The Nutcracker has always been one of my favourite ballets that I most look forward to during the festive season, and I was most delighted to be invited for the launch of the exclusive Nutcracker themed afternoon tea at the 5-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House in Mayfair, created in partnership with Birmingham Royal Ballet ahead of their performances of The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall this December.
Since opening its doors in 1929, the iconic Grosvenor House on Park Lane has hosted royalty, dignitaries and celebrity guests, and is one of the capital’s most desirable addresses for significant events. Their exquisite afternoon tea is served in the elegant Park Room which offers beautiful views overlooking the Royal Hyde Park – we could spot the bright lights of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in the distance, an exciting annual attraction now back in full swing for the festive season.
Our glasses were filled with champagne, which is always the best way to start any afternoon tea – I opted for the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé. From their extensive selection of Newby Teas, I ordered their signature Yellow Rose Tea.
Curated by Executive Chef Paul Bates, the Nutcracker edition for the Park Room comprises three Acts and is inspired by characters from the ballet, festive flavours, and seasonal ingredients.
We had the opportunity to meet the chef himself who kindly came to greet us at our table, accompanied by two dancers from the Birmingham Royal ballet dressed as Nutcracker characters, Clara and the Prince.
To begin our fairytale experience, we sipped on a dainty palate cleanser topped with candy floss, prior to the arrival of our array of afternoon tea delights.
Act 1, set in the home, was represented by the hand-cut finger sandwiches that were filled with a selection of classic fillings which included:
Cucumber, garden mint butter
Smoked Oakham chicken, tarragon, crème fraîche
Roast Aberdeen Angus beef, creamed horseradish
Honey roast Yorkshire ham, Coleman’s English mustard
North Atlantic cold water prawn, classic Marie Rose sauce
My favourite was the smoked Oakham chicken with tarragon and crème fraîche. There were also a couple of open brioche buns topped with Foreman’s smoked Scottish salmon with cream cheese, and the other with Burford Brown Clarence Court egg, mayonnaise, and chive.
Act 2, set in the pine forest, is brought to life with soft plain and raisin buttermilk scones, paired with Devonshire clotted cream, accompanied by a tantalizing variety of of British preserves: strawberry, rose petal, rhubarb and ginger, gooseberry, raspberry, blackcurrant – we were definitely spoilt for choice!
Last but not least, Act 3, the finale which is set in the land of sweet decadence, represented by the top tier of decadent theatrical pastries, each expressing a character from the Nutcracker:
The Nutcracker – a hazelnut chocolate tart with a Devon cream ganache
The Sugar Plum Fairy – a light preserved plum cheesecake on a shortbread biscuit base with raspberry gel
The Angels – William pear cream, delicately coated in white chocolate
The Spanish Dancers and the Arabian – a flourless chocolate cake topped with Spanish honey chocolate mousse and topped with coffee infused chocolate twigs from the forest
The Danish Shepherdess – a Mandarin and almond sponge, topped with almond cream and Danish redcurrant gel
All of them were delicious, and I was particularly a fan of the flourless chocolate cake. There was also an additional selection of fresh home baked cakes that we could sample – I was too full by that point, but they kindly packed some chocolate cake and scones for me to savour back home!
Complemented by the beautiful tunes played by the resident pianist on the grand piano, it was the perfect setting to enjoy a magical afternoon tea – a truly luxurious experience that will certainly lift your spirits as we countdown to Christmas!
The Nutcracker Afternoon Tea in The Park Room at Grosvenor House is available until 1st January 2020, with prices starting from £55.50 per person, with the option to upgrade to one such as theChampagne Afternoon Tea with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé that I experienced (£67.50 per person) – you may find out more information on their website.
- My Nutcracker afternoon tea experience at JW Marriott Grosvenor House was complimentary – views and photos are my own.