Over the years I have had a great many opportunities to dine in some of the most magnificent venues, and as an avid enthusiast of Georgian architecture I was delighted to hear that 116 Pall Mall was opening their doors to the public at the weekend for the first time. To celebrate this momentous occasion, 116 Pall Mall has teamed up with Searcys to launch a brand new Confectioner’s Afternoon Tea that takes place every Saturday. This wonderful new offering is inspired by the founder of Searcys, John Searcy, who started as a head confectioner to the Duke of Northumberland, before he went on to establish Searcys in 1847.
Opened in 1828, this stunning Grade I listed building was designed by John Nash for the United Service Club and has been home to the Institute of Directors since 1978. Upon entering, our eyes were drawn towards their pièce-de-résistance, a glistening 15ft Regency chandelier which hung above a grand sweeping staircase, a gift from George IV to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Waterloo.
We were seated in The Carlton Room, a richly decorated space with dramatic Ionic columns finished in marble-esque scagliola, the walls lavishly covered in gold leaf on linen. As we soaked in the grandeur of the surroundings from our corner table by the window, our Champagne flutes were swiftly filled with Searcys Selected Cuvée Brut. A vintage tea trolley added a nice touch, which slowly made its way round the dining room, on it displayed a selection of JING teas for us to peruse as they took our tea orders at the table.
Laid before us was their charming new set of tea ware, specially designed for Searcys by British manufacturer William Edwards, featuring its signature honeycomb design.
To whet our appetites, we were first served an intricately prepared smoked salmon rillette with horseradish, topped with pickled fennel, keta caviar, and red-veined sorrel leaves. Having built up an appetite since our morning coffees, our faces beamed with excitement when our three-tiered stand of delicacies arrived. The savouries included a salt beef Reuben brioche bun, a cucumber and whipped mint cream cheese sandwich, and my favourite amongst the trio, the Searcys smoked salmon, lemon and dill bridge roll. We tucked into the freshly baked scones, accompanied by lashings of clotted cream and Galloway fruit preserve, before we moved on to the main event. I tend to save the top tier of sweet pastries for last, a confectioner’s staple of indulgent delicacies which consisted of a chocolate, cherry and pistachio delice, a tangy passionfruit éclair, and last but not least, Searcys signature Victoria, coloured a striking red and finished with a chocolate button and some edible gold leaf.
For the budding young food enthusiasts, there is also a Children’s Afternoon Tea menu with a Galia melon, orange and pomegranate salad, rolls, scones, and special sweet pastries with popping candy, rainbow frosting and cake pops.
Located in the heart of the West End and a stone’s throw away from many iconic landmarks and shopping districts, this prestigious venue is the perfect place to experience a taste of indulgence and while away the afternoon with decadent treats and of course, plenty of bubbles, which always brings music to my ears.
The Confectioner’s Afternoon Tea is served on Saturdays from 2pm and priced at £35.00 per person, or £49.00 per person with a glass of Champagne, whilst the Children’s Afternoon Tea is priced at £17.50. Bookings can be made via their website.
- My afternoon tea experience at 116 Pall Mall was complimentary – views and photos are my own.