My favorite High Tea at The Orangery, Kensington Palace, London

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Orangery
Kensington Palace
Palace Green

London W8 3UY
Area: Kensington Gardens
020 7376 0239
Restaurant website (unavail), for details, see Yelp UK

Food (4.2/5.0)
Service (3.8/5.0)

Not to be stereotypical, but my multiple food experiences in London haven't been mind-blowing; even if Indian food and Peking Duck in Bayswater are particular delicious (not English at all). Traditional English food doesn't quite excite me...Unless you're talking about High Tea. The most influential female figures in my early development subscribe to a "ladies who lunch" mantra, and would bring us kids out for high tea almost every week. Between nibbles of scones and sips of milky tea, we would be regaled with highlights of petty gossip, sagely advice and competitive shopping deals. We would switch things up by going for the traditional English one day, Hong Kong yum cha the next, Peranakan kuehs the next.... Not to sound obnoxious, I know my high tea well

In the UK, my favorite aspect of English food is unanimously its High Tea. While I can't say that I have sampled a lot in London, I have been to two places: The Orangery and Brown's. Of the 2, I preferred The Orangery to Brown's by several reasons:
TO was affordable and of great value (13-18 quid) versus and Brown's pricey tag (~40 quid!!!);
it had greater variety and also offered a savory smoked fish plate;
it was unpretentious and was located in the beautiful gardens of Kensington Palace...That said, Brown's offered free flow of delicious, buttery scones and petit fours but there really is so much carbs one can eat in the middle of the afternoon.

TO does not take reservations and if you're going there on the weekends, be prepared for a substantial wait. UK Yelpers, god bless their hearts, have rated my favorite TO highly and it is no longer London's best kept secret. As of now, I have officially been to TO about 5 times, which explains why I have not explored other high tea establishments as much. With pillars set in a high-ceilinged and sunlit room, I always leave with refreshed and inspired airs. Each table is also set with a small potted orange tree and the silverware is pristine and impeccable.

As mentioned, there is a delicately-smoked fish platter with trout, salmon and other nibbles which contrast nicely with the sweets we have. De-crusted poppyseed pain de mie contributes an excellent nutty profile toward the traditional buttered sandwich; in that regard, crunchy cucumber sandwiches and pillowy egg sandwiches were proportioned perfectly.  The scones with clotted cream, butter and strawberry preserves are heavenly and decadent and rich. The funny thing is that each rich mouthful invites another...because of the teas. I used to order champagne tea but to maximize my appetite, I now go without. I love lapsang souchong and earl grey the most; the former for its intense and seductive smokiness and the latter because of its citrus-y notes of bergamot. Gah, I love this place! I have been to some good, fancy high tea places in Boston but none so far have compared to the well-executed simplicity of TO. Waiting to buy a cheap air ticket to London soon...

The Menu (front)

The Menu (inside)
Little Orange plant
Said dining room
My very-embellished left hand. 
Preparing to attack.... Cousin Stef and aunt.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

wibiya widget

Ooh Mummy! Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino

Creative Commons License
Ooh Mummy! by Winnie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.