My second Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea this season! After a delightful afternoon tea experience at JW Marriott Grosvenor House a few weeks ago, I was certainly looking forward to reviewing the Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea at the iconic Waldorf Hilton London, which has also given its traditional afternoon tea a festive makeover with a Nutcracker inspired theme. The Waldorf has an illustrious history and rich heritage dating back 111 years to 1908, and as an homage to Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet and its beloved character, the ruler of the Land of Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea offers a magical and joyous twist on the Waldorf’s elegant signature offering.

The afternoon tea was served in The Homage Restaurant, the hotel’s grand dining room, the interiors designed to pay tribute to the grand cafés of Europe, with high ceilings, towering Edwardian columns, sparkling chandeliers and gilded detailing. Snowy white Christmas wreathes and trees decorated with shiny baubles added a festive feel to the space, the ambience lifted by soothing tunes from the Tchaikovsky ballet, played by the resident harpist.

Their range of organic loose leaf teas are all specially handpicked by premium British company Hope & Glory. I started with the Organic Darjeeling, my usual choice of tea – often referred to as the Champagne of teas, renowned the world over for their muscatel, fruity, floral character.

The amuse bouche was a pretty cup of butterfly pea flower tea that changed colour from blue to purple with the addition of lemon juice, presented alongside a teapot filled with dry ice that added a bit more theatre.

The selection of open and closed finger sandwiches looked really vibrant and appetizing that we could not wait to tuck into them – after the obligatory photos, of course! They included:

Oak smoked Scottish salmon blini with caviar crème fraîche
Coronation chicken with raisin, apricot, curried mayonnaise, toasted almond, and coriander on pumpernickel bread
Roast tiger prawn with thousand island dressing, marinated tomato on Nordic loaf
Free range egg mayonnaise and watercress on spinach loaf
Peppered pastrami with fennel slaw on beetroot loaf
Mature cheddar cheese with autumn chutney on sundried tomato loaf

They were all really tasty, but my favourites were definitely the roast tiger prawn and the peppered pastrami with fennel slaw that I requested second servings of when the waiter came over with the tray of savouries to refill our empty plates.

I decided to have a change of tea, and went for the Masala Chai that I had previously enjoyed at 146 Paddington, a full bodied blend of organic Ceylon black tea and spices. The mix of cardamom and cinnamon gave a warming, rich blend of flavours and a sweet aroma – a perfect choice for the colder months ahead.

The freshly baked scones came in two varieties, classic plain and spiced orange & raisin, which was buttery had a lovely crumbly texture, accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, plum & star anise jam, and strawberry jam.

The quartet of sweet handmade pastries included a decadent Valrhona bitter chocolate with yuzu & raspberry, a pistachio & white chocolate opera cake, a light vanilla sugar choux crown, and last but not least, the sugar plum fairy biscuit that I had had my eye on the whole afternoon, that was almost too pretty to eat.

We finished off with some dainty passion fruit macarons, served on top of a miniature piano music box.

The Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea at The Waldorf Hilton is exclusively available until 2nd February and is priced from £39.00 (Monday-Thursday) and £44.50 (Friday-Sunday), with other options to upgrade to a champagne experience. To further enhance the experience, there is also live entertainment from at 1.30pm and 4.30pm every day.

  • My Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea experience at The Waldorf Hilton was complimentary – views and photos are my own.

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