Last week, I was invited along to sample chocolate afternoon tea at The Podium Restaurant in The London Hilton on Park Lane. Being the kind of person who never says no to an invitation with “chocolate” in the title, I grabbed the nearest chocolate expert, and headed down to see what was on offer.
We ended up with much more than we bargained for, sampling three different variations on the ‘chocolate afternoon tea’ theme.
Usuallly, the restaurant offers afternoon tea with a selection of dark chocolate cakes and treats, but we started our journey with a white chocolate version – something that’s being laid on specifically for this year’s Chocolate Week in October.
After being offered champagne and a selection of beautiful teas from Harney & Sons to choose from, we were presented with sandwiches. Five, simple open sandwiches to be precise.
The sandwiches were nice enough, but a little plain (especially compared with what was to come). The ‘fillings’ were fine, but the bread wasn’t much to write home about. Had I known just how much I was about to consume, I would probably have skipped the sandwich course. But you probably won’t be consuming quite as much as we did.
After the sandwiches, we were presented with an array of scones, cupcakes and wonderful white chocolate fancies that looked amazing.
We started with the scones, which came in plain and chocolate chip varieties and were served with a beautiful strawberry jam, fresh cream and a white chocolate ganache. They were deliciously light and melted effortlessly in the mouth. It was tempting to eat them all, but we had a lot to get through, so we quickly moved on to the miniature chocolate fancies.
The plate – made of coloured white chocolate and completely edible – was covered in a range of beautiful white chocolate creations, including a chocolate teapot, a marshmallow and ganache filled ice cream cone, and white chocolate macaroons. Some of these were more successful than others, but a lot of that comes down to personal taste.
The ‘regular’ and ‘Halloween’ themed chocolate teas come with a similar variety of goodies, but are made with 70% dark chocolate (Valrhona is used, throughout). I’m not going to describe each creation individually, as that would take several thousand words, but take a look at the photo gallery below and you’ll get the idea.
The fourth course – again, on an edible chocolate plate- was the cupcake course. If you ask me, every meal should have a cupcake course, especially when they look as good as these.
Normally, you get two cupcakes per person, and they look amazing. We also sampled the the cakes from the regular afternoon tea and Halloween tea, and in general, the lighter, plain sponge versions were the nicest. The spooky dark chocolate Halloween cakes looked great, but the chocolate sponge was a little dry. This, of course, was a problem that was easily rectified with the addition of jam and clotted cream from the scone course, but it’s part of the reason the white chocolate tea was the best of the bunch for me.
You probably won’t go through all three themed afternoon teas in a single sitting, and you probably won’t make quite as much mess as we did either. But whichever one you go for, I think you’ll enjoy it.
The standard (“Confessions of a Chocoholic”) chocolate afternoon tea at The Podium Restuarant, London Hilton on Park Lane costs £22.50 per person (or £29.50 with champagne), with the white chocolate and Halloween themed afternoon teas costing £25 per person. Considering what you get, I think this is great value for money, and a very pleasant way for any chocolate lover to spend an afternoon.
I’d highly recommend getting yourself down there 11th-17th October to try it for yourself.