The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank weekend celebrations may be over, but there’s still plenty of venues offering Platinum Jubilee-themed menus to enjoy throughout the summer. The tradition of afternoon tea is undoubtedly the perfect quintessentially British experience to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s sensational 70 year reign, and it was a pleasure to be invited to review The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea at Kona, nestled in the prestigious 5-star Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, just a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace.
Taking the scenic route, we walked through their stunning courtyard to make our way to Kona, tucked away in a quiet corner, housed in a grand Victorian townhouse. The dining room is stylish and contemporary, elegantly decorated with luxurious furnishings; a befitting venue indeed to enjoy The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea. We were kindly seated by a table by the window, our table adorned with items that fitted the royal theme; amongst them, a purple velvet table runner, a string of pearls, and a royal crown replica.
A bottle of Bollinger champagne was presented to us at the table and freshly uncorked to kick start our decadent experience. Founded in 1829, Champagne Bollinger is one of the few remaining family-owned champagne houses and has enjoyed a close association with Britain since 1858, priding itself on having held a Royal Warrant continuously since first awarded by Queen Victoria in 1884. It is also rumoured to be Queen Elizabeth’s current favourite who awarded her Royal Warrant to Lily Bollinger in 1955. From the ‘Queen’s Favourite Teas’, I ordered the ‘Majestic’, a spicy and malty Assam tea, whilst my dining companion ordered the ‘Regal’, a fragrant Earl Grey light black tea with hints of bergamot.
I was then handed a brass hand bell which upon ringing with much enthusiasm, signalled the arrival of ‘A Royal Entrance’. A bombe glacée served in the cutest miniature royal carriage, it was a twist on the strawberry and chocolate ice cream that was served at Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947 where she arrived by carriage to cheering crowds and well-wishers at Westminster Abbey.
Not long after, our feast of delicious delights arrived on a gold three-tiered stand. As always, we began with the savoury selection; the ‘Royal Residence Sandwiches’ which included a variety of sandwiches using ingredients sourced from across the UK and featured fillings inspired by The Queen’s different residences and estates.
The Sandringham – smoked salmon and cucumber, rye bread, cream cheese and caviar
The Buckingham – Wiltshire ham and cheese, English mustard cream, tomato bread
The Windsor – duo of egg and mustard cress, egg mayo and marinated quail eggs
The Balmoral – tomato, venison, baked spinach tart, summer blooms
I was particularly fond of The Balmoral, which is reminiscent of summers spent by The Queen and her family enjoying country pursuits at the royal residence in Scotland.
We then moved onto the buttery Cornish scones; traditional plain and fruit scones served warm and accompanied by classic clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The Queen reportedly enjoys her scones the Cornish way, which is jam first followed by cream, however I personally prefer cream before jam, the Devon way. Although I would be open to changing my ways should I one day be privileged enough to have tea with The Queen. I’m still patiently waiting for a private invitation to arrive in the post – one can only dream.
Saving the best for last, for the sweet-tooths like myself at least, we finished off with ‘Her Majesty’s Delicacies’ which looked like miniature pieces of edible artwork. Chocolate biscuit cake is said to be The Queen’s favourite cake and has been reinvented as ‘The Crown Jewels’; a gold dusted Valrhona chocolate and rich tea biscuit cake fashioned in the shape of the orb and sceptre used for her coronation in 1953. ‘The Gardens of Britain’ was a rose and chocolate cake decorated with intricate edible floral garnishes, each one representing flowers from across all four territories in the United Kingdom. According to her former chef, The Queen is a true chocoholic, hence any dessert heavy in chocolate would be a hit with the monarch. Frangipane, peach and apple tart is a well-known favourite at royal banquets and has been known to feature peaches and apples from The Queen’s royal orchards and served at her garden parties. Their recreation is the ‘Pêche à la Reine Alexandra’, topped with a marzipan peach and an edible replica of The Queen’s feather brooch that she was given at her Diamond Jubilee. My favourite of them all was ‘A Royal Collection’, a nod to The Queen’s vast collection of brightly coloured millinery; an Earl Grey and orange mousse served on a sablé Breton biscuit, recreated into the shape of a hat in a vibrant shade of pink. The Queen is well-known for her immaculate dress sense; her iconic, brightly coloured outfits never goes unnoticed, complete with hat, handbag, brooch, and a string of pearls. I hope to be as stylish as Her Majesty in my golden years – I may also have been recently inspired to start my own hat collection to style with my outfits!
The Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea is served Wednesday to Sunday, priced at £70 per person or £95 which includes half a bottle of Bollinger Champagne.
Further information on the full menu and reservations can be found on their website.
- My afternoon tea experience was complimentary – views and photos are my own.