Monday, 20 May 2013

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Not Afternoon Tea Experience

It may not be the Great Glass Elevator, but from the moment you step out of the lift on the Eighth Floor of the OXO Tower they promise an adventure for the tastebuds to rival Willy Wonka’s very own creations.

Choose from the four Not Afternoon Tea plates on offer (featuring a selection of delicious desserts perfectly partnered with a bespoke cocktail) and opt for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience for the ultimate taste sensation.

A naughty but very nice Neapolitan Hot Shot sets the tone mixing Celaya hot chocolate with vanilla syrup and layered with white chocolate and strawberry foam. Sip on a Snozberry Slurp as you enjoy your choice of desserts and revel in sensory pleasure and childhood nostalgia with homemade ice cream jelly flowers, candy floss garnish and marshmallow twirl.

The happily-ever-after ending comes in the form of a Box of ‘Children’ Truffles, which features delectable treats characteristic of the lucky Willy Wonka Golden Ticket winners – such as the Violet Beauregarde blueberry macaroon with violet ganache.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Not Afternoon Tea Experience
Neapolitan Hot Shot
One Not Afternoon Tea Plate with Bespoke cocktail
Snozberry Slurp
Box of ‘Children’ Truffles


Available in the OXO Tower Brasserie from Thursday 23 May, Sunday to Friday 3pm until 5pm and Saturday 2pm until 4.30pm.

Performances of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical show Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

SPECTACULAR Floral Themed Afternoon Tea! At The InterContinental Westminster, London

Right in the heart of Westminster, The InterContinental London Westminster hotel is located in a historic 19th century building, which was once Queen Anne's Chamber. Its prestigious façade compliments a beautifully renovated interior within minutes of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.

Launching on the 17th May the hotel has created a Spectacular Floral Themed Afternoon tea to mark the start of the flower season in true British style. This afternoon tea sounds just amazing, we can't wait to try! The afternoon tea is served in a rather ethereal indoor garden room because as Alice Walker once said "Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors' 

Crazy tea pots filled with chocolate lollipops and giant white chocolate butterflies all adorn a very british inspired and utterly indulgent luxury tea! Inspired by the Laurent Perrier Bicentenary Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, guests can enjoy stunning and indulgent floral themed delicacies including a kaleidoscope of edible chocolatebutterflies, an elaborate top tier of lavender and strawberry tart, violet éclairs, a jasmine and jivara mille feuille and a chocolate and orange blossom shot which has been carefully paired with rosebud and Ceylon tea blend for a distinctly refreshing finish.

Edible chocolate butterflies, violet eclairs, mini mousse chocolate lollipops and free flowing Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne makes this gorgeous Chelsea inspired Afternoon Tea one not to be missed in London for the Chelsea season. Plants and Flowers from the Laurent Perrier Bicentenary Garden feature in Emmeline’s where the Tea is served offering a total Chelsea Garden Show experience.

Floral afternoon tea costs £45 with free pouring Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne and is available from 
17th May-2nd June.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Launch of the Spring / Summer 2013 Prêt-à-Portea Collection

The Berkeley's Prêt-à-Portea adds a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea with cakes and pastries resembling the latest catwalk designs for the style conscious. 

The new Spring / Summer 2013 Prêt-à-Portea collection sees designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Prada grace the Berkeley's tea stand. The selection includes:

Manolo Blahnik’s slingback chocolate biscuit heel with baby blue icing topped with timeless pearls.

Tory Burch’s glamorous violet halterneck biscuit bikini with magenta icing.

Oscar de la Renta playful high-waisted peach-pink bavarois shorts embellished with strawberry compote rosettes.

Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian chic pistachio green and vanilla striped pannacotta dress topped with chocolate ring.

Jason Wu coconut “Carolyn” hatbox shaped cake bag sandwiched in retro leopard print chocolate.

Balenciaga modern monochrome dark and white chocolate mousse dress set on a pecan nut brownie topped with flamenco ruffles.

Alexander McQueen whimsical yellow honeycomb cream oversized dress topped with marzipan bee.

Jonathan Saunders eye-popping ombré polka dot lemon and orange blossom dome shift dress set on a short bread biscuit.

Prada Geisha-like white chocolate and Grand Marnier oversized coat embellished with red poppies.

Prêt-à-Portea is served in the Caramel Room at the Berkeley from 1-6pm daily and is priced at £39 per person (£49 per person including a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne or £55 per person including a glass of couture champagne).

Wednesday, 8 May 2013



Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark tale of Charlie Bucket and the mysterious Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes – and to celebrate The Chesterfield Hotel have introduced a wonderful Willy Wonka inspired twist to the Traditional Afternoon Tea Menu.

Afternoon tea at the hotel has 
received the "Award for Excellence" from The Tea Guild for an 'Outstanding Afternoon Tea' for the third year running. 

For there new Charlie and the Chesterfield Afternoon Tea they have added Wonka Bars, Oompa Loompa cupcakes, fizzy lifting drinks and candy canes of all sorts to there legendary Traditional Afternoon Tea. And as well as an extensive selection of the finest loose leaf teas you can enjoy hot chocolate and ice cold milkshakes.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Newly Opened Wellesley Hotel is a Luxury Boutique Hotel in Knightsbridge London

Set in the glamorous area of Knightsbridge, this luxurious Art Deco hotel is conveniently situated 400 feet from Hyde Park. Marble Arch is 1 mile away and the world-famous Oxford Street is 1 mile away. A courtesy Rolls Royce car is provided for all guests, as well as a butler service for packing and unpacking bags.

The spacious rooms boast original features from 1920s, Italian marble bathrooms, and original, bespoke artwork. Some rooms have a separate lounge and uninterrupted views of Hyde Park. The rooms feature the most modern technology and high-speed Wi-Fi.

The Oval Restaurant celebrates a fine dining experience. The menu features exquisite dishes made of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Guests can enjoy a special selection of the finest cognac and whisky in the charming Crystal Bar.

A mile away from the Royal Albert Hall, The Wellesley also offers easy access to Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben, half an hour’s walk away.


The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is celebrating its centenary. To honour this momentous occasion the Fifth Floor has created a delicious selection of botanical cocktails.

Mare Flower 12.50 

Pushing boundaries of flavour beyond the classical botanicals. Gin Mare with its depth of herbal elements and lingering olives is perfectly mixed with thyme, hibiscus syrup and fresh lime juice. A refreshing springtime favourite garnished with hibiscus flower.

The Fennel Mule 12.50 
A simple drink based on the classic Moscow Mule, a refreshing creation that perfectly fits with the ethos of the spring season. Fennel infused Chase vodka is shaken with grapefruit and dill bitters, fresh lemon juice and charged with Luscombe ginger beer. Cool and tasty!

Artisan Julep 12.50 

Chartreuse and Galliano Autentico are enhanced with fresh pineapple, angostura bitters and a hint
of citrus. Perfectly paired to evoke the complexity of the savoury and floral components of these herbal liqueurs. Elegantly crisp!

Forbidden Fruit Martini 12.50 

This drink has been designed for the more adventurous and courageous drinkers. “Forbidden Fruit” in-house crafted liqueur made of honey, Edgerton pink gin, infused raspberries and a hint of citrus.
Shaken down with 20 year old aged balsamic vinegar from Modena and Harvey Nichols Tawny
port. This is truly a special one!

Violet Chelsea 16.95 
An elegant blend of Crème de Violette, fresh berries, Chase marmalade vodka and Prucia plum liqueur charged with Perrier--Jouët brut Champagne nv, served well chilled and dressed with a dried rose petal. The perfect way to begin your evening.

Rose and Melon Crush 15.95 
Inspired by spring blossoms, a delicious mix of Cantaloupe and watermelon crushed with strawberries, peach purée, rose syrup and charged with Harvey Nichols rosé Champagne.

NEW! Roaring 20s Afternoon Tea, Harvey Nichols 5th Floor London

For a heady, whirlwind of delicious pleasure that embodies the antics of the infamous, albeit fictional, opulence of a Great Gatsby party then head to the Fifth Floor for a truly unique afternoon tea experience.

Hedonistic and luxurious, the menu incorporates the key symbols of the jazz era with Lobster rolls, prohibition cocktails and peanut butter roll-up ‘Gatsby’ cigars.

So transport yourself back to an era of decadence and toast to the twenties with our stunning Roaring 20s Tea.

Choose either a coupette of Champagne with gold leaf, or a prohibition cocktail from the trolley.

Pigs in a blanket
Chicken Caesar roulade
Blini ‘gribiche’
Lobster roll

Summer Fruit and plain scone, clotted cream and Champagne jam

White chocolate and coconut pearl macaroon (in jewellery box)
Bootleggar rum, coffee and chocolate cake garnished with fireworks chocolate transfer
Pineapple upside-down cake, garnished with jewel
Gin Rickeys (mini martini glass), finished with crème de menthe jelly and a cocktail cherry
Harvey Nichols peanut butter cigar (from cigar box)

The Roaring 20s Afternoon Tea will be available at SEASON at the Fifth Floor from 1 May.
Served daily from 3pm – 5pm.

£30 for Afternoon Tea and £40 to include a prohibition cocktail or 125ml coupette of Champagne with gold leaf.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Spellbinding Day Aboard The British Pullman, Venice-Simplon Orient Express

For us the magic of stepping on board the truly glamorous Orient Express began when we arrived at London Victoria station. Wide-eyed and filled with excitement we headed towards platform two, where the train boards and departs. To aid us and indeed all passengers of the Orient Express, at the often hectic Victoria Station, are large brown boards showing signs with an unspoken aura to them, clearly depicting the 'Venice-Simplon Orient Express' entrance. We feel this is an indication of just how captivating, and indeed desirable a trip on the Orient Express is. In our experience, it was not uncommon for glances or picture opportunities by these signs; yet for us it only confirmed that this experience was going to be truly magical on this special Sunday day trip.

The Orient Express has its very own check in, with a truly buzzing atmosphere generated by lavishly dressed fellow passengers and accommodating staff. We made our way towards the front desk with our reservations in hand for Afternoon Tea on The British Pullman, via a short stop at Folkestone in Kent. We were politely and smoothly checked in, before being directed towards the complementary tea and coffee stand set up beside the entrance. We waited for just shy of ten minutes for the train to arrive, during this time frame our excitement was reaching unprecedented heights as we awaited our first glance of this iconic train. The arrival of the train pulling into the station was verbally announced, and it was at this moment we caught our first glance of the gleaming amber and cream carriages. As we proceeded down the platform we passed by different carriages proudly displaying their respective names. It is worth noting that each of the eleven carriages has its own history, with a truly unique story yielding a delightful charm to each carriage. Our carriage named 'Lucille' has it’s origins in 1928 having been built as a first class parlour car and as time progressed ran in the Bournemouth Belle. For those of you who are interested in more information on the carriages you will be delighted to know that on board is provided a booklet with information on each carriage. As we boarded the carriage we were warmly welcomed on board; the customer service was outstanding from the onset as we were shown to our seats.

The interior to the carriage is a beautiful blend of vintage glamour, showcasing veneered panels with exotic art deco marquetry. Our table from which we would be based for the majority of our Orient Express experience was perfectly presented. The table had a fitted, crisp clean white linen table cloth, with heritage silverware cutlery and exquisite chinaware. The table also included two bevelled glasses with the Venice Simplon monogram adding that extra special touch to the occasion. The head of the table has both fresh flowers and a statement Art Nouveau lamp, which we found beneficial when going through tunnels on our travels. The table is spacious yet intimate with deep, velvet armchairs to ensure your comfort throughout the journey. Before leaving London, we were introduced to the individual stewards that would be taking care of us throughout our journey. We would like to acknowledge three members of the team that really went the extra mile to ensure that our experience on the Orient Express will always hold fond, everlasting memories for us: Daniel, Mitchell and Jeff the train manager. Their passion and enthusiasm for their jobs is truly admirable.

As we pulled away from London and begun our journey to Folkestone we were each presented with a signature Bellini. This was a perfect choice of drink to indulge in whilst we took in the sights from our window. It was at this stage we were introduced to the train manager who greets each and every guest on board adding that unique, yet valued personalised touch. Prior to our menu being served, the stewards laid out our napkins and asked if we had any dietary requirements, the Orient Express is able to cater for an extensive range of requirements. It is worth mentioning that on the Orient Express individual care is of great importance. In some cases Jonathan Kohout, the head chef, will create a whole new menu to ensure full satisfaction for every guest. In a suitable time frame we were served our first course of brunch; a fresh fruit cocktail with a choice of indulgent yoghurt, if desired. The fresh fruit cocktail was arguably one of the best we have enjoyed, with fruit that was wholesome and bursting with flavour. There was also great variety in the fruit including grapes, lychees, grapefruit, watermelon and mandarin. The next serving within the brunch menu was scrambled eggs with chives and smoked salmon (from Inverawe Smokehouse, producers of the finest smoked salmon in Scotland), served on a warm crumpet with pan fried mushrooms. We really liked how the brunch was served. It began with a warmed plate, before each individual item was hand served, allowing guests to state their preferences. The food was divine; with a sufficient amount to leave you deliciously content. As we began to edge closer to Folkestone we were served our final course within our brunch menu, warm banana and walnut cake with whipped cream. The food quality served on board is exceptional, which resulted in some of the best meals we have indulged in. We discovered that on the Orient Express there is a heavy emphasis on creating a timeless, truly British menu. All produce used on board is linked to the locations that are passed throughout the journey. This also includes selecting local produce and looking within the markets to see which products are having a good year and only selecting the very best available.

When we arrived at our destination of Folkestone, we were greeted by a brass band, to our astonishment and enjoyment, joyfully playing on the platform. We really enjoyed the unique combination of novelty and the bygone era touch at this reception. It was at this stage of our journey that the passengers on the Orient Express divided. Those that would be traveling to Paris and Venice boarded on a separate coach, whilst those on the day trip boarded another. Stepping on board we were greeted warmly by Anne, who provided us with some details of the history of Folkestone and a much needed map. For those who are not aware of Folkestone it is a quaint seaside town with an interesting history. The town, in its past, has welcomed Charles Dickens, the English writer, has been a popular holiday destination and rather ironically, in light of its seaside setting and closeness to the European mainland, was at one stage a location were evacuees were sent during world war two. The coach stopped at Folkestone for a short while, allowing us plenty of time to enjoy the seaside air and surroundings. When we returned to the station the band resumed playing as we boarded the Orient Express, for the final time, for our return journey and the delights to come of the British afternoon tea, we were about to enjoy.

Returning to our carriage, we found our table had been perfectly re-made, in preparation. The afternoon tea began with us selecting our teas, which we elected to enjoy from the onset. On board the Orient Express Tregithnan tea is served. Tregithnan is the only producer growing tea in England, and subsequently has an impressive international reputation. The selection was neat, ranging from Black teas such as the ‘Classic tea’ which, as to be expected from the name, is bold and full bodied in taste to Herbal teas including ‘Peppermint tea’ which has a very strong, fresh aroma. The two teas on the list in their respected categories that we greatly enjoyed, throughout our afternoon tea were as follows. The first a black tea named ‘Afternoon Tea’ which is a light and exotic blend of hand-plucked leaves from the Cornish estate combined with the finest tea from Darjeeling. The second an herbal tea by the name of ‘Manuka Tea’ which comes from the only Mauka tree outside New Zealand, this tea has exotic notes with an intense aftertaste.

On the Orient Express, afternoon tea is served in the following order; a selection of freshly made sandwiches, freshly baked scones and finally a selection of afternoon tea pastries. Before this mouth watering selection every guest is treated further with a glass of 2009 Balfour Brut Rose, English sparking wine. This wine hails from the enchanting ‘Hush Heath Estate’ in Kent and has won numerous awards to date including receiving a gold medal in the 2012 ‘Decanter World Wine Awards’. We can personally testify that the taste of this wine is heavenly, and an excellent partner for your afternoon tea. Sitting back, enjoying both the views from our window and charismatic surroundings we were served our selection of sandwiches.

The Sandwiches keeping in-line with the truly British afternoon tea, consisted of the following classics; chicken and grain mustard mayonnaise, Scottish smoked salmon with black pepper and lemon, ham and English mustard, egg mayonnaise and cress and chive cream cheese and cucumber. Maintaining the very high standards on the Orient Express that we had begun to become accustomed to, the quality of the food was outstanding, with a flawless taste. It is very difficult for us to name a favourite, and we promise, whole heartily, you will too! Within a suitable time frame, and between a tea top up we were served our freshly baked warm scones. The scones were fantastic, and perfectly complimented with the Cornish cream and preserves (strawberry for us, of course!). The final serving of our afternoon tea, was undeniably our favourite. The selection included seasonal fruit tart, layered chocolate cake, Eton mess, pistachio and walnut carrot cake, blueberry mouse in an almond sponge and chocolate and coffee macaroons to finish. Our favourites in this selection are the Eton mess and chocolate and coffee macaroons. The Eton mess with every spoonful, reminded you of the summer months with delicate notes of summer fruits were as the macaroons were so flavoursome you could not help but smile widely in delight. For us, the combination of our surroundings being aboard the Orient Express, diligent staff and heavenly food made this our favourite afternoon tea to date.

As we returned to London Victoria our hearts sank at the thought of having to leave the Orient Express, because our time aboard had been so magical. We cannot recommend a trip on the Orient Express enough. In our eyes this would be an unforgettable day trip, birthday celebration or anniversary. It is no surprise to us, having experienced the Orient Express first hand that its reputation is so highly regarded.

*All pictures by kateandchelsie