With a love for all things that involve food and art, the Art Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room at the Rosewood London has always been on my afternoon tea hit-list. I always get a sense of grandeur whenever I walk into the courtyard of the Rosewood – a calm oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. Although having frequented Holborn Dining Room and Scarfes Bar a few times throughout the years, this was actually my first time dining in the Mirror Room which was just as beautiful as I had seen in the photos. Intimate and beautifully designed, the Mirror Room oozes luxury and style, featuring low lighting and floor-to-ceiling decorative mirrors, that give off the illusion of a jewel box.

Having won Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea for two years in a row at the 2017 and 2018 Afternoon Tea Awards, their Art Afternoon Tea currently pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh. Inspired by the latest Van Gogh exhibition at Tate Britain, the latest collection created by Executive Pastry Chef, Mark Perkins, comprises three courses that celebrate classic pastries inspired by Van Gogh’s hometown, the Netherlands, and Paris where he resided in later years. Although his life was a short one, Van Gogh had spent almost three years in Britain, and was deeply inspired by life in the capital and the art scene in Britain, and in turn, influenced many great British artists himself, making him a great choice for the basis of their afternoon tea.

As the norm, we started with glasses of champagne, this time a fruity and elegant Ruinart Rosé. They had an impressive list of teas from Mariage Frères which left us spoilt for choice: Seasonal Tea, Black, Blue, Green, Pu-Erh, White and Herbal teas. Even though I’m usually up for a hot pot of freshly brewed tea, the weather that weekend was quite warm and an ideal opportunity to try out the cold brew pairing – each of them infused overnight for 12-14 hours to increase the intensity of flavours.

First to be served was the selection of traditional sandwiches:

Cucumber and herb cream cheese on heritage carrot bread
Egg and truffle on caramelised onion bread
Formans London cured smoked salmon and crème fraiche on lightly malted bread
Roasted chicken and tarragon mayonnaise on basil infused bread

The sandwiches were properly filled and moist – I loved the subtle hint of truffle with the egg and my favourite was as usual the smoked salmon sandwich that we couldn’t resist ordering an extra portion of. In addition to the sandwiches was the lightest and most delightfully savoury tart, filled with spring vegetables and smoked cream cheese – I could have easily eaten ten of those!

This was paired with Thé Sur le Nil, a fine green tea wonderfully scented with citrus fruit and spices – a really refreshing drink that had a pleasant hint of sweetness to it.

Having cleared our first tray of savouries, our platter of scones and Dutch-inspired pastries followed suit. We started with the freshly baked plain and raisin scones whilst they were still warm, which I am happy to report were light and fluffy as they should be, served with Cornish clotted cream, homemade strawberry & elderflower jam, and a tangy lemon curd.
The pastries included a deliciously moist and buttery apple boterkoek, that roughly translates as “butter cake”, a traditional Dutch delicacy, a strawberry speculoos tartlet, and a chocolate stroopwafel choux topped with a piece of white chocolate with an image of Van Gogh imprinted on it. All three of them went down really well with us, paired with a Yuzu Indigo, a green tea combined with zesty yuzu, the acidity causing a colour change of the delicate perfume of blue flowers, giving a theatrical effect.

The pièce de résistance were finally presented to us in the form of three vibrantly coloured and intricately designed edible masterpieces, with flavour profiles inspired by Van Gogh’s still life painting drawings, that looked almost too pretty to eat.

‘Sunflowers’ is based on one of most famous works, the Sunflowers series painted in 1889, which for him represented happiness and gratitude. This was made in the form of a lemon olive cake encapsulated within a citrus pine cemeux, Jivara chocolate mousse, complete with a green and white chocolate glaze to represent the vase and topped with a chocolate sunflower.

‘Almond Blossoms’ celebrates the birth of Van Gogh’s nephew, inspired by traditional Japanese prints – flowering trees were special to Van Gogh as they represented awakening and hope. This was a moist almond sponge filled with apricot peach compote, jasmine, vanilla bavarois, with almond blossom chocolate decoration.

Last but not least, was ‘The Starry Night’, comprised of matcha sponge, strawberry mirin gel, yuzu, and coconut cheesecake on top of a sable biscuit. Layered with a blue and white glaze to represent the swirling clouds, the cake is finished with his own interpretation of the night sky, which is mirrored in a yellow star chocolate disk. Painted in 1889, it is regarded as one of Van Gogh’s finest works, representing an idealised view from Van Gogh’s asylum room.

Complimenting the pastries was the Tokyo Mojito, a cocktail made from 100% organic tea with Japanese yuzu, mint and lime – cool, zesty, and definitely a perfect thirst-quencher in the summer months.

Just when we thought that we had reached the end of our meal, we were served one final dessert that has been a permanent fixture on the menu since the launch of their first art-inspired collection. Honoring British-born Banksy, this signature piece in the form of a cuboid with identifiable flicks of graffiti represents the iconic ‘Girl With a Balloon’, a white chocolate cube filled with a vanilla choux pastry, salted caramel, and chocolate cremeux, garnished with a miniature replica of the legendary artwork itself. The perfect finish to a well-executed afternoon tea experience.

The Van Gogh Art Afternoon Tea was just as impressive as I had expected, and certainly worthy of winning those awards.
Afternoon Tea is served Monday – Friday from 2:30pm to 6:00pm and 12:00pm to 5:45pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Additional information on prices and reservations can be found on the Rosewood Hotels or website.

  • I was invited to review the Van Gogh Art Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room, Rosewood London – all views and photos are my own.

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