Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough review
Knightsbridge hotel’s new pastry chef takes inspiration from the West End smash
Hamilton may be the hot West End ticket of the moment, but visitors were sipping tea and nibbling cakes at the Hyde Park Corner site now occupied by the Lanesborough hotel long before the titular Founding Father was born.
Lanesborough House, which once stood on the site now occupied by the hotel, was built in 1719, predating the historical Alexander Hamilton by 38 years.
With the arrival of new head pastry chef Gabriel Le Quang coinciding neatly with the musical opening its doors just down the street at the Victoria Palace Theatre, it’s no surprise that the hotel looked to Hamilton for a new twist on its celebrated afternoon tea.
The Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea is served in the Celeste restaurant, the hotel’s opulent dining room.
A domed-glass ceiling decked in gauzy white cloth floods the room with natural light, while its striking Wedgwood blue walls and classical white columns and bas-reliefs reflect The Lanesborough’s Regency origins.
The afternoon tea opens with a glass of champagne and a selection of five dainty finger sandwiches, with classic fillings such as smoked salmon and and cucumber and mint.
Tea is served, chosen from The Lanesborough’s extensive selection, as we then begin on the sweet portion of the feast.
The Lanesborough is justly celebrated for its scones, close-textured, sugar-glazed and served warm from the oven, but the Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea comes with the addition of petit fours inspired by the life of the Founding Father.
Fans of the musical will immediately recognise the coral-coloured Grapefruit Religieuse as Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s sister-in-law and confidante. Two choux pastries, filled with pomelo and chantilly cream, are crowned with a delicately spun edible hat.
The tropical flavours inside the vanilla sponge Exotic Lace Cupcake and the Caribs Chocolate Star, a rich ganache sandwiched between two thin shortbreads, pay homage to Hamilton’s childhood in St Kitts and Nevis.
Pecan Pie, a twist on the quintessential American dessert, is topped with a slice of caramelised banana and generous pipings of a delectable pecan-infused chantilly cream.
The Blackberry Cheesecake is the most visually striking of the pastries. A glossy purple globe, burnished with a handful of tiny gold stars and balanced atop a crisp biscuit base, the creation is inspired by Alexander Hamilton’s gold-buttoned uniform during the Revolutionary War.
The inside is equally impressive, with a robust blackberry confit concealed within a fluffy cheesecake mousse
The only aspect of the experience from which Hamilton is absent is, ironically, the music - the pianist gently tinkling away at one side of the room sticks to a familiar assortment of jazz standards.
For fans of the musical, it’s hard to imagine a better pre-theatre treat, but you don’t have to be a Hamilton expert to appreciate the full-bodied flavours and minute attention to detail present in Le Quang’s creations.
The Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea is £39 per person (£49 with a glass of champagne) and is served from 2.30pm until 4.30pm during the week and from 3pm until 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.