Afternoon Tea and Eats [London]
Not sure how far you'd be happy to travel - my reco is just near Holborn station, so only a short distance from the East end of Oxford Street.
The first time I went with a friend who was invited by the PR people to review, but I liked it so much I've returned (as a paying customer) a number of times with friends, all of whom have really enjoyed it too.
Chancery Court hotel offer a "chocolate afternoon tea", it's not available every day, so check their site.
First, you are presented the tea caddy, and invited to examine, even smell, the sample teas to choose which tea you'd like.
Tea, sandwiches and scones are served to you at your table.
And after that, you are invited to help yourself from a wide buffet of beautiful patisseries on display. As well as the patisseries, of which the selection is very good and quality/ taste superb, there is often a chocolate fountain, a few tortes, cakes and cupcakes, and a few chocolates and sweets.
There is no rush and you can make return journeys as you like.
One of the recent visits was particularly nice as they had a pianist playing, but usually it's just a quiet room with a few other guests. I prefer that to loud buzzing places so it suits me fine.
Fortnum & Mason's Fountain (http://www.fortnumandmason.com/c-158-the-fountain-restaurant-fountain-restaurant-london-piccadilly.aspx) or the newly-refurbished Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (http://www.fortnumandmason.com/c-54-d...)
The Royal Afternoon Tea (one of the 3 menus) at the Intercontinental London Park Lane is excellent if you're willing to travel a little bit further.
Very good sandwiches (e.g. a luxurious lobster and prawn, spiced and sweet coronation chicken etc.).
The impeccable pastries deserve extra mention: an elegant victoria sponge cake layered with cream and a strawberry jelly with the firm density of membrillo, judicious marzipan binding together a moist Battenberg cake, the essence of a coffee cake in a smooth mousse of coffee layered with walnut cake, shortbread sandwiching meringue and jam (their expression of an eton mess).
Scones are served right out of the oven, to order, warm, moist, soft.
Very refreshing Gin & Dubonnet to start as well. Tea was a very good house blend, woodsy and fairly robust. Sweet and helpful service.
£35 including the cocktail, which was very good value compared most afternoon teas I've had.
Across the street, the afternoon tea at the Four Seasons is also very pleasant if only a little behind the Intercontinental -- they have a wonderful rosebud scented white tea, and the cannocini from the Italian-inspired afternoon tea is great -- crisp flaky, and balanced by the creamy filling with pistacchio.
Thanks for the rec for the Intercontinental - had afternoon tea there last Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it. We went for the Botanical menu, as you say excellent value at £38 with the champagne cocktail (infused with cardamom and vanilla, sublime). Sandwich selection included asapargus & beef on beetroot bread, roasted guinea fowl, smoked eel and prawn with caviar, all very tasty.
Plain scone and orange peel scone exactly as described: warm, moist, delicious and a nice touch with the quince jelly.
Pastries: 3 out of the 4 I enjoyed, but then one was marzipan based and I'm not a massive fan. They were pretty as a picture though and a highlight was the blueberry macaroon with jelly.
We went for the Park Lane blend of tea: I don't usually drink tea but this has me converted.
Nice room, although you do very much know you are sitting in a hotel - I know that's a strange thing to say as it is situated in a hotel but it has a little bit too much feeling like a hotel lobby, more to do with the use of the space than the actual decor.
Would definitely recommend though...
Thanks for reporting back. Good to hear that you liked it -- I'll have to try the other menus as well. Out of curiosity, how does it compare with other teas that you've had? Another one that I like nearby is the Athenaeum, which is a bit more elaborate, but I think is slightly less finessed than the Intercontinental.