This month I made a return visit to The London Landmark. I had previously blogged about their Valentine’s Afternoon Tea (before I started writing the London Scone Review) and Katie and I were looking forward to partaking of their afternoon tea.
After checking out the menu we decided to order one Winter Garden Afternoon Tea (traditional) and a Chocolate Afternoon Tea, with the idea of sharing the pastries between us. Katie had a glass of Champagne De Castelnau Brut Rose, which had a beautiful colour. We could not help but admire the elegant, white and yellow patterned china.
Our selection of sandwiches promptly arrived and we each had individual plates. Katie had egg mayonnaise, chicken with tarragon crème fraiche, smoked salmon and classic cucumber. I had the vegetarian option which included egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, mozzarella, tomato and basil, classic cucumber and cream cheese with red pepper which were served on white and wholemeal bread. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a sweet tooth, but I have to say the sandwiches were extremely tasty.
A really nice touch was that the waiter appeared with a platter of sandwiches and asked if we wanted any replenishments. Yes please. I noted that there were separate trays of sandwiches for the vegetarian and non vegetarian guests. Even though some vegetarian sandwiches where on the tray with meat and salmon sandwiches, I was served only from the vegetarian platter.
The London Landmark had a very stylish silver tea stand, with its name engraved on it, which was a very convenient for storing the tea pots, hot water pot, milk and tea strainers. There was a nice selection of teas on the menu. I chose Winter Garden Blend, a bespoke tea of India and China black teas which had be specially created for The Winter Garden restaurant. Service was exceptional throughout our visit and the waiter poured and replenished our teas at regular but discreet intervals.
The scones were only served once we finished our sandwiches and were served warm. The scones were attractively presented on a small tray, with two raisin and apple scones and two plain scones which looked very appetising.
The scones were accompanied by a tray with three cups containing generous portions of strawberry jam, Cornish clotted cream and Bergeron apricot jam. The Landmark London are outstand out regarding their accompaniments as not only do they present them so beautifully, they also have a jam menu and guests can select two from a choice of five jams (strawberry, blackcurrant, Bergeron apricot, cherry or gooseberry and elderflower).
The scones were extremely delicious, they had the perfect texture, firm on the outside with a fluffy, soft, melt in your mouth inside. I equally enjoyed the raisin and apple and the plain scones.
It was only after we had partaken of our scones that the pastries arrived, served on a small tray, and attractively presented. On the left hand side were the cake selection from the Chocolate Afternoon Tea (from front to rear) Coconut and chocolate macaroon, Blood orange and white chocolate mousse, Banana, pecan nut and milk chocolate cake and Pistachio and chocolate opera gateau.
On the right hand side were the cake selection from the Winter Garden Afternoon Tea (from front to rear) Mango and mint mousse with flourless mango sponge, Carrot, raisin and cinnamon cake, cream cheese icing, Raspberry and lime macaroon and Dark chocolate choux, Valrhona chocolate custard.
All the pastries were beautifully made, they looked like mini works of art. We shared the pastries between us and we both enjoyed what we ate. They combinations of the different flavours for each of the individual cakes worked well. They were rich and you could taste the high quality of the ingredients used, particularly with the chocolate cakes.
While we were enjoying our meal there was relaxing live music performed by the hotel’s resident harpist which really added to the splendour of the occasion.
Afternoon tea is served in the Winter Garden, with its impressive, eight story high glass roof atrium and palm trees, it really has the wow factor.
We visited on a lovely, hot summer’s day and the room was flooded with sunlight.
The Winter Garden was originally an inner courtyard where horse drawn carriages would have dropped off the guests. On the menu is an illustration by Max Cowper depicting the guests arriving in 1903.
In 1899, when the hotel opened it was known as the Great Central Hotel and was designed by Robert William Edis. It is adjacent to Marylebone Station which was the last of the London mainline train termini to be completed. Today mainline trains and the Underground’s Bakerloo tube line run from there.
While most guests will use the hotel’s main door on Marylebone Road, I always prefer to enter from the rear door which is directly opposite the train station and very conveniently there is a glass canopy linking the station and the hotel so if it’s raining you don’t get wet. Going this way also means that you will also see one of its lavish reception room which has retained its original Victorian décor of marble, fine plasterwork and stained glass.
It’s a beautifully stunning hotel and by the rear entrance is also a very grand, marble staircase.
My favourite feature of the hotel is a stunning stained glass window with the coat of arms of the Great Central Railway with a green, steam train locomotive on the top. It’s there because the hotel was originally built as a railway hotel for Marylebone Station and at the time the Great Central Railway operated from there.
Working out the scores I’ve just realised that since I started writing the London Scone Review in January 2014, The London Landmark are the first establishment to score full marks. This is what stood out for me. The London Landmark have put a lot of thought into their afternoon tea menus and offer different flavoured scones and a choice of jams. Service was exceptional throughout our visit and the waiter bringing over the platter of sandwiches was a nice touch, as he initiated it rather than waiting to be asked. The hotel is stunningly beautiful and historic and the style and décor of the Winter Garden makes it a very special place to visit. Full marks is well deserved.
Prices: Winter Garden Afternoon Tea costs £45 and the Chocolate Afternoon Tea costs £48.
Ratings: Scones: 3, Accompaniments: 3, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Overall: 12/12
Until next time…