Afternoon Tea @ The Goring Hotel, Belgravia/Victoria, London
An amuse - pleasant soft fibres of lobster and chicken, with a slght nutty crustacean flavour, coated with cream, and perked up by perhaps a hint of spice.
Guinea hen with a light brush of cream or mayonnaise, earthy, savoury bits of bird, was my favourite sandwich of the lot, blanketed by soft pillowy bread. The prawn filling was also good, resembling the amuse bouche a little. A good egg sandwich, creamy yolks and a delicate jelly-like resistance from the chopped firm whites; with and a bite from watercress. Supple salmon, notably more smoky than most, a flavour sustained but not overpowering.
Very delicate scones, crumbling easily, but moist and soft. The clotted cream has the consistency of a dense whipped cream, nicely presented as near perfect spheres. Jam was basic, the generic Wilkinsons and Sons, perhaps a little disappointing.
A burgundy coloured petal encased in fine, crunchy sugar, sits atop a moist, soft and somewhat dense sponge cake with a scarlet filling of jam, wonderfully enhanced by a nuanced fragrance of rose -- their version of a victoria sponge cake.
The gooseberry fool is also lovely, a dry and very brittle meringue, breaking into powder, a prelude to a good balance of rich cream and tart gooseberries.
A wonderful crust in the fruit tart, giving off an immensely satisfying snap with each bite, breaking decisively and deliciously.
Medium dense mousse-like chocolate over a gentle application of coconut, another well balanced combination.
Finally, finished with a little trifle, an enjoyable interplay of moist bits of cake, dense cream, sweet jammy strawberries.
A big pot of Darjeeling, somewhat more sturdy than airy, not the most fragrant of the ones I've had, but not bad.
The interior was sumptuous in red and gold, the fire place would probably be very welcoming in the winter. On an uncommonly bright day, the conservatory with a view of the garden, would be wonderful.
£35 for the indulgence (nearly £40 with the 12.5% service charge). Very good indeed, but at that price range I think I enjoyed my experience last year at the Connaught a little more (Connaught had better sandwiches and jams, Goring had better pastries, imho). The pastries showed exceptional technique, but comparable skill can be found at Reubens at the Palace, where I had afternoon tea last year, at a lower price (but also less luxe environment).