Showing Keith Richards how it's done, the big boss herself (aka the Queen) has just turned the big 9-0. To celebrate, the Rubens at the Palace has launched a Royal Afternoon Tea fit for, well, a royal. From coronation chicken rolls to chocolate biscuit cake (a favorite of Prince William), this experience promises to leave you feeling like royalty. Never one to turn down the promise of cake, I recently donned my tiara and headed down to the Rubens to see if it really does live up to Her Maj's exacting standards.
Though potentially one of the most affordable afternoon tea experiences in London (at only £32 per person), there's no skimping on quality here. The sandwiches alone were so good that I could have happily eaten another four tiers of them. From the fluffy cloud-like bread to the scrumptious fillings, they were a true carb-lover's dream.
As for the service, it was incredibly warm and friendly whilst still maintaining the high level of polished professionalism that you would expect in such an environment. Enci, our hostess with the mostess for the day, ensured that we felt properly pampered and were never left wanting for anything.
Following Enci's advice, once we had demolished the sandwiches we moved onto what I will now refer to as The Tier of Dreams, aka the dessert selection. From an almost-too-pretty-to-eat cherry eclair to a decadent raspberry and pistachio coronation tart, everything was spot on and beautifully presented. And even though the diamond chocolate biscuit cake was so rich that after one bite I firmly declared there was no way I could possibly finish it, two minutes later there was nothing left on my plate but a smudge of chocolate where the cake had once stood (yes, I considered licking the plate but managed to refrain).
Finally, we finished with an adorable jam penny and a right-on-the-money orange-scented scone. By the end, the only thing left in front of us were two solitary red velvet cupcakes. I'm pretty sure we could have conquered these as well, but at the risk of looking like gluttonous cavewomen we instead requested the cupcakes be boxed up (into what turned out to be the cutest take-away box ever made).
All washed down with a lovely pot of tea (Lady Grey for me and a nutty chocolate tea for my partner in gluttony), this was easily one of the best afternoon teas I've experienced. The atmosphere was luxurious without being stuffy, the service impeccable, and every bite was perfectly-presented and delicious to boot.
But did we leave feeling like royalty, you ask? You bet we did. Although, after all that scrumptious food, I felt more Henry VIII than Kate Middleton...
Word of advice: go hungry.