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Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason

Beautiful is not an adjective that I tend to use to describe a department store, but when I walked into Fortnum and Mason I felt quite literally like a kid in a candy store…
The ground floor is not only full of confectionery, coffee and cake but everything comes in such pretty jars and containers.  Here you can also find the Fountain Restaurant, Fortnum’s famous all-day brasserie which serves all the British classics such as Fish and Chips, Welsh Rarebit and Rhubarb Crumble.
And there’s an opportunity to create your own bespoke hamper…I’m sure mine would contain a bottle of champagne (or two), smoked salmon, crusty bread and caviar and Mr S and I would take it to nearby Green Park to enjoy on a snuggly blanket.
Descend the spiral staircase and on the lower ground floor and you will find flowers, cheese, fresh produce and most importantly the very best fine wines and champagnes. As you can see Fortnum and Mason has come a long way since it opened in 1705 as a small grocery store.
Back upstairs, and on to the first floor is the adorable Parlour restaurant. Not just a simple ice-cream parlour, this is a ‘decadent ice-cream experience.’

 

I continued up the stairs through the second floor containing millinery, jewellery, perfume and climbed on up through the third floor of gentleman’s accessories and stationery. Finally, reaching the peak of the store: The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
Fortnum and Mason has been a London institution for over 300 years and like any good Brit, the store has always taken tea very seriously. In 1926 the original small grocery store transformed into the glamorous department store that now stands at 181 Piccadilly with the inclusion of a restaurant serving afternoon tea!!
On the 1st March 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s sixty year reign, Fortnum’s top floor restaurant was refurbished and reopened by the Queen herself, accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cornwall.
The kind invitation to tea had come from Melanie from Sunny in London, and our experience was courtesy of our friends at Zomato (please follow Melanie on Zomato, and follow me too).
The tea salon really is the diamond jewel in the crown of the department store. The decor is fit for a princess: white, bright and classic with touches the signature Fortnum’s duck egg blue.

 

Fortnum’s offer three options for afternoon tea: classic, savoury or high tea, the latter starts with a more substantial savoury. As bloggers we always have to get something different, it’s for the photos ya know? Melanie chose classic, and as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I was really pleased to have a savoury tea option. Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy Free, Diabetic and Gluten Free Afternoon Tea are all also offered, I’ve never seen dietary requirements quite so well catered for at tea.
No clever, new-fangled presentation here, our afternoon tea came served the traditional three-tiered cake stand.
Our two teas came with an identical sandwich selection.
The fillings were every bit as English as the Queen, with the obligatory cucumber and cream cheese, chicken and sweetcorn, rare roast beef, smoked salmon and egg and cress.
Ok, a confession…I don’t actually like tea…I know, I know it means I’m not truly British but give me a cup of coffee over an Earl Grey any day! Fortunately, at Fortnum’s there is a menu of over 80 teas so I opted to try a black tea infused with strawberry, where Melanie went for a classic black tea.
We bridged the gap from the lower tier to the upper tier of the selection with our scone course.
I loved these unique savoury scones: the left is lemon and dill with smoked salmon and cream cheese and the appealing green bun is pea and mint with Bayonne Ham.
Melanie’s traditional twosome was served with clotted cream and Fortnum’s own preserves.
The top tiers of our teas couldn’t be more different.
The decadent savoury selection contained a leek and bacon tart and chicken liver foie gras shortbread with strawberry and rhubarb.

 

But most excitingly, the third item was Oeufs Drumkilbo. The dish was the late Queen Mum’s favourite midnight snack, a posh hybrid of lobster cocktail and egg mayonnaise.
And Melanie’s selection was a beautifully delicate quintet of petite pastries.
Melanie loved the delicate bites especially the rose eclair and banoffey bomb! Throughout the tea we were treated like royalty with excellent service and offers to replenish our plates with anything that we wanted.
When we finished our tea we were invited to make a selection from the Cake Carriage. Melanie and I were full from our teas so we decided to bring home some treats for Mr Sunny and Mr Silver.
I knew Mr Silver would appreciate a big slab of chocolate cake, where Melanie chose the colourful Battenberg cake for her Mr S. And we said goodbye after our delicious teas, feeling quite like the corgis who got the cream!
A big thank you to Melanie and Zomato for inviting me to tea, I can certainly see why Fortnum and Mason’s gets the royal seal of approval!
Fortnum and Mason
181 Piccadilly
London
W1A 1ER
020 7734 8040
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason on Urbanspoon