As I've been gleefully exclaiming to all and sundry on my Youtube channel, yesterday I went for some Afternoon Tea (the very phrase conjures pomposity unlimited and therefore regally requires capital letters) at a very posh hotel in London with an intimidating dress code and a price list even more so. So finally, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and wandering about the flat in semi-constructed and poorly-considered outfit choices, we finally managed to mobilise our troops and begin our expedition to somewhere a little different.
I held Kiwi's hand as we nervously shuffled past the doormen of the Connaught Hotel and crossed the threshold, half expecting to be rebuffed by a cross-looking moustache in a top hat and tails, or for the unsmiling host blocking our entry to our desired destination to tell us that we were unsuitably attired, or our reservation could not be located.
Feeling none of the bravado of Red Riding Hood, I felt a little lost in the woods as we were ushered to a seat and sat down before my seat was pushed in. Luckily there was no slapstick tumble to the floor, rather an awkward pause as I calculated the distance between myself and the table, and the danger of dropping one of those so-carefully prepared pastries into that unavoidable gap. I stood up awkwardly and let the nice lady with the grey suit push my chair in a little further.
Imperial Earl Grey, just the way my dad takes it :)
A waiter-sommelier appeared to allow us to consider our tea choices, elucidating each one with well-rehearsed morsels of syntax, designed to tantalise and tempt. Having tremulously made our choices after parsing his foreign syllables with difficulty, we sat quietly and waited for something to happen.
With a few minutes we were poured our tea in china teacups and we began to feel infinitely more relaxed; quite a few people in the neighbouring tables were Just Like Us and the only silver spoon to be found was jostling in the saucer with the teacup, and certainly not in one of the patrons' mouths.
...And so mindful were we of that tiny silver spoon and how one must stir their tea gently so as not to chink the sides of one's cup. And to expertly steer conversation clear of politics or money, and to keep said conversation no louder than the chink of the china we were eating from.
Part of the mysterious Kiwi's hand and a pretentious shot of a teapot.
In a rather ungenteel manner, we demolished the sandwiches as soon as they arrived, so sadly there are no pictures of our delicious tidbits-crusts-cut-off-thank-you-very-much. Our favourite was the smoked salmon and wasabi, delicious with a waspish sting. Next came the pastries expertly arranged on a tiered stand by a wind-up toy of a waiter who'd clearly served over-excited childish adults with chocolate smeared around their mouths before.
Kiwi's hand, more of; cake stand of joy with coca cola shot at the top; derrière of waitress.
A flirty slip of a thing in a shot glass quickly caught both our attentions and we narrowed eyes over the cake stand before Kiwi offered it to me in a most gentlemanly manner (I was going to be paying the bill, after all). It was coca cola jelly, pink grapefruit marinated in whisky and a vanilla foam. It tasted like a 10 pence freeze-pop; sugary and ridiculous but very delicious.
There were, of course, a few ill-informed mishaps lurking in delicious-looking guises; a fluffy choux bun with salted caramel turned out to be inedible and Kiwi's mouth twisted as he bit into it. He deposited the rest onto my plate, passing the blame like a sullen child. Nobody, however, could resist the warm scones - which we shall not be rhyming with the word 'cone' if you please - which were provided with a selection of jam.
Jam and scones-which-do-not-rhyme-with-cones.
Now, I like jam. Jam is good. It is good on toast, and sometimes in cakes. It is also good on crumpets. Jam, however, does not get me excited. Nothing prepared me for the pineapple and vanilla jam however, all confidently sunny and caribbean in its little glass pot.
... Let's just say we bought our own pot. It cost £10.
Take-home sachets of Connaught special blend tea and the jam of epic JOY.
That's how good it was.
Our gluttony was topped off with a couple of slices of cake; one chocolate and one lemon and earl grey tea. I didn't eat them; I was far too full of other postage-stamp sized tasty eats and bijou morsels. After waiting a fairly long half hour for the bill, we rolled out onto the street into a taxi like plump, lumbering beetles.
When asked later if Kiwi had enjoyed his lofty afternoon sat in the Espelette conservatory at the Connaught, he mused for a second, then replied: 'You can't really rave about Afternoon Tea, though... Only politely enthuse.'
And so we did and I am - ever so politely and quietly.
Next time we go, however, we'll definitely do it right and order more sandwiches. There's always a never-ending supply of sandwiches.