The Beef Wellington is sourced from the award-winning Glenarm Castle Organic Farm in Northern Irelan (Image: Premier)
The hospitality, theatre, art and entertainment industries that are heavily reliant on tourism have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. As many restaurants reopen with a new duty to ensure the safety of staff and guests, I was excited to experience Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason in London’s Piccadilly. Established in 1707, this iconic brand is internationally renowned for its stunning selection of teas, food and china. Upon arrival, I noticed that staff wore masks at all times and were even required to get their temperature checked with a thermal imaging camera before starting work.
The famous Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was perched on the top floor boasting 82 different types of tea.
Arrival times were staggered for different bookings to prevent crowds in the reception area.
Tables were socially distanced from one another in the light-filled room and thoroughly cleaned with sanitiser between each use.
The live pianist played stunning tunes and set the tone for a relaxing evening of self-indulgence.
All of the desserts are freshly made before being served, the perfect way to end the evening (Image: Elsie Boat)
I opted for the classic Afternoon Tea, presented on fine china and beautiful silverware.
Placing my order, I felt safe knowing that menus would either be quarantined for 24 hours or disposed of.
The food tasted very fresh, particularly the salmon, which was produced in Fortnum’s smokery on the roof.
It also houses an allotment that grows herbs and vegetables to use in the restaurant and four working bee hives that produce delicious honey to sell in-store.
Champagne Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason is a popular treat. The famous Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (Image: Elsie Boat)
We sampled food from the savoury Afternoon Tea menu where traditional tea cakes had been replaced with mini portions of apple and pork sausage roll, duck mousse with rhubarb glaze, wild mushroom and truffle pâté, rabbit ballotine with pickled carrot and devilled eggs with caviar.
The coronation chicken, a twist on Rosemary Hume’s recipe minus the raisins, was utterly divine.
High Tea offered more substantial dishes like the famous classic scotch egg with piccalilli, invented by Fornum's in 1738.
The Sparkling Tea served chilled in a champagne flute, blended from a fine selection of organic black, white and green teas, was surprisingly good.
Bottled together with organic grapes, the natural sweetness complements and enhances the flavours of the tea. Organic lemon juice is also added to give acidity and citrus character.
The freshly baked scones with lemon curd, cream and jam were perfection.
The afternoon kept getting better and better, as the cake trolley featured double fudge cake, lemon drizzle (a little too sweet for me) and Victoria sponge, which I took away in a doggy bag.
It was also nice knowing that everything was available to purchase from the store downstairs in case I wanted even more.
The Raw Cornish Mackerel and Caviar Taco for starters were presented elegantly and tasted very good (Image: Premier)
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