This month saw me enjoying scones while indulging in afternoon tea with a board game theme.
The St James’s Hotel and Club is delightfully tucked away in Park Place a quiet cul de sac in St James’s, a very affluent area, which has been nick named Gentlemen’s London on account of its gentlemen’s club (exclusive private members’ club not those providing adult entertainment) and its specialist shops. Earlier this year it launched “It’s All in the Game” Afternoon Tea and Julie and I couldn’t resist checking it out. Afternoon Tea is served in their William’s Bar and Bistro which has a contemporary but sophisticated feel to it and an interesting selection of art work on display.
All the food was served simultaneously and the pastries, which I will say more about in a moment certainly had the wow factor. The sandwiches were served on separate plates and I had a vegetarian selection which included Mushroom sandwich on brown bread, Cream cheese and cucumber sandwich on white bread, Egg mayonnaise with mustard cress on white bread and Cheese and tomato on brown bread. I really enjoyed the selection of flavours and when asked if we wanted to replenish the sandwiches I requested a couple more.
Accompanying the food was a tea menu with good selection of about 12 different teas to chose from black, herbal and premium. I chose my favourite Assam which was served in individual tea pots.
The scones were served warm and attractively presented in a silver dish. However they were not wrapped in a napkin and therefore by the time we were ready to eat them they had become cold. There were two fruit and two plain scones and all were of a generous size and slightly misshapen in a delightfully home made way.
The scones were accompanied with two large dishes, one containing strawberry jam and the other with clotted cream.
Both the fruit and plain scones were equally delicious. They both had the perfect scone texture of being crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the centre. The strawberry jam was slightly too runny but overall it was most enjoyable.
The pastries looked stunning, they were a work of art in confectionary and quiet frankly took our breath away. We loved all the small detailing, such as the STJ for St James’s on the Scrabble pieces, and thought that had gone in to creating them. They were just as enjoyable to eat as they were to admire. The combination of flavours for each of the individual pastries worked well, it was evident that high quality ingredients had been used and chocolate was well represented in several of the cakes. There were six different pastries and while Julie and I usually don’t have a problem sharing, with each of us choosing the ones we’d prefer, as these ones looked so amazing we decided to cut each of them in half so we could try them all.
On the left plate are Chess Board our personal favourite, I loved the chocolate chess piece – Chocolate and vanilla shortbread looking like a chess board filled with a dulcey ganache (caramalised white chocolate) topped with a dulcey chocolate chess piece, Dice – Gluten-free Battenberg sponge cake with apricot jam, wrapped in luxury marzipan, finished with white chocolate crispy biscuit pearls (contain gluten), topped with a white chocolate dice and Scrabble – Bramley apple mousse set on a genoise sponge finished with white and dark chocolate scrabble pieces.
On the right plate are Monopoly Top Hat – Dark chocolate hat filled with a blood orange mousse, set on a gluten-free dark chocolate sponge, topped with a blood orange jelly, finished with a dark chocolate and silver glaze, Snakes and Ladders – Dark chocolate filled with milk chocolate mousse topped with cherries marinated in Kirsch, snake-skin print chocolate, chocolate ladder, passion fruit marshmallow snake (we were missing out snake as it wasn’t vegetarian) and Dominoes- All butter shortbread biscuit, topped with a white chocolate cheesecake, glazed with a white chocolate jelly, topped with dark chocolate crispy biscuit pearls.
What really made this afternoon tea such fun, was that there was a wide selection of board games to choose from to play at your table. When ordered our food we chose Snakes and Ladders but I am sworn to secrecy about who won! The afternoon was very relaxed and unhurried. If we had chosen we could have stayed several hours and played as many board games as we wanted to. Service was excellent throughout with the staff getting the balance right between being attentive and providing us with space to get on with our board games. It’s All In The Game Afternoon Tea costs £40 with a 50% discount for children under 12 years. This was one of my favourite afternoon tea, the quality of all the food was excellent and the board game theme such an original and simple idea, but done so amazingly well and with such fun and flair. I was delighted to find when I checked with the hotel how long they would be offering and I was told this is permanently on their menu. think the St James’s Hotel and Club have a winner (pardon the pun) on their hands with this as it is ideal for families and groups of friends who are looking for a fun themed and interactive afternoon tea.
Ratings: Scones: 2, Accompaniments: 2, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Overall: 10/12
Until next time…