I was recently told that pastry chef Nicolas Rouzaud had gone to The Connaught. Considering the fantastic pastries I had when Nicolas Rouzaud was still working for the Lanesborough, I decided to make The Connaught London afternoon tea a priority. Here we go:
The Connaught London Setting ★★★★☆
The Connaught is one of London’s most iconic hotels, with a history dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. The Saxe-Coburg hotel opened in 1815 and became the Coburg hotel in 1897 after the area was redeveloped by the Duke of Westminster. It was renamed the Connaught in 1917, in honour of the first Duke of Connaught Prince Arthur, as German names weren’t exactly popular during WWI.
It is part of the Maybourne hotel group (formerly the Savoy group), which also manages the Berkeley and the Claridge’s hotels. The building is located on Carlos Place in Mayfair, between Bond Street and Green Park tube stations.
The Connaught is especially renowned for its bar and it is the only hotel in the world to have been twice decorated with the “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” award.
The Jean-Georges at The Connaught ★★★★★
Afternoon tea is served in the Jean-Georges at the Connaught restaurant, named in honour of the eponymous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
If you book a table and/or can choose on the day of the afternoon tea, I recommend asking for a table by the window: the view of the “Silence, Tadao Ando” fountain is stunning, both by day and by night.
Architect John Heath renovated the dining room, giving it a modern twist as well as a laid-back feeling. Looking at the disk glass chandeliers from the Secante company, you may even feel like you are being flown over by UFOs!
I’m very keen on the stained glass windows by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel: each one represents a different stage of the day, from sunrise to sunset.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
The Connaught London sources the teas from Mariage Frères, a very reputable French supplier. While the quality is excellent, the choice is rather limited with a total of 15 teas and infusions. There aren’t any oolong or white teas to choose from either, which I found a bit disappointed.
This lack of choice was easily forgiven, thanks to the good quality of the brew and the Connaught’s generous tea refills policy which will let you sample many different teas. I recommend the Marco Polo black tea (flowery and fruity flavour), which is one of my all-time favourites since I visited Hotel Daniel in Paris.
15 Mariage Frères teas (black, green, and infusions)
Tea refills: Yes, allowing you to sample many different teas.
Brewing method: Brewed in a teapot brought to the table; infusion can be stopped by removing the teabag
The Food: The Connaught London Afternoon Tea
I had high expectations for the sweets considering the delicious afternoon tea I had had at the Lanesborough but the savouries turned out to be equally worthy of the London trip.
The Savouries ★★★★★
The afternoon tea starts with one amuse bouche, followed by five delicious sandwiches:
- Black Truffle Brioche ♥♥♥
- Cucumber: Greek Yogurt, Lime & Mint
- Egg Mayonnaise: Winter Black Truffle & Watercress
- H. Forman’s Smoked Salmon: Chipotle, Coriander & Spring Onions
- Ham & Aged Cheese: Miso Mustard Mayonnaise, Honey & Walnut bread ♥♥
- Coronation Chicken: Spiced Mayonnaise, Chopped Nuts & Coriander ♥
The black truffle brioche is especially tasty, it’s the kind of amuse-bouche that almost sets the bar too high right at the beginning.
The sandwiches are delicious as well and the staff will kindly offer you extras. The ham & cheese sandwich is the best one: the use of walnut bread with aged cheese is a really nice touch.
The Scones ★★★★☆
The plain and raisins scones are served warm, which is always highly appreciated. They are served with three toppings: lemon curd, strawberry jam & clotted cream. I love having the opportunity to choose, as many afternoon teas serve the scones with only two toppings.
The scones are excellent and so are the toppings: the strawberry jam is textbook perfect, both in terms of taste and texture.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
The desserts are the reason I chose to review the Connaught London afternoon tea, as I was looking forward to tasting Nicolas Rouzaud’s newest creations:
- Grapefruit & Lychee Mousse topped with Crystalized Rose ♥
- Lemon Bergamot: Bergamot Mousse, Lime Cream & Lemon Confit ♥
- Passion Fruit Tart: Passion Fruit Jam & Orange Blossom Cream
- Coffee Éclair: Coffee Curd éclair topped with a Caramelized Pecan Nut ♥
- Rocher: Hazelnut Praliné & Milk Chocolate
The cakes are scrummy, pretty and original. Even the coffee éclair, which I’d normally consider ordinary, is significantly enhanced by the caramelised pecan nut.
Assuming you will follow the suggested order (from the bottom to top of the afternoon tea stand), you will eat the cakes first and finish the Connaught afternoon tea on a lighter note:
- The chocolate fondue served with animal-shaped shortbreads
Do try to eat the fondue at The Connaught as it would be very inconvenient to take home, unlike the madeleines which will be served last.
The Jean-Georges at the Connaught restaurant team is as professional as you’d expect, always making sure that guests have plenty of tea and food to enjoy. Special thanks to Charlène and Juan, whose stellar service (and advice!) made this afternoon tea at the Connaught even better than we expected it to be!
The seating time is quite short (2 hours ~) so I recommend booking a table at 4:30 as you’ll be less likely to feel the rush.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
My afternoon tea at The Connaught London was everything I expected it to be: the food is delicious, gorgeous and original. I’m also really keen on those small attentions from start to finish, such as the amuse-bouche and the madeleines at the end.
My only complaint is the slightly limited tea selection but I’ll always choose quality over quantity, which earns the Connaught London a perfect score.
+: Iconic Hotel
+: The view from the Jean-Georges restaurant
+: Mariage Frères teas
+: The amuse-bouche
+: Delicious food
+: Gorgeous sweets
+: Great service
-: Slightly limited tea selection (15 teas)
-: Short-ish seating time
Phone: +44 20 7107 8861