Tag Archives: Afternoon Tea

Off to the Townhouse!

5 Apr

I love Afternoon Tea.  When the sun is shining, the weather is sweet and time is on your side, spending the afternoon with  girlfriends, sipping tea and nibbling sweet and savoury treats is luuurvely!

My lovely friend Rebecca “Bexabelle” recently invited me to Dean Street Townhouse, the Soho hotel-cum-restaurant-cum-hang out haven.  The venue itself was very nice and had a bit of a shabby chic feel to it.  Low lighting and the murmured din of cultured conversation also make it a celeb favourite (there was an undisclosed star in the restaurant that afternoon and we were promptly banned from taking photos with flash… Booo!)

Food and service on the day were not all that great unfortunately.  I’ve definitely had better elsewhere.  Still, it was lovely seeing the Ladies and resting my feet from the killer heels I was wearing that day (who asked me to wear them?  I honestly don’t know!)

Have you been to Dean Street Townhouse?   Is it better on a different day?  What are your thoughts?  Let us know!

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For Ladies wot Brunch… At Harvey Nichols!

2 Apr

March 25th was special for 2 reasons: One, it marked the one month anniversary of our faaabulous trip to Paris and two, it was the date of our March meeting: a meeting with a twist.  Now we usually meet up on Saturday as it’s the perfect prelude to the weekend, but this time I thought it would be nice to switch it up and meet on a glorious Sunday afternoon instead.  The venue chosen was Harvey Nichols’ famous Fifth Floor Restaurant in the heart of Knightsbridge, London.

Booking

Booking on this occasion should have been straight forward, but unfortunately ended up being sticky tricky.  Being the organised person that I am, once the date was confirmed, I wanted to book the restaurant as early as possible to avoid disappointment and first booked the restaurant a month in advance.  The reservation was made via TopTable and my confirmation email came through a day later.  HOWEVER for some reason unbeknown to me, the reservation was cancelled.  Between TopTable and Harvey Nichols, there was an apparent miscommunication and in the end I had to go directly to the restaurant myself to secure the booking and arrange the deposit.  Note to self: if you need something done, Do It Yaself!

Gist!

As ever, whenever we get together, we’re bound to have hilarious conversation.  Our new Ladies who joined us for Afternoon Tea brought a refreshing outlook to the group and introduced some new remixed vocabulary such as having a “discerning descending spirit” (I can’t shouuut!), whilst our existing members continued to have us in stitches of laughter.  Here are some of the things discussed:

Bedmatics!  Yes BEDMATICS aka the mathematics of the BEDROOM!  Please don’t readjust your screen, this is now a real and official Brunch Club term!  We were told about a friend who was having her final send off to her husband’s household after the wedding ceremony, a tradition in Nigerian culture.  As the bride sat in her husband’s family home and listened to the pearls of wisdom being bestowed upon her from a female elder, there was one particularly heavy pearl which landed with full force:  “…And if your husband wants to sleep with you, don’t deny him access o!  Give him all the bedmatics necessary!”  At this point, we burst into fits of laughter, and had to catch our breath before we were able to receive the broken down definition of bedmatics.  So, what are bedmatics??

Well it turns out that women from Calabar in Southeast Nigeria have the gift of the goodies and know exactly how to turn the heat up in the bedroom.  Fascinating!  And if care is not taken, and conjugal gymnastics are not performed for the said husbands, the common (but not absolute) notion is that there is a Calabar lady ready to funk it up on the wife’s behalf.  As the saying goes, anything you can do, I can do better and whilst we may be classy Ladies Wot Brunch, we’re not too stuck up to learn new tricks and have since put out adverts for Calabar Ladies to teach us de ting!

Commitment Rings make the difference: Rings are of course a big deal in the group and one our lovely Ladies who is also married was giving us the low down.  Being on point with her bling bling swag, she discussed the importance of her rings.  Before she got married, she was given a commitment ring and we were told it made such a diference.  After an argument, when things looked bleak, she’d look down at the ring and think “if we were married, what would I do?”  If her and her other half came to loggerheads and they both wanted to just go their separate ways, she’d glance at her ring and again ask “would this be enough of a reason to call it a day?”  Even after trivial things such as him leaving the toilet seat up, she’d chuckle whilst eyeing her ring and ask, “would I divorce him over this?”  And in all cases, the resounding answer was no.  The commitment ring proved to be a symbol of patience and unity, something which is so important for both courting and married couples.  It was food for thought.  Ladies (and gents) make sure you apply patience and really take the time to think things out thoroughly in your relationships from here on out…

My Bride Price is STILL high!  Sunday was absolutely stunning and as we slinkily stepped out of the restaurant we thought it would be a waste to end the day there.  So we went to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel nearby for some post tea drinks.  As we walked in, one of our effervescent Ladies said – and I quote – “if our Bride price is still high, someone will be buying our drinks for us today.”  We all laughed and left it there, seeing as chivalry in London is pretty much dead and the likelihood of this becoming a reality was slim.  We were seated, ordered our drinks, laughed and gisted as we sipped our cocktails and wine.  And when the time came, we asked for the bill and paid up, ready to leave, only to be approached by the waiter with the following message, “the gentleman across the way has offered to order you another round of drinks if you’d care to stay…”  HAAAA!  The said gentleman was completely inconspicuous and it was only when we did some investigation that we discovered who he was.  After thanking him and engaging in some light conversation, we discovered he was on a business trip from Canada and had been so riveted by our varied conversation, ranging from politics, to bedmatics(!) that he couldn’t bear for us to leave just yet and wanted the charming chatter to continue.  We of course happily obliged!  Cheers to you sir, you are a true gentleman!

Food

As you would expect, Afternoon Tea is a social pastime, bringing gorgeous Ladies together to catch up whilst nibbling on some light munchies which are designed to be eaten in a ladylike manner.  And so I was expecting to be greeted with an assortment of finger food, and nothing more.  To be honest, the sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones by definition are finger food(!) but there was so much of it, that I was actually full!  Or maybe that was my motor mouth action which usurped my appetite?!

The general consensus was that the sandwiches were fine and varied, ranging from mini salmon and cream cheese sesame bagels to egg rolls, chocolate ganache and battenburg cake to plain and fruit scones served with clotted cream and exclusive Harvey Nichols preserve.  The vegetarian and cheese-free varieties were also very tasty.  However, the dishes which stole the show were the ones ordered from the á la carte menu.  Duck parfait and fish cakes – yummy!  We’ll definitely have to return and sample the á la carte menu robustly!

Service

We were greeted by our immaculately dressed hostess (her skin, dress and nails were stunning!) who ensured everything was done accordingly on the day.  From rearranging the tables to allow the large group of Ladies to sit together, to organising extra sandwiches free of charge for those of us with a heavier appetite, we were very pleased with the service rendered on the day.

Overall

The restaurant represents a piece of Knightbridge luxury, with large windows which allow you to bask in the glorious sunshine and phenomenal floral arrangements reminiscent of a private botanical garden.  The varied clientele was an added bonus: the gorgeous elderly guests were so sweet and complimentary to the group and the trendy young’uns joined us for a bit of afternoon banter.  As we roll deep wherever we go, we are always a focal point of the venue, and during the afternoon we were constantly asked what we were celebrating.  My response:

“Every day is a day worth celebrating!”

The winning factor of the day was being in the company of gorgeously dressed, witty women.  If we are to return, I think we’ll skip the Afternoon Tea and instead sample the á la carte menu.  But that said, whatever we eat, wherever we go, no doubt it will be a fun-filled, laughter infused time.  The Ladies Wot Brunch are a great bunch.  They’re amazing.  And a great group to have Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols with.  Fantastique!

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For Ladies Wot Brunch… At Harvey Nichols (Sally’s Snippet)

25 Mar

Today we went to The Fifth Floor Restaurant in Harvey Nichols and I had such a fabulous time.  It was sooooo wonderful!

The full blog post will be coming shortly, but in the interim, check out what our lovely Sally thought here.

And make sure you check out her blog too!

http://todayimafabulous.tumblr.com/

For Ladies Wot Brunch… At Fortnum & Mason

8 Sep

Saturday 3rd September, a blissfully sunny afternoon, was the date of our very first Brunch Club meeting.  Whoopee!  And as Ladies Wot LBrunch, we decided to go straight to the top!

A lovely colleague of mine recently told me that she held her hen celebration at St. James’s Restaurant and described it as a lovely experience.  I’d heard about Fortnum & Mason’s Afternoon Tea service and have seen millions of people carrying the famous mint green bags about town.  So I googled Fortnum & Mason to see what it was all about…

Booking

Booking a table at St James’s Restaurant, the venue for Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea, was a straight-forward procedure.  However, I should highlight that I booked two weeks ahead of our proposed Brunch Club meeting.  The website layout was clear and simple to navigate and once I decided which restaurant I wanted to visit, my table was reserved in a matter of minutes.  The reservation system is managed by OpenTable, which also manages bookings for several high end restaurants.  For Afternoon Tea at St James’s Restaurant, it is recommended that you book at least one day in advance for weekday visits and 2-3 weeks in advance for Saturdays.

I was able to book a table (bookings can be made for up to 20 people) and received confirmation immediately.

Gist!

As Ladies Wot LBrunch, we see a lot and experience even more.  And so as a group of intelligent, funny and borderline eccentric chicas, we were bound to have some interesting conversation.  In addition to general affairs, fundraising events and recent radical terrorist activity, there was a lot of thought provoking discussion.  I’ll share some of the afternoon’s hot topics:

Babies getting married: At this stage in life, everyone knows someone getting married and each person present on Saturday had dropped money on a wedding gift list within the last 12 months.  The lowering age of the beaming brides in question was common in all cases.  Now, before I continue, I must state that none of us have a problem with younger ladies tying the knot.  There is nothing wrong with a young, confident woman defining the route in life that she wants to follow.  In fact, it must be celebrated.  However, when young girls, who haven’t even decided if they want to pluck, wax or thread their eyebrows, are now walking down the aisle, signing over 50% control of their lives to men whom they can’t even be 100% truthful with, then there is a problem.  There is no rush, ovarian eggs are renewed on a monthly basis, so you won’t run out I assure you!  And this imaginary woman-in-her-thirties expiration date MUST DIE!

Men who beat their wives: Without going into any such detail, we all agreed that these men are nincompoops.  Only a fool would bring curses on himself by laying his sullied hands on a woman, talk less his own wife.  DUMMIES!

Men who are a little bit too nice: More often than not, women in the dating game come across these males, and a few examples were shared across the table during our conversation.  From men who call/text/ping all-the-tiiiiiiime (calling is not bad, but haba everything in moderation!), to others who refer to themselves as very unfortunate female possessions (?!*&#?) the general (but not absolute) consensus was that rough and ready men just have a je ne sais quoi which keeps us interested…

Food

Where do I begin with the food?!?!  It was sumptuous from start to finish!  Dammmn!  Between us, we ordered the Afternoon and High Tea menus which included of a selection of canapés, followed by more scones, biscuits, madeleines, tea cakes and tea blends than any of us could finish.

After the complimentary amuse-bouche which comprised of a mini egg and caramelised onion tartlet, mini sausage roll slice and prawn bruschetta, I tucked into a crab and saffron tart with side salad.  I kid you not, it was extraordinary!  The crab was full of flavour, fresh and perfectly cooked, without detracting from the saffron or the expertly browned short crust pastry which encased the fragrant freshwater experience.   Though I did not have any myself, I was told that the selection of sandwiches were also delicious.

What was to follow was a sweet-tooth’s dream: plain and fruit scones, fruit preserves, clotted cream, apricot and ginger cake, raspberry jam biscuits (which had a distinctly home baked flavour) and madeleines.  Yum, yum and YUM!  Favourites of the day were the classic scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve – sexy, sweet and moist – this is not a porno, don’t worry.  They were just very good!

As if that wasn’t enough, we were then presented with a selection of afternoon tea cakes.  The favourites were the orange macaroon, which was explicitly described as orgasmic; the raspberry pavlova, again orgasmic (Ooh La La Vasquez); and the coconut crème and lime jelly cake.  You may think the descriptions sound a little embellished, but it was one of those oral moments that you just have to experience for yourself.

The wide variety of tea blends, to compliment the food, was pretty special too.  I went for the house Fortmason aromatic tea, which lived up to its name and packed a pleasant punch on my taste buds.  The peach and strawberry teas also went down a treat, definitely head and shoulders above your everyday Twinings blend.

Service

If we entered the restaurant feeling like common folk, we certainly left feeling like top class babettes.  There was an attention to detail which you don’t find in just any old place.  The immaculately dressed and genuinely pleasant waiters, who had each perfected the art of conversation, engaged with us just enough and yet not too much.  The only downer was when we asked for the bill, which took a lot longer than necessary to come out.  For some reason, no one wanted us to pay and leave. They must have wanted to dwell in the presence of Queens OOOBVIOUSLY!

Overall

The moment I received the booking reminder a few days before our planned Afternoon Tea, I knew it was going to be special –

Please note that we do not have an enforced dress code, however, we kindly request that both sexes lean more toward elegance.” 

I loved reading it then and I still love reading it now.  The dress code was befitting for such a gorgeously assembled restaurant.  From the plush leather sofas which welcomed effervescent ladies and dapper gentlemen to the twinkle-fingered pianist who soothed cochleae near and far with melodious compositions.  The pre-prepared mint green take away boxes for the many cakes we were bound not to finish were a cleverly thought out added bonus.  The quirky ladies’ powder rooms with full length mirrors (we all need them!) were also highly appreciated.

It was every bit what High Tea should be – “a high class, social experience.”

Faaabulous darling!

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