Every once in a while it’s wonderful to go somewhere truly luxurious and experience for yourself how the other half live. And it doesn’t get much more luxurious than The Langham – which resides, majestically, on Regent Street.
Something of a London institution, The Langham recently celebrated its 150th birthday and continues to be one of the most sought-after hotels and eateries in the capital. Father-and-son team Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr run its restaurant, The Landau, which gives you an indication of the kind of delights to expect should you be lucky enough to be invited for dinner.
It was afternoon tea, however, that was behind mine and Lynda’s visit – it having become something of a tradition for us to meet up for a scone or two around Easter. I have to say: entering through the hotel’s hallowed portals, having traversed the wilds of Oxford Street, you feel as though you’re entering a whole new world. It’s like having a weight lifted off your shoulders; you’re immediately made to feel special.
Tea is partaken of in Palm Court, which boasts the most wonderfully comfortable armchairs and elegant art deco surroundings. It’s a mellow environment but with a lively vibe, aided by the excellent pianist. Needless to say, we were looking forward to getting stuck into the food – but first, we needed to choose our beverage. This was more difficult than you might expect; The Langham offers one of the widest range of teas I’ve ever seen.
Eventually, Lynda opted for Orange Pekoe, from Jiang Su in China, and I plumped for The Langham’s own ‘150th Anniversary Blend’. Described as “the most complex tea blend in the world”, it brings together 150 ingredients in a blend of white, green, oolong and black teas, combining them with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers from around the globe. And very tasty it is, too.
As for the food: well, I can definitively say, hand on heart, that this is the best afternoon tea I have ever sampled – and I’ve sampled a few. Every element is perfect, from the delicious variety of breads in the sandwiches, to the warm & fluffy scones, to the home-made strawberry jam. The Langham has been serving afternoon tea for 150 years – and it shows.
An extra, lovely touch was the presentation of the final course, an assortment of fruit & vegetable-themed cakes, in a hollowed-out chocolate Easter egg: an edible work of art. Luckily, given how much food we’d already consumed, we were able to take our eggs home with us – nothing is too much trouble here.
It’s impossible to fault anything about The Langham. Even its toilets are palatial! Having racked my brains, I can only come up with one quibble: you’re encouraged to have a glass of champagne with your afternoon tea – which clocks in at a staggering £19 per glass. We declined this invitation, as did most of our fellow diners; there’s a fine line between treating yourself and being ripped off.
Said quibble aside (and it’s not as though it made any difference to the quality of our meal), this was the most fabulous experience and I can’t think of a nicer way to have spent Easter Saturday. The Langham is truly the Queen of Afternoon Tea; long may she continue to reign.