I recently had afternoon tea at Covent Garden Hotel on Monmouth Street. Being an ardent afternoon tea fan I was a little disappointed with their offering, which sadly didn’t match up to the decadent surroundings.
We had tea in the ‘Tiffany’s library’, which is a small private room just off the adjoining drawing room. The decor can’t be faulted – it gives the exact impression of a well-travelled Edwardian gentleman’s apartments, and we even had a pretty view of the Monmouth Street Christmas lights.
My friend and I shared the traditional afternoon tea and the gentleman’s afternoon tea (minus the pale ale, which neither of us like). The presentation was lacklustre and didn’t appear as attractive as other afternoon teas I have had, which is why I didn’t take a picture of the food. It was all presented in a bit of a mish mash on jumbled plates – this seemed to be mainly the fault of the gentleman’s tea as the traditional came on the usual three tier stand.
The tea was of good quality and the cakes and scones were reasonably nice (though the waiter was unable to tell us what the cakes actually were), but the meal was badly let down by the the sandwiches and savouries. Everything was under-seasoned and dry: the roast beef roll needed more salt as well as some chutney or relish to counteract the dryness of the ciabatta; the chicken needed more mayonnaise; the cress had gone stringy from being left in the mayonnaise for too long; the boar terrine was, again, under-salted; the ham needed more mustard; the fish goujons and fries looked (and tasted) like an offering in any standard pub; and, worst of all, the cheese and pickle sandwich was actually STALE. Goodness knows how long it had been sitting out in the air, the exterior of the bread had actually gone crispy.
It is enormously simple to make a really nice sandwich, so it is a shame that an afternoon tea in such lovely surroundings was let down by something so easy to get right. Until the Covent Garden Hotel picks up their game on the savoury front, I’m afraid this is one afternoon tea that is really best avoided.