Sunday, June 5, 2011

Would You Care for a Spot of Tea?

Tea. It's not something that I've really ever been too jazzed by, but when in London, do as the Londoners do: tea time every afternoon.

My first teatime of my recent trip was at a local Primrose Hill cafe. Now, I'm not the kind of girl that can do the straight up stuff yet, so I enjoyed my tea with cream and sugar. Mmmmmm.

Little did I know that this experience was just the prelude to the mother of all tea experiences.

St. James's Restaurant at the famed Fortnum & Mason (aka The Queen's Grocer) is the absolute mecca for the perfect high tea experience. (Who am I kidding? F&M is a mecca for all things food period.) This amazing mercantile has been in Piccadilly London since 1707, and has every kind of tea, biscuit, cookie, jam and chocolate you could ever imagine. And so much more.

Our "high tea" reservations began with a toast and glass of rose bubbly - cheers!

Soon after, a three-tier tray of tea sandwiches, scones and pastries arrived...

which we slathered with sweet, juicy homemade jam, marmalade and clotted cream.

After perusing a multi-page book of tea varieties, we finally settled on two distinct F&M blends: Royal Blend and Regent's Blend. Hints of spice and herb and citrus flavors permeated the air the moment the hot water hit the leaves (yes, leaves; this is real tea, not instant).

Aren't I fancy?

As if the food weren't enough, just take a gander at the atmosphere...classical music being played on a shiny black grand piano; large, lush, fragrant floral arrangements displayed around the restaurant; and soft, plush chairs and couches covered in rich, luscious fabrics.

At any moment, I fully expected Ms. Jane Austen herself to walk in and join us.