Oh December, that time of the year when all things festive get me excited.
I have always loved visiting the Royal Opera House, and what better time to visit for afternoon tea when it is themed after The Nutcracker ballet, one of my favourite ballets.
Ditching my ballet shoes and leotard after class, I scurried round the building and up the stairs to the grand Paul Hamlyn Hall, which has hosted some of the capitals most glittering parties and dinners. The beautiful architecture and elegant glass vaults are truly breathtaking, allowing in natural light which adds to the ambience.
A long and stunning champagne bar stretches across the middle of the hall, whilst a pianist played enchanting ballet scores from The Nutcracker at the far end.
We were presented with vibrantly coloured menus upon being seated, and had a browse of the list of teas. I ordered the Opera Afternoon tea, which is exclusive to Tea at the Royal Opera House, a French-inspired blend combining black teas from China and Sri Lanka with the rounded sweetness of Bourbon vanilla. Ge had the Second Flush Darjeeling, which is also one of my favourite tea options.
The first tray of savouries included a selection of mini sandwiches:
Cured salmon blini with dill creme fraiche
Roast squash and parmesan sandwich
Duck egg and cress sandwich
Norfolk turkey and cranberry sandwich
I really liked the mini loaf slices were were cute and dainty, and my favourite amongst them was the Severn & Wye smoked salmon blini.
A three-tiered stand was later brought over on which the scones and sweets were displayed.
We started off with the scones at the bottom – traditional and fruit scones which were light and fluffy and served with Dorset clotted cream and jam.
The ‘Kingdom of Sweets’ consisted of four different cakes and pastries.
Dark chocolate walnut
Plum and rosemary amandine
Opera Gateau, white chocolate and Perigord truffle
Rum and vanilla drum cake
I savoured each mouthful of these finely made miniature desserts, and particularly liked the rum and vanilla drum cake which was a canelé with a tender custard centre and caramelized crust, topped with edible toy-soldier’s drumstick. The sumptuous Opera Gateau sure packed a punch – the taste of the truffle was slightly overpowering at first but my tastebuds became more accustomed to it after a few (mini) bites.
Two hours passed by in a flash, and overall we had a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon in this magnificent setting. I’m not sure if they offer replenishment of the dishes as we weren’t offered any on that day, but it would be worth inquiring if you have a larger appetite (!)
I’m glad that I finally ticked this off my list, as Tea at the Royal Opera House will unfortunately be closed from mid-December 2015 until early 2018 due to Open Up.
Check out their website for more details.
In the meantime, I’ll be trying to decide on where my next afternoon tea shall be…
The Cheekster, signing out x