It was at the George V Paris that I first heard of the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square London. The staff told me it was the newest hotel in the Four Seasons collection and that their afternoon tea should be next on my list. I’m glad I listened to them, that was an amazing afternoon tea:
November 2018 update: Now replaced by the Heritage Afternoon tea at £35/person.
The Setting ★★★★★
There are two Four Seasons Hotels in London: The Four Seasons Park Lane (first of the brand to open in Europe) and the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square (opened in 2017). The hotel is located in a grandiose limestone Beaux-Arts building dating back to the 1920s.
Originally, the collonaded building is the former headquarters of London’s port authority (see night pics below). It was badly damaged during World War 2 and was purchased in 2007 with the aim of being converted into a hotel. The renovations took almost 10 years, as several archaeological discoveries were made: this is where the Romans founded Londinium, which explains why so many millennia old treasures kept turning up during the excavations.
The interior is as grandiose as the exterior so I suggest you take a stroll around the hotel. The Dame de Pic London and the Mei Ume teams are very welcoming and will gladly give you a tour of their respective restaurants.
The Rotunda Lounge ★★★★★
The Rotunda Lounge is a stunning room with a dome-shaped ceiling and white walls featuring motifs to symbolise the four elements. The atmosphere is evocative of the 1920s: art-déco style, colour contrasts, Jazz music…
I recommend sitting in the upper area of the lounge as it offers more privacy. If you fancy a drink before/after your afternoon tea, it would be a pity not to sit at a copper bar counter which will take you back one century.
Live music: Wed-Sun from 3 to 5 pm; Thursday from 6 to 9 pm (cocktail night).
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
The teas are sourced from the Rare Tea Company, an independent supplier which sources its tea directly from farmers in China, Japan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the UK. While there is no proper control guaranteeing whether such teas are organic as per European standards, this is about as close as it gets to a high quality organic/fair-trade tea.
The quality is, of course, excellent and there is more than enough choice, despite the regrettable absence of connoisseur teas. The staff is well-versed with tea brewing and pairing the teas with the food.
The afternoon tea menu already suggests a couple of teas: the White Silver Tip with the savouries and the Black Rare Chai with the sweets. I recommend the Sencha and the Malawi Moto (a smokey yet subtle black tea) which were both excellent.
17 teas & infusions from the Rare Tea Company (black, green, white, oolong and infusions)
Brewing method: Brewed in a teapot brought to the table; infusion cannot be stopped (the tea is bound to over-brew sooner or later)
The Food: The Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square London Afternoon Tea
The “Bright Young Things afternoon tea” is a marvel of creativity and originality, from the savouries to the sweets. The name is a tribute to a group of young hedonistic aristocrats and socialites that the tabloid press nicknamed the “Bright young things” in the 1920s.
The Savouries ★★★★★
The Four Seasons Trinity London kitchen team created some fantastic savouries which are this afternoon tea’s tastiest course and perhaps the best savoury bites I ever had in London:
- Chicken coronation (Curry mayonnaise & alyssum flowers) ♥♥♥
- Heritage beetroot (Hazelnut, chives & goat cheese mousse) ♥
- Salmon rillettes (Lime mayonnaise, egg roe & lemon balm leaves ♥
- Roasted beef (Pink peppercorn sauce, rocket & parmesan)
- Egg & truffle (Watercress & soft cooked quail egg) ♥♥
The chicken coronation sandwich is nice and sweet and it’s even better than the one they serve at the Dukes Hotel (my favourite until now). The egg & truffle sandwich is as gorgeous as it is tasty (I love that they topped it with a quail’s egg) and the salmon roll expertly combines salmon and smoked salmon.
The roasted beef is good too but the slightly burnt bread’s taste is overwhelming, so I recommend eating the beef with just a small quantity of bread in order to appreciate the meat’s flavour.
The Scones ★★★★★
The Plain and Cranberry & Cognac scones are served freshly baked in a dedicated box that keeps them warm. I’m always happy when the scones are served warm and/or in a blanket but a box is such an ideal container that I can’t believe it’s the first time I get served scones this way…
The scones are excellent and so are the toppings, with strawberry jam, apricot jam and clotted cream. The Cranberry & Cognac scone is so delicious and original that I suggest you have a bite without any topping!
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
The sweet treats may not be as good as the savouries but they’re gorgeous:
- Rubi grapefruit cheesecake (Cream cheese mousse, pink grapefruit confit)
- Mango, coconut & ginger (Citrus mousse, mango jelly, coconut & ginger dacquoise)
- Pistachio, blackcurrant & violet (Pistachio chantilly, blackcurrant & violet jelly)
- Chocolate & salted caramel (Salted butterscotch, Guanaja chocolate mousse)
- Lime & raspberry pannacotta topped with Absynth (Lime pannacotta, raspberry jelly) ♥♥♥
You can tell a lot of effort has been put in the presentation, both in the cakes’ design and how they are positioned on the stand.
The Pannacotta is the star of the show. The addition of Absynth is genius: it suits the theme (the 1920s, decadence…), looks amazing (especially when the alcohol is lit as visible in the video below) and adds a very nice taste to the dessert.
If you’re lucky, the pastry chef may be experimenting with cakes and you’ll have the opportunity to try out a special cake. I sampled an improvised chocolate mousse & raspberry coulis cake (£4), which was delicious albeit a bit excessive after such a big afternoon tea.
Four Seasons service, need I say more? It’s perfect in every aspect: the staff knowledgeable about the hotel, the teas, the food and are both courteous and efficient.
The team always makes sure that you have a refilled glass of water, which is a simple yet highly effective palate cleanser. Special thanks to José, Oscar and Elisabeth for their precious advice.
Below is a video detailing the contents of the “Bright Young Things Afternoon Tea”:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
I expected the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square afternoon tea to be good but I didn’t expect it to reach such excellence. The setting is fantastic and unique, the tea selection is very good and the food is amazing, all for a very reasonable price (£45/person).
+: Fantastic setting
+: Great atmosphere
+: Excellent teas from RareTeaCo
+: Delicious savouries
+: Gorgeous cakes & sweets
+: Four Seasons service
+: Excellent value for money
-: Not served on Monday & Tuesday
-: No connoisseur teas
-: I would’ve loved a 1920s cocktail
Phone: +44 (20) 3297 9200