The Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa is a newcomer in the city and I’ll admit I had never heard about it until someone advised me to try it next time I’d be in Paris. The afternoon tea is masterful and can easily compete with the most renowned “tea times” in Paris:
May 2021 update: This afternoon tea is now deprived of savouries and scones; cf new menu. I’m downgrading the overall mark (4 stars) until I can review it again.
The Setting ★★★★★
The Réserve Paris Hotel is located on Avenue Gabriel, one street away from the Champs-Elysées. The building was built for the Duc de Morny, Napoléon III’s half-brother.
Previously owned by Pierre Cardin, the hotel was fully revamped by Jacques Garcia, who did a full overhaul of the interiors with the notable exception of the historical fireplaces. The red and gold colours are the most prominent on the premises, resulting in a luxurious yet warm and welcoming atmosphere.
If you fancy a break after the afternoon tea, I suggest that you grab a drink in the library. It would be the perfect venue for an afternoon tea but no food is served here in order to preserve the books. It’s also exclusively opened to the hotel’s guests during the day.
The Restaurant La Pagode de Cos ★★★★☆
The afternoon tea is served in the Restaurant “La Pagode de Cos” named after the eponymous winery. The interior design is brilliant and the tables are cleverly organised.
I recommend the table by the fireplace for those who favour privacy over natural light, or for a perfect afternoon tea on a cold day (third picture below).
The Inner Courtyard ★★★★★
If possible, I suggest hitting the Réserve Paris on a warm sunny day. You’ll be able to enjoy the calm and relaxing atmosphere of the courtyard.
We have a few beautiful days ahead of us but fall is on its way so do hurry!
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
The Réserve Paris’s tea supplier is Damman Frères, a French tea house with an impeccable reputation. The green teas are a lot more appealing than the rather ordinary black teas (Earl Grey, Darjeeling…). There are no Oolong or Pu’erh teas on offer.
I really love the “Yunnan Vert”, a Chinese green tea Chinois with a strong taste and along finish, reminiscent of a Sencha or a black tea from Yunnan.
The brewing is in a cast-iron teapot which is brought to the table. Unfortunately, no hourglass for timing the brewing nor dedicated container for the filter is provided. I suggest you ask for a plate for that purpose and that you monitor the brew carefully, otherwise you’ll end up with a tea that is way too strong.
Tea selection: 20 teas and infusions from Damman Frères (6 black, 6 green, 1 white, and 7 herbal teas); loose-leaf brewing method: At the table; in a cast-iron teapot containing a removable tea strainer
15€ per extra teapot (refillable)
La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa Afternoon Tea
La Réserve Paris afternoon tea costs 50€ per person or 75€ for two. Each guest will be served with savouries, scones and cakes, along with a single choice of tea (two teapots of the same tea for the afternoon tea for two).
The Savouries ★★★★★
Those of you who love fish and seafood will be very happy with the savoury bites (vegetarian/vegan available on request):
- Mackerel rillettes Sandwich ♥
- Smoked salmon & avocado Club-sandwich ♥
- Spiced poached crab dumpling ♥
The ♥ indicates my personal favourites but it is really hard to say which one I really preferred. All the savouries were fresh and delicious.
The Scones ★★★★★
Two “plain scones are served”. One scone has a “galabé” icing: galabé is a special sugar from the Réunion island and is made from freshly pressed sugar cane, which gives it a creamy and nutty taste.
Both scones are served with real clotted cream, three organic jams and honey. Some might wish for homemade jam but the apricot / lavender blend is so scrummy that they will soon forget about it.
In Paris, scones are abnormally big and this is the case for The Réserve Paris scones too. They are a bit difficult to eat as you have to cut them into three parts. This does not affect texture or taste though;
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
Don’t be fooled by the size of the cakes and other pastries: there is enough to eat here for anyone with a healthy appetite, like me.
- Madeleine with nuts ♥
- Lemon cake
- Chocolate & Pecan nut cake
- Chocolate Marshmallow
- Coffee cream puff pastry
- Salted butter Macaron
- Four-spices crispy cake with apricot compote and lavender mousse ♥
The Madeleine is deliciously simple while the Crispy cake is deliciously sophisticated. Every sweet-tooth will get what they enjoy the most.
If you don’t fancy the full afternoon tea or if you have a third stomach for desserts, you may order à la carte cakes and pastries (15€ ~ a piece).
The staff is welcoming, efficient and courteous. Special thanks to Nicolas who made my afternoon tea experience even better.
Conclusion et Note générale ★★★★☆
The Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa afternoon tea is a must-try before the end of this beautiful summer. The setting is perfect, the tea selection is great and the food is delicious, from the savouries to the sweets.
I suggest going on a sunny day to enjoy the relaxing feeling of the courtyard. Another good point: the La Réserve Paris afternoon tea isn’t so famous so you shouldn’t have to struggle too much to get a good table on a Sunday.
May 2021 update: This afternoon tea is now deprived of savouries and scones. I’m downgrading the overall mark (4 stars) until I can review it again.
+: Magnificent setting
+: The inner courtyard
+: The Damman teas
+: The delicious & plentiful food
+: Nice welcoming staff
-: The brewing method
-: Weekends only
Phone number: +33 1 58 36 60 60
Address: 42 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris