FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA | THE CONNAUGHT

Having had fabulous afternoon tea experiences at The Berkeley in the last couple of years, I was very much delighted to finally pay a visit to their sister hotel, The Connaught, to experience their festive take on afternoon tea.
Stood in front of this iconic hotel is the Connaught Christmas tree, which has been the anchor of Mount Street during the festive months, each year given a creative touch by some of the top artists in the world – this year, it has been designed by internationally-acclaimed artist Sean Scully.

The warm and festive vibes continued as we stepped through the main entrance of the hotel before making a turn to enter the legendary Jean-Georges at The Connaught. As you would expect, the place was bustling with fellow afternoon tea aficionados like myself, and we were fortunate to be seated at a lovely table with a view that overlooked the streets of Mayfair. I loved how the light flooded in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, which featured stained-glass panels by Jean-Michel Othoniel, in shades of red, orange and yellow to represent the passing of the day – from sunrise in the east to sunset in the west. Striking flying saucer-type pendant lights hang from the ceilings in the curving conservatory section, representing clouds.

For Christmas, The Connaught’s pastry chefs have created a special festive-inspired edition of their traditional afternoon tea. We perused the menu which had been printed with playful illustrations by Jean Jullien, excited for the treats to arrive.

We started with glasses of my favourite apéritif, the light and elegant Laurent-Perrier Rosé NV Champagne, that always adds some sparkle to the afternoon, enjoyed alongside a pre-afternoon tea bite which was a tasty mini waffle cone filled with mushroom and smoked eel.

For the tea, I went for one of my favourite classic teas, Darjeeling Beauty, and later on ordered the Assam First Flush, a strong yet refined breakfast tea.
The dainty home-made finger sandwiches included:

Cucumber with greek yogurt, lime mint on herb bread
Egg & truffle mayonnaise on white bread
H. Foreman’s smoked salmon with chipotle, coriander, iceberg lettuce
Roast ham with cranberry chutney, sweet potatoes & coconut on beetroot bread
Norfolk turkey with brussels sprouts, brussels purée, caramelised onion on onion bread

I enjoyed all the different fillings, but I was particularly fond of the roast ham with the subtle sweet flavours from the cranberry chutney and sweet potatoes, as well as the Norfolk turkey with brussels sprouts – some of my favourite festive foods that I particularly love to indulge in at this time of the year.

Not long after, our stunning cake stand, the tiers filled with beautifully decorated pastries – a visual feast that we could not wait to tuck into. The plain and wholemeal scones, prepared to a time-honoured recipe, were served warm from the oven, lovely and golden, with a nice rise to them. They tasted as good as they looked, buttery with a nice fluffy texture, served with Cornish clotted cream, home-made strawberry jam, and an organic mandarin & vanilla jam.

The pastries all looked incredibly intricate and creatively designed to fit the Christmas theme. There was an indulgently rich Christmas Log made with passion fruit jelly and tonka chocolate crémeux, a shiny edible Christmas bauble made from chestnut cream, blackberry mousse & speculoos biscuit, and a vanilla mousse with hazelnut praline shortbread, presented in the shape of a mini reindeer.
My favourites included the snowy white coconut mousse with white chocolate and lime gel, topped with a chocolate snowflake, and the orange sponge with cinnamon cream and candied orange, topped with a mistletoe.

To top off the whole experience was a playful touch of theatre in the form of a chocolate fondue with a charming gingerbread man biscuit for dipping. And just before we left, we were also gifted a couple of bags filled with stollen bread to take home, which was a nice treat for breakfast the next morning.

Afternoon Tea at Jean-Georges at The Connaught is served at 2.30pm and 4.30pm every day. The Festive Afternoon Tea is exclusively available until 1 January 2020 and is priced from £75.00 per person.

  • My Festive Afternoon Tea experience at Jean-Georges at The Connaught was complimentary – views and photos are my own.
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