Radisson Blu afternoon tea is on the much more affordable end of tea in London, but is it any good? Read my review to find out.
Recently, a friend was coming up to London and we were debating what fun things to do. Being a newbie to the city myself, I wasn’t really a fountain of knowledge, and wanted to avoid the cliché things that I always end up doing like a stroll along the Southbank or shopping. Also, as we don’t catch up much, we didn’t want to do the luvvie-thing and sit through a play or musical and not talk.
So we opted for another very-London thing to do – afternoon tea. It’s the perfect filler between lunch and dinner. But, unlike the lunch and dinner, you’re not rushed out after you’re finger sandwiches have dried up or gone soggy (depending on your filling).
Regular tea-goers will also know that afternoon tea is all about the atmosphere. Yes, you care about the scones, cakes, sandwiches and of course your tea, but what you’re really bothered about is sitting in a decadent Edwardian surrounding and feeling posh for the day, while some poor soul caters for your every whim. It is essentially you’re chance to be a pretentious bi-atch.
If you’re from the city, you’ll know there are an abundance of hotels, museums and landmarks that will host you for a couple of hours for a princely sum. And that’s where the trick is, if it isn’t princely – or pricey – you might not get the best deal. Because when it comes to high tea, you really do get what you paid for.
As our afternoon tea was a rather hastily planned affair, we ended up scouring lastminute.com to see what deals there were. Here was everything from Harrods to Claridges, but as they didn’t suit our timings, we opted for the lesser renowned Radisson Blu Edwardian. The price was surprisingly cheap – £17.50 each – compared to the other places which averaged around £35. However I wasn’t put off by this. In fact, being Asian, I quite liked getting a bargain. Plus it had Edwardian in the name.
Unsurprisingly though, it wasn’t quite the decadent affair I expected. Situated right in the centre of Leicester Square, The Radisson Blu afternoon tea room wasn’t in the hotel as I’d have thought, but in a small bar area across the road. The room itself was more corporate than Edwardian with white walls and leather chairs.
We were asked for tea options, I went for peppermint tea (as I find that breakfast tea in hotels is just too weak and resembles cat-pee). But my friend chose the cat-pee.
We were sat next to a rather draughty window, but once I whinged to the staff, the heating was put on. Then the brews came, but my friends arrived minus the milk. As there weren’t many staff, it took around 5-10 minutes to get someone to bring the milk. Though they apologised profusely once they
realised the error of their ways.
As the décor of Radisson Blu was a bit bland, we were holding out for the sarnies and cakes. They arrived fairly shortly – and we were presented with four sets of finger sandwiches, two scones, cupcakes and carrot cakes. The cakes were lovely, and the salmon and egg and cress sandwich was OK, but there was a cucumber sandwich (read cucumber, margarine and NOTHING else) which was a bit miserly. Having said that, it seemed like more than enough for two of us, and we were stuffed on half the food.
One plus I would say about this Radisson Blu afternoon tea experience was that it did give us the opportunity to spend over two hours chatting. Staff weren’t impatient and happily refilled our cups. So while afternoon tea is great for whiling away the time, I would go somewhere else next time and be prepared to pay just a little more for the experience.
While the Radisson Blu Edwardian afternoon tea was cheap as chips and did the basics, the food, atmosphere and service didn’t quite come up to scratch.
It’s great if you’re on a tight budget, but I think the whole point of afternoon tea is having a bit of luxury, and you can’t do that by halves.
For my review of Mad Hatters afternoon tea, click here.