as well, with a strong distinctive flavour that will set the bar higher for the boring, unimaginative sandwiches which are served most of the time.
The MarTeani afternoon tea savouries are served with the Black Pepper & Citrus Martini. This slightly spicy option goes quite well with the strong flavours of the Dukes afternoon tea sandwiches.
The Scones ★★★★☆
Each guest is served with one plain scone and one sultana scone, along with three toppings: strawberry jam, clotted cream and lemon curd. The scones are tasty but I wish they’d be served wrapped in a serviette or even brought on request, so I could have enjoyed them warm.
The MarTeani afternoon tea scones are served with the Victoria Plum Martini, a tangy drink that I find evocative of Orange Marmalade ♥. This is the sweetest Martini so I suggest you balance the flavours with a strong black tea, such as the 1908 Dukes Blend.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
We were served with the following sweets:
- Dark chocolate Yule Log, orange marmalade ♥
- White chocolate and cranberry pave ♥♥
- Choux bun, pear & mascarpone crémeux ♥
- Clementine mousse
The cakes are light, tasty and very refreshing. This last aspect is especially appreciated when the weather is that hot.
The MarTeani afternoon tea cakes are served with the Spiced Karak Tea Martini, which happens to be the most aesthetically pleasing Martini. It’s quite sour and thus it’s an excellent match for the cakes & sweets.
Last but not least, you’ll get to finish the afternoon tea with a slice of the cake of the day. The selection varies daily but I got the tastiest slice of Red Velvet ♥ I had in quite a while 🙂
The Service ★★★★★
The staff is very attentive and always made sure that we had plenty of everything, whether it was tea or food.
Special thanks to Elisa and her colleagues, who all answered all my many questions about the tea or the food 🙂
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The DUKES LONDON Hotel MarTEAni afternoon tea is one of your best bets in Mayfair if you fancy a refreshing treat for this summer, or if you want to prepare for Bond 25 by ordering your Martini the James Bond way 😉
If the weather allows it, I strongly suggest booking a table in the courtyard: nothing beats a cold Martini under the canopy.
+: The Courtyard’s canopy
+: East India Teas & Gins
+: Nice cool Martinis
+: Delicious food
+: The service
+: Very good price/performance ratio
-: Small canopy (3 tables) & smoking area
Click here to read the initial review of the DUKES LONDON Gin &Tonic Afternoon Tea:
Phone number: +44 (0)207 491 4840