Despite its close proximity to bustling Oxford Street and winning the coveted Award of Excellence at the latest Afternoon Tea Awards, The Beaumont Hotel’s Afternoon Tea, served in their glamorous Art Deco-styled lounge, Gatsby’s Room, feels like a secret spot well off the tourist trail even when they’re fully booked and is all the more relaxing as a result. After a day of Mayfair shopping and a feeling of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-quoted line from The Great Gatsby, “There are only the pursued, the pursing, the busy and the tired,” we settled into our cosy corner by a bookcase ready to be thoroughly restored.
This sophisticated all-day dining space evoking Mayfair in the 1920s is at one with the ambient vintage-sounding jazz music playing at just the right level, while Gatsby’s Room truly comes into its own towards the close of tea time and into cocktail hour when the lights are dimmed and the pianist arrives to further hypnotise you with the charm of this very special hotel. There is even a games night on the first Tuesday evening of every month, to encourage you to linger long after the last bite of chocolate cake.
With supremely comfortable interiors by acclaimed designer Thierry Despont capturing The Beaumont’s transatlantic heritage and taking inspiration from the 1926 origins of the building, guests are surrounded with a characterful and eclectic mix of oil paintings and antiquarian books, while the clubby and intimate atmosphere, complete with armchairs beside a jovial fire during the colder months, makes it somewhere the gents are equally happy to take tea.
The Beaumont has been the epitome of taste and sophistication since it opened in 2014, from design to food, with an Afternoon Tea menu merging the best English teatime traditions with a nod to popular American cuisine. A selection of classic finger sandwiches includes the classic smoked salmon with horseradish and lemon butter, alongside a smoked chicken Caesar with kale, anchovies and aged Parmesan, and the Reuben-inspired beef pastrami with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese worthy of a New York deli.
Diners can sample any two blends from the wide choice of loose-leaf JING teas and advice is always on hand regarding which is better to drink with savoury or sweet. Nor will you be judged if you still prefer a traditional Earl Grey, in this case a rich Ceylon black tea hailing from Sri Lanka with citrus notes of bergamot. For further indulgence, order a glass of JING Jasmine Pearls Sparkling Tea or NV Thiénot Brut or Rosé Champagne, served in ravishing Gatsby-esque crystal coupe glasses, or opt for one of the ‘Tea Cocktails’ such as the ‘Britannia’, a heady blend of gin, apricot jam, lemon, tea and honey bitters, topped with Champagne, or the alcohol free ‘Citrus Cup’ with Seedlip Citrus, fresh mint, ginger and lemon.
Perfect plain and raisin scones are served with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, followed by a selection of immaculate and superbly executed patisserie; Caramelised Apple with crème fraiche, Rhubarb Tart with almond frangipane and vanilla chantilly, Williams Pear Choux with a rice pudding and white chocolate centre and the grand finale of Manjari Chocolate Brownie with hazelnut praline which we were well advised to finish with due to its exotic richness. The lights dimmed right on cue.
Refined and decadent with attentive service to match, I’m yet to find a more enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in London than taking tea in The Gatsby’s Room, a moment to share with someone you love. The icing on the cake would be to have a terrace suite on The Beaumont’s top floor or Antony Gormley’s womb-like ROOM for a siesta, but failing that, clear your evening plans and order another drink F. Scott Fitzgerald style, “Too much of anything is bad, too much Champagne is just right.”
Afternoon Tea at Gatsby’s Room, The Beaumont Hotel, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London W1K 6TF. Afternoon Tea is served between 12:30pm and 5:30pm Monday to Sunday priced at £66.00 per person, or £86 with a glass of NV Thiénot Brut Champagne, £89.00 with a glass of NV Thiénot Brut Rosé, £164 with a bottle of NV Thiénot Brut or £176 with a bottle of NV Thiénot Brut Rosé. Vegan, Gluten Free (£66) and Children’s (£28) menus are also available. From 1st to 31st January 2024 from Monday to Friday, enjoy a complimentary glass of Thiénot Champagne with a full English Afternoon Tea. For more information and reservations, please visit the website.
Images by Justin De Souza