Friday, May 4, 2012

Tea for One Tour of London: A Fashionista's Tea at the Berkeley

The nondescript exterior of the Berkeley Hotel belies the fashionable happenings inside. The minute I heard about the Berkeley’s Pret-a-Portea: A Fashionista’s Afternoon Tea, I knew I had to experience it. The reservation was actually the first one I made (even before the Ritz!)

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Twice a year, the culinary geniuses at the Berkeley bring the fashion collections from London Fashion Week to life in sugary form, transforming clothing and accessories from the runway into pastries and desserts. Even Vogue is impressed .

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I was excited to meet up with Saira again in the hydrangea-filled lobby on Friday afternoon for Pret-a-Portea in Caramel Room of the Berkeley.

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The Pot of Tea: My eyes were immediately drawn to the Pear Caramel tea on the menu. The pear flavor dominated the tea; I did not pick up any caramel notes at all. But still, pear tea is pretty delicious!

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The tea pot and china were created by designer Paul Smith for Thomas Goode.

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The Menu: The sandwich plates arrived first loaded up with similar sandwiches to every other tea but with a tuna wrap too!

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The sandwiches were replenished upon request.  I must confess that I was not overly wowed by the sandwiches at this tea. 

Something unique to the tea here relative to everywhere else I went was that a few amuse bouche filled the bottom of the serving tray. A feta mousse atop a pita and gazpacho were included on the plate.

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But the menu here is all about the desserts inspired by the London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

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We were given a frame that showed the exact fashions that inspired the treats; it was fun matching everything up!

Gucci art deco Grand Marnier and dark Valrhona chocolate mousse embellished with golden beads (The "beads" were golden Pop Rocks!!!)

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Mulberry white chocolate crème de menthe and raspberry mousse topped with a lemon meringue

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Miu Miu 1950's inspired vanilla bikini biscuit with red hot icing and playful white bow  and Christian Louboutin  neon yellow high heeled chocolate biscuit with signature red sole.

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Jason Wu romantic cherry bavarois and coconut cream topped with playful pink skirt and biscuit heel (Yes, that is a leg sticking up out of the glass! Even though I have never seen the movie, it reminded me of the leg lamp in A Christmas Story.)

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Valentino romantic peach cake dress with light pink champagne jelly and edible flower

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Dolce & Gabbana light blue Sicilian blueberry sponge cake wicker basket wrapped in chocolate. (While the most visually stunning of the treats, it did not taste so good.)

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Michael Kors safari opera cake with dark chocolate and mocha filling topped with signature leopard print.

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Pretty amazing, right?

Reservations: I booked all of my afternoon tea reservations (except for the Ritz) using the Afternoon Tea website. You can book all of your teas using this website and take advantage of special offers on the website. I highly recommend using it; my experience with its services was flawless.

Attire: It’s a fashionista’s afternoon tea! Wear your favorite outfit!

Near the Berkeley: Just off Knightsbridge road in Knightsbridge, the Berkeley is within walking distance of both Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Maybe you spot some the fashions that inspired the treats in the store!

Things I loved about Tea at the Berkeley

The concept of this tea is pure genius! Combining the art of fashion with the ritual of afternoon tea is just brilliant.  In conjunction with the Queen's Jubilee, the Berkeley is doing a tea in early June where the treats are inspired by hats worn by the royal family. I bet Princess Beatrice Toilet Seat Bow Hat shows up in the mix. 

The detail in the desserts is amazing. The desserts here were not the best ones I had all week but they were the most creative.

Saira and I were each sent home with a goodie bag containing extras of the fashionable treats!

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For more information on Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley, visit their website {here}. The afternoon tea menu can be viewed {here}.

Afternoon Tea Fun Fact #4: The simplest form of afternoon tea is cream tea. Add fresh strawberries to cream tea and you have strawberry tea. Alternately, if you add more sweets to cream tea, you get light tea.{VIA}

6 comments:

  1. That's great news, so glad to have you joining along with me! This is definitely my favourite looking afternoon tea of the ones you have blogged about so far! I am just sucked in by all the bright colours! I just love the gold bead pop rocks and that creme de menthe, raspberry, lemon meringue concoction just blows me away with how awesome it looks, hope it tasted just as good! Although I have tried dozens of different afternoon teas in the UK in my time they have been been at any of these fancy London hotels so it's nice to have a sneak peek...and I just LOVE that you got a goodie bag to take home - how awesome!

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  2. I had the pop rock one in my goody bag, and I think it may have been my favourite! Though the one with the leg was good too. I am giving serious thought to going back for the Royal Hat edition this summer. If I do I will send you pictures!

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  3. This is my favorite tea in London! Can't wait for the Jubilee tea in June!

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  4. I cannot wait to read about your Jubilee tea experience! I saw some of the preview pics of it in the Daily Mail and it looks amazing!

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  5. It really was amazing! Definite WOW factor. ;-)

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