The Langham has a long-standing tradition of delighting guests with their afternoon tea, ever since they opened their doors in 1865 in fact, so where better for a Christmas celebration than the high ceilinged Palm Court where this year’s Festive Afternoon Tea, in partnership with the iconic London department store Liberty, is currently being served. Looking even more dazzling and inviting than usual, The Palm Court’s tables have been elegantly dressed for the occasion in Liberty-print fabric, while a frosty Christmas tree presides, mirroring the hotel’s spectacular multi-tree Liberty-themed installation in the foyer, complete with purple tree decorations and an array of Liberty gift bags below the boughs which most of us would be only too happy to wake up to on Christmas morning!
Always the last word, from the food to the service, afternoon tea is taken extremely seriously at The Langham, overseen by Michel Roux Jr and created by Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Gravett who takes inspiration from seasonal ingredients to produce savoury and sweet tea-time creations that will live in the memory far longer than they will on the lips! The Langham have collected countless awards for afternoon tea and have a reputation for always bringing something new to the party. No seasonal afternoon tea is more highly anticipated than the hotel’s annual festive experience and the Liberty partnership proves a natural fit, celebrating two icons of London’s Regent Street district with a menu including a Liberty Jewelled Egg Bauble with turkey, heritage potato, bacon and cranberries.
The sandwiches arrive meticulously prepared with ingredients we all associate as seasonal favourites, a grown-up indulgence with bold flavours to enjoy whilst sipping a glass of chilled champagne or alcohol-free Copenhagen Sparkling Tea. From a Wellington-inspired finger sandwich filled the tenderest beef and a mushroom stuffing on beetroot bread, a brioche stuffed with crayfish and prawns in Marie Rose sauce capturing your favourite Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve starter, and a Cotherstone cheddar example on tomato bread elevated with a festive spiced chutney reminiscent of a good Boxing Day buffet; the perfect opening with which to whet your appetite for a culinary and visual kaleidoscope of every imaginable Christmas flavour condensed into one brilliant food experience.
Each ingenious patisserie gleams tantalisingly when placed before you, not least ‘Shine like a Bauble’ which resembles one of the purple Liberty decorations on the Langham’s Christmas trees, although far more delicious with its vanilla cream mousse and blackcurrant compote filling resting on a melt-in-the-mouth almond sable biscuit. ‘Golden Slice’ features a caramelised puff pastry with a caramel and cinnamon cream, ‘Scent of a Candle’ is a delicate pear mousse with jasmine centre on an alpaco biscuit base, while the ‘Inspired by Mr Arthur Lasenby Liberty’ is an extraordinary marriage of black truffle and Opalys namelaka and a perfectly textured charcoal sponge. If Michelin stars could be awarded for afternoon tea then The Langham would be top of the Liberty-decorated tree. Nowhere strives more ardently for perfection.
To counter the sweetness, enjoy a mince pie topped with stilton. Who knew? That’s one thing I intend to enjoy throughout the holidays as an addition to the cheeseboard. Nor will you find that you’re too full to enjoy the exquisite patisserie selection thanks to The Langham always serving this ahead of the warm plain and fruit scones with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve along with a more adventurous pineapple jam. You’re welcome to change your tea at any time and you’ll find a Jing variety to go with every bite. The Langham’s Festive Afternoon Tea is not only a masterclass in how this most beloved English tradition should be served but it’s also a revelation of flavour designed by some of the most innovative and creative chefs in London, guaranteed to capture the imaginations of afternoon tea lovers everywhere.
The Langham Festive Afternoon Tea in partnership with Liberty is priced at £95 per person, £110 with champagne or £115 with rose champagne and £50 per person for children aged 3-12. Served from 12.30pm – 5pm daily. For more information and reservations please visit the website.