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Eat, Sleep, Drink

Review: An Afternoon at the Alice

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Afternoon Tea is always a treat and The Alice at the Randolph is the perfect place to spoil the one you love. Although I was reviewing it with Mothers’ Day in mind for this, our Women’s Issue, in fact, I went with one of my oldest and certainly my closest friend.

It wasn’t intentional that the day we went was 13th February, also known as ‘Galentine’s; a day to celebrate female friendship. However, the planets thus aligned, I found myself sitting in one of the world’s most iconic hotels, the Randolph Hotel. Although I’ve visited on many occasions this was my first experience of Afternoon Tea in the beautifully refurbished Drawing Room. Our table by the window was swathed by winter sun and within minutes we were greeted and seated and greedily sipping crisp pink prosecco in an atmosphere of laughter and lightness.

The exceptional service continued and as our tea arrived we were in no doubt that this was going to be a very pleasant experience.

Afternoon Tea was a tradition introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840 to stop feelings of hunger between lunch and a very late dinner. These days the vogue for afternoon tea continues, although advances in the mastery and magic of patisserie chefs has leant a more contemporary edge to the offerings, and our tea ticked both boxes.

The elegantly displayed array of sandwiches included all the traditional favourite fillings and came with a piping hot buttery-crisp sausage roll made with black pudding which was quite divine. The all-important scones were moist, warm and plentiful and came with generous helpings of clotted cream, jam and also lemon curd. The cake layer offered up dense, decadent wedges of chocolate pave, and light, creamy yoghurt mousse. Special mention must go to the stunningly beautiful and unabashedly pink macarons which looked rather dazzling against the blue and white striped china (although I could be pedantic and point out that the blue is fact Cambridge rather than Oxford – sacre bleu!). All was enticingly displayed and served with a smile.

Our glasses were never allowed to be empty for long as the prosecco flowed, and the choice of teas was satisfyingly extensive.

The Randolph may be iconic but it certainly isn’t at all stuffy, which is quite a good thing as our afternoon came complete with giggles and whispers which I must confess, became a little louder than anticipated as the afternoon went on.

Would I recommend Afternoon Tea at The Randolph? Without a doubt. Whether it’s a birthday, a get together or a treat this is the place to make a celebration into an occasion.

From £35 pp graduatehotels.com

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