Back in the 1920’s in the midst of post-war euphoria a sub culture emerged. The Bright Young Things, a nickname for the bohemian aristocrats and socialites of the day, who threw wild parties and went on incredible treasure hunts through London.
They started the modern day cult of celebrity and included artists and writers such as Evelyn Waugh, Nancy Mitford, John Betjeman, Noel Coward, Seigfried Sassoon and Cecil Beaton. The latter captured the age through his photography and became partially responsible for their public image while the Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies took a satirical look at the society and was later adapted as the 2003 film Bright Young Things.
Fast forward to December 2017, and one of London’s latest luxury hotels, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. The beautiful hotel is located inside a 1922 Beaux-Arts style building making it the perfect backdrop to celebrate that decadent era in the 1920s.
The location for afternoon tea is the Rotunda bar with it’s gorgeous art deco ceiling, an area bought to life with live piano music. After meeting Laura we soon settled down for a glass of bubbles to get us started.
Delamotte is the champagne served with the afternoon tea (though there’s the option to ‘upgrade’ to Charles Heidsieck Clos Des Millenaires 1995 brut champagne) and it’s served with the usual Four Seasons flourish. Honestly I’ve alway encountered such great service at the Four Seasons and I love their London hotels.
Regular readers will remember me heading to the hotel for afternoon tea before – the chocolate afternoon tea was excellent so I already had high expectations for the brand new Bright Young Things Afternoon Tea. I remember the sandwiches being beautiful and innovative last time and once again the chef has taken the classics and totally elevated them.
I mean did you honestly ever see such beautiful sandwiches? My favourite was the roasted beef with a tangy pink peppercorn sauce oozing out of a toasted brioche bun and topped with rocket and parmesan. I was also a fan of the salmon rillet topped with lime mayonnaise, egg roe and lemon balm leaves which reminded me of a Christmas canapé.
Laura loved the coronation chicken curry mayonnaise sandwich which was anything but retro, beautifully decorated with allysum flowers. The simple egg sandwich was enhanced with truffle and topped with soft cooked quail egg and the vegetarian beetroot bun had a beautifully balanced filling of hazelnut, chives and goat cheese mousse.
Our waiter also suggested a tea infusion to pair perfectly with our savoury course, the Sweet Cicely with it’s lemon base and subtle green anise notes was the ideal choice.
If those were the sandwiches, you can imagine our anticipation for the cakes… presented on this gorgeous art deco stand of interconnecting hexagons, I love the originality of the presentation.
A touch of theatre to dazzle us first as a sugar cube on top of the lime and raspberry jelly pannacotta was set alight. We both loved this dessert which had a kick of absinthe in it.
Next we had a chance to admire the beautiful pastries inspired by fashion and trends of the Bright Young Things era. My firm favourite was the rubi grapefruit cheese cake and cream cheese mousse and pink grapefruit confit which was refreshing and zesty. I loved the pearl necklace-like embellishment and the ruby red lips which represented the fashion of the time.
Chocolate-lover Laura was a big fan of the chocolate and salted caramel, salted butterscotch and Guanaja chocolate mousse. The appearance of the cake was like a cigarette on an ashtray and it bought to mind that iconic image of a 1920’s flapper. Actually before the 1920’s it was frowned upon for women to smoke in public so the freedom to do so represented a form of emancipation.
The delicious pistachio, blackcurrant and violet pistachio with chantilly, blackcurrant and violet jelly was also an embodiment of the changing fashions in the 1920’s, as wide brimmed hats were replaced with close fitting cloche hats for women. The final pastry was a mango, coconut and ginger citrus mousse filled with mango jelly and topping coconut and ginger dacquoise in the form of a top hat.
Scones came in a beautiful separate box to keep them warm – both plain and cranberry – and served with seasonal jams and Devonshire clotted cream.
If you’re looking to celebrate even more 1920’s style, Bartender Michal Maziarz has created a cocktail list inspired by the time and named for London’s flappers. Drinks include the Embalmer with Sipsmith gin, Tokaji wine and absinthe infused with poppy seed oil, Petting Pantry combining Plantation rum, dry sherry, spiced wine, spices and citrus oils and Corn Shredder Tanqueray TEN gin, agave, toasted corn and pink grapefruit. You can also expect music with a nod to American and British jazz alongside more modern influences.
It really comes as no surprise that The Bright Young Things afternoon tea is yet another triumph for Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – we seriously loved it!!
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
10 Trinity Square
Our afternoon tea was complimentary.