For my mother’s birthday I took her to tea at Blakes Hotel in South Kensington as it is the kind of, discreet yet chic, boutique hotel that we both admire. Oh, and they have a Chinese Room which you can have your tea in and my mother adores Chinese art, although as it was quite dark inside we opted to sit in the Japanese garden instead. Anouska Hempel famously designed Blakes as the ‘world’s first luxury boutique hotel’, and it is extremely lavish whilst not grand or ostentatious. I loved the details, including the parrot in reception! If you are looking for a tranquil, private and sumptuously decorated place to stay then Blakes would certainly be the hotel for you.
Having read a few mixed reviews I was very pleased with the food that we ate. The sandwiches were absolutely superb, certainly among the very that I’ve had at any hotel. The bread was light and the fillings delicately flavoured – the chilli horseradish (in the beef sandwich) was not at all overpowering nor the ginger in the chicken sandwich (and I usually detest ginger, but not on this occasion). The lime and salad garnish was an interesting idea and I am a big fan of using slate for the presentation, and it was particularly effective with the surroundings (lots of black).
The scones and cakes were also presented on slates as opposed to a cake stand, and neither disappointed. The scones were perhaps the highlight of the afternoon, they were on the smaller side however were perfectly warm, soft and fluffy. As well as the usual strawberry jam and clotted cream, fresh strawberries were also provided which was a very welcome addition – there is not much that can beat fresh berries after all! The green tea cake was interesting and had quite a creamy texture, though not enough taste we felt. My favourite was without doubt the chocolate which was moist and oh so melt-in-the-mouth. Meanwhile the madeira cake was a little too dense, although I did enjoy the raspberry on the top (of course). In summary, I would recommend Blakes without any hesitation for their delightful, and very personal, afternoon tea.