Whittard's afternoon tea at Chelsea Harbour Hotel review
The famed tea company's newest in-house partnership sees old-world tradition meet modern chic in one of London's best-hidden corners
As the days grow longer and the afternoons warmer, the number of locations available to the avid tea drinker to indulge in their favourite pastime increases exponentially. And as all Brits will tell you, there are few better things with which to pair your oolong and your rooibos than a selection of delicious treats straight from the oven.
For those who love their afternoon teas fresh, colourful and steeped in history, world-renowned tea company Whittard of Chelsea - founded in 1886 by Walter Whittard - has you covered and then some.
Londoners may know the famed Victorian company from their regular Covent Garden and Regent Street hideouts, but now followers of their tastefully retro aesthetic and superb selection of teas can find them in the heart of chic west London, where the company was originally founded.
In the first partnership of its kind in the brand's history, Whittard has teamed up with the five-star Chelsea Harbour Hotel to bring guests the afternoon tea to end all afternoon teas - a sumptuous selection of baked goods and sandwiches to compliment the variety of intriguing teas on offer.
Self-described as "the perfect treat for the tea connoisseur in your life", the Whittard's afternoon tea experience begins with a peruse of the tea menu, which features some old favourites - from English Breakfast to Earl Grey and Darjeeling - while throwing in a few quirky oddities including a delicious cucumber, apple and mint tea, and Nilgiri Kala Moti, a dark, aromatic south Indian black tea.
A definite highlight of the tea selection was the rather apt 1886 Blend - a "hearty" black tea based on an original blend recipe by Walter Whittard himself, and a fitting tribute to Whittard returning to Chelsea, its spiritual home.
However, before the tea can cool enough to pass your lips, a mountain of food, perched on tasteful slate shelves, is placed before you. Masterminded by the hotel's head chef Kuljit Singh, the menu has been curated to "celebrate the great British tea tradition", and consist of a whole host of classic British staples crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
Bakewell tarts sit alongside thick red velvet cakes and plum posset with rhubarb caviar, with a wide palate of flavours inviting guests to pair up the hotel's creations with the teas on offer. And of course, freshly made scones and a selection of finger sandwiches come as standard. Look out for the spiced orange mascarpone cake - a rich but delicate compliment to the classic Earl Grey tea.
Few locations could be better for such opulent dining than the Chelsea Harbour Hotel, tucked away behind Imperial Wharf station in a sleepy cove of yachts and fishing boats, lined with tasteful white apartment blocks. From its bright, airy interior to its glass-fronted terrace overlooking the water, few places are more suited to a lazy, indulgent afternoon in the sun.
At only £22 per person, the Afternoon Tea at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a wonderfully affordable and unpretentious offering in the often ostentatious afternoon tea market, and by harking back to the roots of their company's foundations, Whittards has created a delightful timewarp in a thoroughly modern setting.