Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley
Part two of my birthday was afternoon tea at The Berkeley. England is synonymous with tea and high tea, or afternoon tea, is a must-do no matter where you try it. You’ll find that most hotels in London serve afternoon tea in their lobbies but I wanted to try something a little bit special.
It’s pretty obvious that I’m into fashion and designer labels. It’s also fairly clear that I love food and pretty things so the natural fit for me and my tea was Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley.
Based on the current season’s catwalk looks, Prêt-à-Portea brings the most stylish clothes, shoes and accessories to life in the form of cakes and sweet treats.
Served on Paul Smith-designed china, in his signature bold stripes, you will also be treated to a selection of gourmet sandwiches and tasty canapés with your fashionable desserts.
I was very pleased to see that not only was my non-fish-eating request accommodated for happily but done in great style with completely new canapés on my stand and extra sandwiches on the plate. I’ve been at high teas before where they simply give you an extra egg sandwich or another onion tart – which I have no problem with – but when an establishment goes out of their way to create something different it does not go unnoticed. It states on their website that nut and gluten-free alternatives are also available with 24-hours notice. It’s much easier and safer to list any dietary requirements when you book, though.
I booked my table almost a year out. I love that they took bookings so early as I like to be super-organised and get my itinerary in order. The room is not all that big, there were probably less than twenty tables in all, so if you have a certain day in mind I can’t stress enough how important it is to book well in advance. This is such a popular event and the room was filled with birthday celebrations, baby showers and hen’s parties and then lil ol’ me on one table alone.
Luckily I could eat my feelings with all the wonderful goods laid out in front of me; I bet you’re all wondering what I ate, right?!
Well the important part of the setting is the fashion-inspired part, so here’s that:
- Gucci art deco Grand Marnier and dark Valrhona chocolate mousse embellished with golden beads
- Mulberry white chocolate crème de menthe and raspberry mousse topped with a lemon meringue
- Fendi nautical red and white striped vanilla cake filled with fraise des bois cremeux accessorized with oversized yellow button
- Christian Louboutin must have neon yellow high heeled chocolate biscuit with signature red sole
- Jason Wu romantic cherry bavarois and coconut cream topped with playful pink skirt and biscuit heel
- Miu Miu 1950′s inspired vanilla bikini biscuit with red hot icing and playful white bow
- Valentino romantic peach cake dress with light pink champagne jelly and edible flower
- Dolce & Gabbana light blue Sicilian blueberry sponge cake wicker basket wrapped in chocolate
- Michael Kors safari opera cake with dark chocolate and mocha filling topped with signature leopard print
and for savouries there were classic high tea sandwiches with a bit of a twist. It was nice to see a bit of a bun and a wrap in there as opposed to ribbon sandwiches. It’s the little things that make all the difference.
The canapés were really quite special and I felt bad just eating them in one mouthful. They certainly deserved more attention. I have somehow misplaced my notes on this meal so I can’t recall exactly what I had but there’s an obvious vine leaf in there and the brown circular thing was beef.
One thing that you might notice that’s missing is scones. I didn’t even realise until I was looking back at my photos later that evening so obviously I wasn’t disappointed by the exclusion, but keep in mind that this is not your traditional afternoon tea, so if you’re looking for scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam it would be better to book in somewhere a bit more traditional.
Something else that wasn’t traditional, at least not in Australia, was that the food kept coming. I feel like we get jipped here as you generally get one serve of everything but being the glutton I am I want more! Not only did the sandwiches and canapés get replenished as soon as I finished my supply, the beautiful little cakes did too. Any that I couldn’t finish were packed up in this very on-trend fluro doggy bag and sent off home with me.
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley was a most delightful experience and I will definitely book in again next time I’m in London. I love the fact that each time you go will be significantly different depending on the fashion at the time and that so much thought goes into this venture.
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley starts from £39 per person for afternoon tea, £49 per person for afternoon tea and a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne or £55 per person for afternoon tea and a glass of Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut, Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle. Do what I did and go for the latter option for a bit more indulgence
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is held in The Caramel Room daily from 1:00 – 6:00 pm. To book or find out more please see The Berkeley’s website.