Le Méridien put the G&T in afternoon tea
Le Méridien in Piccadilly, a plush, suave five-star establishment (which we hadn’t noticed was there before to be honest), have honed in on the afternoon tea indulgences by putting their G&T Bar to good use.
Tea-lovers can opt for something a bit different and original by taking up the luxury Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea at £32 a head, rather than the normal choices for straight-up tea and cake. Seated in the light room adjacent to the Terrace Bar & Restaurant, we were lucky enough to be seated in their large yellow chairs (and even offered the addition of a pillow). The rest of the area seems more appropriate for business meetings and those who don’t plan on slouching out for three hours.
But let’s get to the menu: scanning for the gin & tonic options we discovered there were many choices including various gins infused with herbal, spices or fruity notes. We opted to firstly try the Chilli & Vanilla Sloane Gin as recommended by our ever-accommodating waitress, and the Bulldog infused with Lychee.
They came to our table in small clear teapots with strainers, which we jumped with excitement to try – minus the syrup provided. We nearly choked on the hard kick of alcohol and growing heat of the chilli, with delicate vanilla trailing off afterwards. This proved to be a surprising favourite the second time round when we used the addition of the syrup for that extra sweetness.
The Bulldog infused with Lychee was floral and delicate in flavour compared to the first; it was also served chilled and reminded us of elderflower hints – a lot more subtle-tasting.
The tray of afternoon tea treats included traditional finger sandwiches, all delicious, and placed above them was a cupcake with two mini macaroons sticking out of the top like butterflies wishing to take off, but stuck in a swirl of buttercream – this was herbal lavender.
The mini danish pastry, forest fruity cream panna cotta and even more mini macaroons were all pleasant in that they accompanied the gin well. A tip would be to purposefully leave the mini chocolate rolled gooey patisserie hiding amongst the rest until last. It was a soft, indulgent, “stick to your fingers” bitter chocolate treat to die for.
The next level to the tray was filled with four large scones. These were not too sweet, and a perfect bake with clotted cream and fruit jam to perk up even the tiniest of bites.
Moving back on the gin, the third one we tried was the sweet basil infused with rosemary which smelt like strong cardamom spiced chai in fragrance and definitely had a herbal note. However, you couldn’t taste the rosemary as much.
Finally finishing and craving a cup of tea (ironically), we ordered some green and jasmine flowering tea to help soothe the sugar fix from the cakes and alcohol. After spending over three hours relaxing, our tables were covered in teapots and cups.
For the price you pay at Le Méridien, it remains competitive with other places. Whilst the Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea experience is good, the actual food, pastries and desserts included are nothing spectacular. Maybe a trip to their G&T bar alone to taste their infusions makes for interesting conversations, as it is something out of the ordinary.
For more information or to book a table at Le Méridien, 21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH, visit the restaurant’s website here.