The quality and variety of afternoon teas in London just keeps getting better and better. Restaurants and hotels are constantly raising the bar when it comes to the creativity, flavours and artistic flair they inject into their tea time offerings. But sometimes, such abundance of choice can send you into a bit of a tizzy.
The afternoon tea at The Montagu, the very plush dining room of The five-star Hyatt Regency hotel, certainly falls into the luxe and traditional category. With seven different loose leaf teas to choose from, exceptionally decadent surroundings and a highly polished service, this is as quintessentially British as afternoon tea gets.
Review: Afternoon tea at The Montagu
It was a beautiful day in London when I dropped into The Montagu. Oxford Street was teeming with shoppers, the narrow alleyways of St Christopher’s Place were filled with al fresco diners and Portman Square on which the Hyatt Regency is located, was soaked in sunshine.
The hotel is a five minute walk from Marble Arch tube station, around ten minutes from Bond Street station and a 15-20 minute stroll from Oxford Circus, so it’s perfectly located for a luxury pit stop whilst you’re in the West End.
Plus, a quick FYI for the brides-to-be among you and those looking to organise a luxury event, the Hyatt Regency also offers private parties in Portman Square. It looks rather lovely, don’t you think?
With The Montagu’s smart art deco fittings around us and chandeliers sparkling above, the afternoon tea began with a teapot of refreshing Darjeeling tea.
We also had a glass of irresistibly bubbling Pommery Brut champagne, which at just £7 extra seemed very reasonable, compared to many London hotels.
Plus, you know someone’s taking their cuppa seriously when they provide you with an egg timer to indicate when your tea has reached optimal brewing time. It’s the little things, don’t you think?
The afternoon tea at The Montagu requires a good sized appetite, so make sure you get some laps of Oxford Street in before you arrive. Sandwiches cover most tastes, with smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg and cress, roast beef and horseradish and roasted ham fillings. There are also various white, seeded and sundried tomato breads available, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options too.
With delightfully chintzy crockery, starched white tablecloths and cutlery so shiny you can see your face in it, you can’t help but smile at how they present everything here.
The servers here are formal and informative yet friendly and they have that polished etiquette discerning diners look for in a five star hotel. I’m pretty sure the waitress who served us was the same lady we had the pleasure of meeting at the Gatsby dinner here some years ago.
And alongside the Art Deco feel, the stylish open plan kitchen and modern art that hangs in the lounge area allows The Montagu to fit in some sleek, contemporary features too.
Fresh-from-the-oven scones arrived just at the right time and the options of Cornish clotted cream, house-made strawberry jam and lemon curd was spot on. I’d have liked to perhaps see some fruit scones on the menu, but they were fluffy, buttery and delicious, just as they should be. So good in fact, I failed to get a photo.
Macarons are creeping into many afternoon tea menus in London now and the Hyatt Regency are keeping up with this trend. so my, the fruitiness, sweetness and gooeyness of these meringue morsels takes me to sweet tooth heaven. Definitely a highlight for me.
The rest of the pastries and cakes here are vibrant, creative and ever so naughty. The cute little cupcakes with sugar balls on top were novel, the fruit tarts were great, but the chocolate millefeuille with gold leaf detail did it the most for me.
While I’d recommend many come here for the elegant and classic style, ladies who want to feel like Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda can turn up the style factor with the ‘Sex and the City Par-tea’ (see what they did there). Swap the traditional finger sandwiches for salt beef bagels and Waldorf salad on bread, and add in some mini sliders, hotdogs with some pastries inspired by those fabulous ladies.
This is definitely one I’d like to try in the future, especially as you can swap the fizz for a very apt cosmopolitan cocktail.
But for less of the Big Apple and more of the English elegance, the traditional afternoon tea is one that stands out, for all the right reasons.
The Montagu, The Regency Hyatt, 30 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BH
Find the Hyatt on Facebook