Art themed afternoon teas have a special place in my heart, it’s after having the ART tea at The Merrion Dublin that I decided to start this website. I was quite excited about the Lancaster London ARTea after seeing the pictures of their gorgeous cakes, let’s see if it’s as good as it looks:
ARTea Afternoon Tea
The Lancaster Hotel, London (map)
Overall Mark: ★★★★★
ARTea Afternoon Tea price: £35/person
£30 for Signature afternoon tea; £40 with a glass of Champagne
Tea Refills: Yes; Food refills: Yes
Service: from 2 pm to 5:30 pm
in the Lounge bar or Nine Kings Foyer
The Lancaster London Hotel Setting ★★★★☆
The Lancaster London does not look like much from the outside as the hotel is currently being renovated, but the inside is as luxurious as you’d expect from a four-star hotel.
Our afternoon tea was served in the Lounge Bar. It’s quite a nice venue with plenty of space and some very comfortable sofas. The large windows will grant you a partial view of Hyde Park, but the lounge is on the ground floor so the view is not that impressive.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
There are 14 teas on offer from the Novus tea company: black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea and many infusions (including caffeine free options).
The tea bag quality is good and green/white teas are prepared at the proper temperature. Each guest gets a card with a brew duration recommendation for each tea, as well as an hourglass. I’m also quite fond of the glass teapots and teacups. It’s also very convenient if you’d rather trust your instincts and monitor the brew according to the colour of the tea.
Allow me to recommend the Organic Darjeeling, you can’t beat a classic! However, do stay away from the Pear & Ginger white tea, unless you fancy such peculiar infusions.
The Savouries ★★★★★
In terms of taste, the savouries are the best part of the ARTea, even though they don’t look as cute as the sweets:
- Lancaster London home smoked salmon pinwheels
- Honey-baked ham & mustard on cranberry bread
- Free-range Barradale farm egg & wild cress on white bread
- Cucumber & rock salt on wholemeal bread cut landscape
- Warm Tartlet of wild mushroom with tarragon ♥
- Sunflower seed choux bun, with sun-blushed tomato and cream cheese ♥
Each savoury is delicious and the chef has been creative enough to add a touch of originality to all of them (e.g. using cranberry bread with the ham sandwich).
I have a slight preference for the mushroom tart and the cheese and tomato choux bun, these two are really scrummy.
The Scones ★★★☆☆
Each guest is served with three “slate-of-the-art” scones (plain, chocolate and raisin) as well as a tube of clotted cream and a tube of homemade jam. The scones themselves were a bit too flat but quite good, though I’m so sure about the toppings.
I understand the artistic choice behind the paint tubes lookalikes but they are not suitable containers for jam or clotted cream. Just like at the Ampersand hotel, it would have been better if the tubes had been filled with something else (fudge or chocolate) while serving jam and cream in a more traditional manner.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
This is where the ARtea shines with its originality, with some beautiful yet edible pieces of art, inspired by contemporary Irish paintings from the Barbara Stanley gallery.
- Signature chocolate & honey lolly pops
- Strawberry & rosewater pannacotta
- Vanilla & hazelnut mousse framed in a macaroon ♥
- Lavender eclair painted with white chocolate
- Lemon meringue tart and a piece of edible art ♥
I preferred the lemon meringue as it is equally tasty and beautiful. The Lancaster London hotel kitchen team uses a special printer which combines rice paper and edible ink, for a rather extraordinary result (see the paintings in the pictures below).
I’m normally not too keen on macaroons but I found the vanilla and hazelnut combination very pleasing as well!
Conversely, the pannacotta and the lavender éclair are quite the acquired taste, despite their gorgeous appearance. Rosewater and Lavender are rather different flavours that will not fit all palates, but that will be for your to judge.
The Service ★★★★★
The staff is polite, efficient and highly responsive by email (which makes bookings easier).
There was always someone available to refill our tea, and the service team was discrete yet present throughout the whole experience.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The Lancaster London ARTea afternoon tea is brilliant. I especially recommend it if you fancy a bit of artistic originalitea (pun intended), or simply want to try an afternoon tea with a theme without breaking the bank (£35/person).
Executive Chef Ben Purton has designed a very nice afternoon tea, serving some delicious savouries along with some very beautiful cakes!
+: The quiet lobby lounge
+: Good tea selection
+: Delicious savouries
+: Gorgeous cakes (that edible painting!)
+: Great service
+: Good value for money
-: The hotel is being renovated
-: The Scones
Phone number: 020 7551 6000
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