I’ve had many afternoon teas with an international twist, be it French, Italian or Japanese. I didn’t really know what to expect from the COMO The Halkin London’s Spanish afternoon tea, designed by the Michelin-starred “Ametsa with Arzak Instruction” restaurant team:
Hotel COMO The Halkin London Setting ★★★★☆
The Halkin opened in 1991, as the first boutique hotel in the city. It sits in the prestigious neighbourhood of Belgravia, close to Hyde Park and many embassies.
Halkin Bar & Lounge ★★★☆☆
Afternoon tea is served in the lounge, which is adjacent to the lobby. It’s quite casual, not the best setting for afternoon tea but still quite nice for a couple of hours.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★☆☆
The JING Teas ★★☆☆☆
The tea selection is by far the weakest part of this afternoon tea. The JING teas are not brewed properly and an excessive quantity of tea leaves is put in a very small teapot.
The tea becomes very bitter in just a few minutes, even if you add hot water. I recommend asking for an empty pot in order to transfer the infusion as soon as the tea is brewed.
Choice of teas: JING Teas (black, green, white, oolong and infusions); loose-leaf
Brewing method: Teapot is brought to the table with the tea leaves inside. Infusion cannot be stopped , which leads to overbrewing and bitterness.
The Spanish Cocktails ★★★★☆
For an extra £4, guests can enjoy a glass of Cava, a cocktail or a mocktail with their afternoon tea.
As the Cava and cocktails are much tastier than the tea, it would be a pity to skip this option
The Savouries ★★★★★
This Spanish afternoon tea shines with its savouries. The staff recommends that guests start with two amuse-bouche (placed on the back tile in the pictures below):
- Sweetcorn Soup with “Txanguro” in a glass ♥
- Green pea “Cuajada” in a yoghurt glass pot ♥
Both are typical delicacies from the Basque Country in Northern Spain. This region’s cuisine is among my favourite cuisines in Europe, which may explain why I enjoyed this so much.
Once you are done eating the (delicious!) amuse-bouche, it’s time to ditch the spoons and use your hands for the tapas-sized savouries (placed on the white plate in the pictures below):
- Duck & shallots Skewers ♥
- Ham Croquette
- “Idiazabal” Sandwich with onion chutney
- Broken eggs on Waffle
The duck skewers are amazing: the sweetness of the shallots and the strong flavour of the duck are a brilliant combination.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
There are no scones to transition from the savouries to the sweets, as is often the case with non-British afternoon teas. As the food is already plenty, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll regret this.
The staff suggests starting with the cakes placed on the white plate (as seen in the picture below):
- Orange Toast with spinach
- Quince Balls ♥
- Parsnip cob
- Dropped rice pudding Cone
To finish on a lighter note, it’s best to end with the sweets placed on the black tile (as seen in the picture below):
- Pear purée and elderflower consommé in a Shot glass
- Tempura rose petals
- Chocolate emerald Cake ♥
The chocolate “cake” (the texture is actually closer to a mousse or jelly) is amazing. The pear purée tastes a bit strange but it’s also very beautiful, as is the entire afternoon tea.
The staff is courteous and efficient. As I wished to stay for a little while after 5:30 pm, the lounge manager kindly offered to relocate me to another table.
Below is a video detailing the contents of the COMO the Halkin London Spanish afternoon tea:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
I really enjoyed my time at the COMO the Halkin London. The chef and his team have done a great job: this Spanish afternoon tea is as beautiful as it is tasty.
Unfortunately, the tea quality isn’t on par with the food. Hence I recommend choosing the Cava/cocktail afternoon tea at £36/person.
+: Great location
+: Good cocktail selection
+: Delicious food
+: Afternoon tea with a Spanish twist
+: Great value for money (£32 or £36/person)
-: The tea selection
-: The tea brewing
Phone: +44 20 7333 1234