When I left my previous workplace, my colleagues kindly gave me a voucher for a “Japanese afternoon tea” at the Courthouse Hotel in London. How can I say this? It’s not really Japanese and it’s not really an afternoon tea either:
Japanese Afternoon Tea
The Courthouse Hotel London, 5* Hotel (map)
Overall Mark: ★☆☆☆☆
Japanese Afternoon Tea price: £29.50/person
£40 with a glass of Champagne or Japanese Plum Wine
Tea Refills: Yes; Food Refills: No
Service: 3 to 6 pm
in the Silk Restaurant
The Courthouse Hotel London Setting ★★★☆☆
This boutique hotel is set in a former magistrate’s court, just a few minutes away from the Oxford Circus tube station and Liberty department store.
The contemporary decoration feels somehow at odds with the hotel’s history, but I must admit I loved the lobby’s atmosphere.
The Silk restaurant ★★★☆☆
Afternoon Tea is served in the Silk restaurant, where Asian idols and a former British courtroom setting awkwardly coexist. Some may like these daring decorative choices but I just found them a bit tacky.
Still, there is plenty of space and natural light, and the venue is pleasant if you’re not too bothered about the decoration.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★☆☆☆
There are 11 teas & infusions on offer (black, green, white, oolong and herbal) from Twinnings and the English Tea Shop. I could forgive the use of teabags and the temperature issues but it’s just incredible that a “Japanese afternoon tea” does not offer any Japanese tea, such a basic Sencha.
For an extra £10.50, guests can get a glass of Claude Renoux Champagne or a glass of Plum Wine. I recommend the latter as it turned out to be the best part of the afternoon tea.
The Food ★★☆☆☆
Since there are no scones and very few sweets, I’ll evaluate the food in a single category. The food is served in a very cute Bento box. It’s too bad that the contents were so unremarkable:
- Chicken katsu (Crumb fried chicken supreme)
- Broccoli tempura (Broccoli florets fried in butter)
- Daifuku (Rice cake with Azuki beans filling)
- Steamed vegetable gyoza (Hearty and flavourful dumpling)
- Califonia Maki (Inside-out sushi roll with cucumber, and smoked salmon)
- Cucumber maki roll (Large sushi roll filled with cucumber)
- Lemon tart
- Green tea mousse (Creamy green tea infused with mousse)
The quality is quite disappointing for an afternoon tea in this price range. Despite appearances, it’s also quite frugal (the quantity below is for two people).
The Service ★★☆☆☆
The restaurant staff is both polite and efficient, but some staff members could have been more welcoming.
The booking process may be tedious, especially if you have a voucher.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★☆☆☆☆
This may seem harsh but the Courthouse Hotel’s so-called “Japanese afternoon tea” is the worst afternoon tea I’ve had in a while. The decor is tacky, the tea is not loose-leaf and the food is rather bland. If you fancy a Japanese afternoon tea, you’d better choose Ichi Sushi.
NB: It’s possible to get a better deal if you buy a voucher from Virgin Experience:the afternoon tea price falls to £21/person with a glass of Plum wine/Champagne. For such a price, I’d give it two stars.
+: The location
+: The Plum wine
+: Good voucher price
-: The Silk restaurant
-: The teas (no Japanese tea?!)
-: Bland food
-: Tedious booking process with voucher
Phone number: 020 7297 5555
Address: 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL