British Style Collective, Liverpool

The British Style Collective arrived in Liverpool last weekend for a three-day fashion and beauty extravaganza. 

After spending more than 30 years based at Birmingham's NEC under the name The Clothes Show, the event has been rebranded and moved to its new northern home for a city-wide takeover. Huge names from the world of fashion and beauty, including celebrities, designers, models and bloggers, all took part. 

The event kicked off on Friday with a fashion catwalk at Liverpool's ECHO Arena. Renowned British designers including Philip Armstrong, Sorapol and Edeline Lee, and Lisbon based designer David Ferreira all showcased their collections.

Shows took place across the weekend at the beautiful St George’s Hall which hosted exclusive Q&A sessions and insider interviews, allowing the audience to delve a little deeper into the glamorous world of fashion. 

Caryn Franklin MBE interviewed singer and presenter Kimberley Walsh

Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing spoke about his brand Candy Kittens and his pal Alex Mytton also appeared, fresh off a flight from Ibiza. 

British designer Henry Holland spoke about his brand, House of Holland. 

Singer Mollie King spoke with Caryn Franklin MBE

Glamour magazine’s editor Jo Elvin joined with Lisa Snowdon and Jules Von Hep.

Celebrity stylist Sabina Emrit joined a panel including Towie's Lydia Bright and Glamour beauty director Alessandra Steinherr to discuss dressing for confidence. 

Another Made in Chelsea favourite appeared, Lucy Watson. 

With all of those interviews, it’s no wonder host Antonia O’Brien took a little nap in between talks. 

There was opportunity to mingle with the speakers after each session, both Mollie and Alessandra Steinherr were absolutely gogeous. 

The event also had a significant blogger presence, with Megan Ellaby of Pages By Megan, Olivia Purvis of What Olivia Did, Sarah Ashcroft of That Pommie Girl, Helen Canning of Coco Mama Style and Alex Light of What Alex Wears.

Designer Wayne Hemingway hosted the Fine Tuned event at the Albert Dock, a collection of independent designers, street food vendors, vintage traders and performers.

Perhaps my favourite talk was with Brit designer Gary James McQueen, nephew of the late great Alexander McQueen. He spoke about how he intends to continue his family’s legacy with the launch of his new collection of made-to-order hand printed silk scarves. It was a real treat for him to debut his collection in Liverpool and a nicer guy you could not wish to meet. 

It was fantastic to see our beautiful city hosting such a glamorous event and I’m thrilled to hear it’s coming back next year!

The Wolseley, London

“How do you like your eggs in the morning?”… I like mine at The Wolseley. 

A self-proclaimed ‘café-restaurant in the grand European tradition,’ The Wolseley is located next to the Ritz in a Grade II listed building. Constructed in 1921 it was originally designed as a prestigious car showroom for Wolseley Motors.

However, the cars didn’t sell well and by 1926 the company was bankrupt.

Barclays Bank acquired the building and a banking counter was installed, as well as a post box and stamp machine, which are still on display today.

Decades later Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the original restaurateurs behind the Ivy and J Sheekey, took ownership and set about a major renovation project.

Black and cream geometric marble floors and baroque ironwork were introduced to take the building back to it’s 1920s authenticity. Inspiration was taken from the grand cafes of Vienna, Milan and Paris. The interior is beautiful, with soaring columns and arched windows under a 30ft-high ceiling.

The Wolseley opened its doors in 2003 and has since experienced great success, gaining iconic status and achieving the highest grossing turnover of any individual restaurant in the UK. It has rumoured sales of over £10 million a year. 

It has also become a favourite with London's celebrity set due to it oozing glamour but being equally discrete. Kate Moss is a regular while Madonna, Sienna Miller and Jake Gyllenhaal have all dined there in recent years. Lucian Freud loved the place so much he ate at the same table every single night.

Keen to see what all the fuss was about, I visited for breakfast with a friend one Sunday morning. Having previously reviewed sister restaurant, The Colbert in Chelsea, we knew roughy what to expect.

Great service, simple but delicious food and well-heeled people reading a variety of international Sunday papers.

We began with a pot of tea each and a glass of freshly squeezed vitamin c. I ordered my usual eggs florentine and my friend had an omelette.

We couldn’t resist ordering a buttery pain au chocolat each, having fallen in love with the pastries at The Colbert.

The food was delicious, exactly what we needed after one too many cocktails the night before. Comfort food at its best. 

Unlike The Colbert, The Wolseley was a hive of activity with a noise level to match. Smartly dressed waiters dashed around the place tending to everyones needs. The restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine, akin to the luxury cars that were sold in the same building nearly a century ago. 

There was a whole variety of people dining, the famous sitting alongside tourists, children eat with their parents, all different nationalities. The Wolseley suits everyone and every occasion. With a varied menu serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, the restaurant transforms itself from cafe to tea-room to late night dining every day.

The Wolseley is definitely worth a visit, particularly for breakfast, which it does so well. So much so writer A.A. Gill dedicated a book to ‘Breakfast at The Wolseley.’

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They say you should “eat breakfast like a King.” It appears this might mean Jeremy King. Having enjoyed The Wolseley as much as I enjoyed The Colbert, I’m certainly going to visit some of King and Corbin’s other ventures in the city.

The duo have landed upon a winning formula. 

www.thewolseley.com

Sloane Square Hotel, London

Sloane Square was designed in 1771 and named after Sir Hans Sloane. It has long been one of the most exclusive areas in central London, situated between the Kings Road and Sloane Street. It’s the perfect address to thrill shopaholics, surrounded by the world’s most luxury boutiques.

Aside from the excellent retail therapy opportunities, the Square also has several historical buildings, including the Peter Jones department store, the Royal Court Theatre and the Sloane Square Hotel. 

Housed in a 19th-century building which was formerly The Royal Court Hotel, it has played host to many celebrities. Early in February 1962, The Beatles stayed for several weeks and in the following year they used the building as a venue for photographic sessions. The hotel also played host to the first meeting between Paul McCartney and his future girlfriend Jane Asher.

In 2005 the building was completely renovated and reopened as Sloane Square Hotel. The ideal location for my recent trip to The Glamour Beauty Festival at The Saatchi Gallery. The Gallery is conveniently just a two minute walk from the hotel. 

As per usual, I arrived at the hotel well before my scheduled Check In time. The intention was to drop my bags and grab some breakfast in the hotel’s French inspired Cote Brasserie. It was a nice surprise to be told that my room was ready, giving me the opportunity to have a quick freshen up before the Festival began. The staff at reception were all charming and extremely welcoming, setting the tone for the rest of my stay. 

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I arrived in my room to find a handsome little fella sat waiting to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries while I inspected the room. 

The hotel’s rooms are elegant and luxurious, with bespoke ornate wallpapers and beds dressed with luxury 300-thread count Egyptian linens. Comfort is paramount with soft pillows on the huge King size bed.

My room had a lovely window seat looking out across the square and was pretty spacious, even by London standards.

After a quick spruce up, I bid my friend farewell and made my way downstairs to meet my (human) friend for some french toast before we set off for the Saatchi Gallery. 

The Glamour Beauty Festival is a two-day beauty event which launched in 2016 and returned to London for its second year.

The event was sponsored by Fiat, which staged a 'pool party', offering guests the chance to immerse themselves in a party experience with DJ music, a gelato van and parasols. We grabbed ourselves a prosecco sorbet and soaked up the party atmosphere.

The Festival is an opportunity to experience professional beauty treatments and gain expert advice, as well as watch talks with some of the industry’s leading figures. Brands supporting the festival included Nars, GHD, Garnier, Elizabeth Arden and Nails Inc. 

Youtube duo Pixiwoo kicked off the talks, followed by make-up guru Mary Greenwell and hair expert Sam McKnight. They spoke to presenter Angela Scanlon about how the beauty industry has changed and gave a fascinating insight into what it was like working with Princess Diana.

Fearne Cotton spoke all things food with celebrity nutritionist Amelia Freer. 

Dermot O’Leary was interviewed by Glamour Editor Jo Elvin on his new skincare range for men. 

Glamour’s Beauty Director, Alessandra Steinherr, interviewed a group of gorgeous ladies as to their Desert Island essentials. The group consisted of singer Frankie Bridge and bloggers In The Frow, Samantha Maria and Niomi Smart.

Winnie Harlow spoke to Erin O’Connor about working in the modelling industry. 

After all of the talks we had our hair done by GHD before heading next door to Gallery Mess for some much needed food. 

Gallery Mess has a beautiful setting within the grounds of the Saatchi Gallery. The decor of exposed brickwork, high ceilings and unique displays of art make for a lovely relaxing atmosphere. The perfect place for a long leisurely meal in readiness for some cocktails in Chelsea. 

Returning to the Sloane Square Hotel in the evening, we enjoyed a complimentary glass of prosecco in the hotel bar.

When I returned to my room a lovely little surprise awaited. The room had been turned down, with my bed made ready to slump into. A chocolate had been left on my pillow and a bottle of water on the bedside table. I’m can’t be sure who the kind and thoughtful person was who did this for me, but I have my suspicions. He’d even left out a mug for me to have a late night feast of hot chocolate and cookies. What a gentleman!

L'Enclume

Following the success of last summer's Fäviken review, I asked my brother, Andrew, to write about his recent trip to L'Enclume.

Regarded by many to be Britain’s greatest restaurant, it’s a feast of a review, and one which I hope you will enjoy...

Foodie ‘bible’ The Good Food Guide awarded L’Enclume its maximum 10 out of 10 rating for the fifth time in its 2017 guide, and named it to be its top UK restaurant for the fourth consecutive year. 

Owned and run by British chef Simon Rogan and his partner Penny Tapsell, the double-Michelin star, five AA Rosette winning L’Enclume is their flagship restaurant amongst what appears to be an ever-expanding number of other eateries.

When I checked recently, as well as L’Enclume, other eateries in the group included the Rogan & Company restaurant and Pig and Whistle pub in Cartmel, The French and Mr Cooper’s House & Garden (both in Manchester), Michelin-starred Fera at Claridge's and the Roganic ‘pop-up’ restaurant (both in London); the Aulis development kitchens at L’Enclume and Claridge’s and, as if that wasn’t enough, a 12-acre farm just outside of Cartmel.

As we schlep northwards along the M6 motorway and then on to the A590 towards Cartmel, I have a few things mulling around in my mind.

Firstly, where on earth would you find the energy to run several award-winning restaurants, a pub, and a farm? 

Secondly, I’m thinking about this review, and one particular salacious detail: the cost of our visit.

It won't come as a surprise that dining at one of the world's great restaurants is not going to be cheap. Understandably, for some the cost will be beyond justification. So let’s get it out of the way early: our visit - including dinner at L’Enclume with accompanying cheese and drinks flights and a one-night stay in a suite, but excluding any tips - cost, for two people, £821.50. 

Finally off the M6 and driving deeper into the Cumbrian countryside, the final thing mulling about in my mind is… what are those strange noises coming from the bottom of our car, and where the bloody hell are we? 

For our last epic food adventure my wife and I travelled over 1,000 miles to arrive at Fäviken, one of the most remote restaurants in the world. We took two plane journeys, hired a car in Norway and drove across the land border to rural Sweden. Not once did we get lost.

We’re asked to arrive at L'Enclume for midday. The small historic village of Cartmel is located in a quieter corner of the Lake District. Surrounded by mile-upon-mile of farmers fields, it has a character quite different from the well-known touristy towns of Bowness-on-Windermere, Ambleside or Keswick.

Prior to being shown our room, we’ve been invited to take a tour of L’Enclume’s farm. It’s with some embarrassment that, less than 100 miles from home, with crunching noises of stone boulders forcibly acquainting themselves with the underside of our car, tyres spinning attempting to struggle up a 1 in 3 single track, that we make the call to the L’Enclume reception “hi, we’re lost!”

‘Our Farm’ is conveniently located only a mile north-east of the village. Inconveniently, we’re at L’Enclume’s former farm which is still listed on their website. It is 1 mile west and, to complicate matters further, we’ve taken a wrong turn along a path which is car-destroyingly craggy, narrow and steep. Very steep. Reception kindly direct us back to the restaurant and arrange for us to be driven to the farm.

Our farm was conceived and built by chefs with a clear vision - to strengthen the link between food, its development, and the environment - advancing the relationship between cooking and growing.
— L'Enclume

At the farm we meet one of the growers, Simon. A more patient and laid-back character you could not wish to meet.

Red baron onions (also known as shooting onions)

Red baron onions (also known as shooting onions)

Simon walks us around a handful of polytunnels showing us the raised beds where many varieties of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers are grown.

Chickweed

Chickweed

We’re encouraged to pick and taste the fresh herbs and flowers. 

Peach trees in blossom

Peach trees in blossom

Simon explains that the farm is in its 4th year and that the ingredients grown here are used in Rogan’s Cartmel restaurants, as well as being transported down to London to be used in Fera and Aulis at Claridge’s. The farm is said to supply over 90% of L’Enclume’s produce.

The thing I admire most is that nothing goes to waste. Even food waste from L’Enclume is recycled and used as compost at the farm; the farm-to-plate-and-back-to-the-farm ethos.

Winter Purslane (miners lettuce or claytonia)

Winter Purslane (miners lettuce or claytonia)

The effort that has gone into controlling the consistency and the quality of the ingredients is truly impressive.

Cows, chickens and pigs are also reared at the farm and there is an orchard where it is planned that a variety of fruit including apples, damsons and pears will be grown.

I’m informed there are plans to build a smokehouse and possibly a meat curing room up here. I’d go a step further and, during the summer months, move Aulis at L'Enclume to this location too.

After an enjoyable 45 minutes or so walking around the farm we are collected and driven back to the village. 

We’ve booked the Cartmel Escape package, and our room is one of the suites.

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Housed above a fantastic coffee shop in the centre of the village, the room is spacious and has a nice blend of modern features and antique furniture. It has everything you could need or expect.

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Our room and restaurant package includes “a half bottle of Classic English sparkling wine from the Nyetimber Estate, homemade nibbles in your room upon arrival, dinner for two from our full taster menu, and an overnight stay with breakfast the following morning at our sister restaurant Rogan & Co.”

It’s now 2pm and, despite wanting to save ourselves for the meal tonight, we’re ravenous. Regrettably our stay is on a Tuesday when Rogan & Co is closed so, on receptions suggestion, we try the nearby Cavendish Arms; an excellent recommendation.

The British weather is at its changeable-worst.  Sunglasses are needed to protect eyes from the sun, but also from the sporadic hail storms too. After lunch we opt to have a walk around the village, tracing the path of River Eea. 

Even if it wasn’t home to one of the worlds best restaurants, picturesque Cartmel would be worth a visit.

Possibly unfairly, it has recently been called ‘Roganville’ due to the number of establishments Rogan has here.

While we walk around we discover why. Almost everywhere you look, L’Enclume employees are busily hurrying in and out of buildings dotted around the village, all working feverishly to make the great engine work.

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Should you ever make the trip, I encourage you to play a game somewhat alike Whac-A-Mole; you win a point for every L’Enclume employee you spot entering or exiting an unexpected property. The loser pays the bill at the restaurant.

Just perfect dishes, showing faultless technique at every service; extremely rare, and the highest accolade the Guide can give.
— The Good Food Guide ’10’ rating

We arrive at the restaurant just before 7pm and are met by Sean, L’Enclume’s assistant head waiter, who shows us to our table in the conservatory.

L’Enclume is housed in a 700 year-old stone-built former smithy.

The interior is almost Scandi-style with rugged whitewashed walls, plenty of slate, glass and dark wood; bringing many of the Lake District's natural elements into the dining room. Decorative metal wall panels and a couple of anvils are dotted around (L’Enclume is French for the anvil).

Service is the perfect mix of friendly-formal. Too often in fine dining restaurants the service can be awkwardly formal, uncomfortably so. Not here. Sean takes the opportunity to ask if we have any food allergies that they should be aware of and, despite them being on the menu, takes it in his stride when my wife informs him that she is allergic to oysters.

L'Enclume vegetarian tasting menu (with optional wine flight)

L'Enclume vegetarian tasting menu (with optional wine flight)

The evenings menu is presented in an envelope on each table. The diner has the choice of whether or not to open it before the meal, or to leave each dish as a surprise.

We’re introduced to Valentin Mouillard the sommelier and, mistakenly believing it will result in fewer glasses of wine, opt for the Standard wine flight as opposed to the Signature (£70 versus £110, per person).

Before our meal begins we’re invited for a tour of the kitchen. During each 3-4 hour evening service this kitchen serves up anywhere between 800 to 1,000 plates of food. 800 to 1,000(!!) 

I expect to find a scene of carnage. Food splattered on the ceiling. Purple-faced chefs bumping into one another. Expletives. Kitchen porters whimpering in the corner.

We’re met with a remarkably calm and spotlessly clean kitchen. A comparatively compact space filled with a relatively young team. At the centre of it, Head Chef Tom Barnes. Cool as an organic cucumber (but not keen on having his photo taken). There’s not a morsel of food on the ceiling or anywhere else for that matter, but for the plates.

Truly, I make more mess when making a single round of toast.

We return to our seats. The main event is upon us. The procession of food and drink is to begin.

I'm no Jay Rayner and don’t have the word-smithery or tastebuds to be a food critic, and so will not go into detail attempting to describe the food. I hope the photographs speak for themselves. If they don't, the accolades the restaurant routinely receives surely do.

If you've read our Fäviken review, you will have read that I am vegetarian, my wife is not. I'll show each course, and where the dishes differ - many courses were the same for us both - will present my wife’s meal first followed by mine (denoted with a v).

Beetroot and vegetate (v)

Beetroot and vegetate (v)

Fermented tea and pumpkin juice (v)

Fermented tea and pumpkin juice (v)

Chickpea wafer with flowers (v)

Chickpea wafer with flowers (v)

Truffle pudding (v)

Truffle pudding (v)

Stichelton, millet and bone marrow

Stichelton, millet and bone marrow

Turnips, maran yolk, stout (v)

Turnips, maran yolk, stout (v)

Salted gooseberry and herb tart (v)

Salted gooseberry and herb tart (v)

Scallops with kohlrabi and seaweed

Scallops with kohlrabi and seaweed

Kohlrabi and seaweed (v)

Kohlrabi and seaweed (v)

Perilla bouillon & Mushroom bouillon (v)

Artichoke with stout and Ragstone (v)

Artichoke with stout and Ragstone (v)

Aged veal in coal oil, shallot and sorrel

Aged veal in coal oil, shallot and sorrel

Heritage tomato in coal oil, shallot and sorrel (v)

Heritage tomato in coal oil, shallot and sorrel (v)

Grilled prawn, carrot, nasturtium & Roasted carrot and nasturtium (v)

Grilled prawn, carrot, nasturtium & Roasted carrot and nasturtium (v)

Turbot with onions, smoked eel and monk’s beard

Turbot with onions, smoked eel and monk’s beard

Roast Cauliflower, fermented mushroom, yeasted apple (v)

Roast Cauliflower, fermented mushroom, yeasted apple (v)

Turbot with onions, smoked eel and monk’s beard

Turbot with onions, smoked eel and monk’s beard

Roast Cauliflower, fermented mushroom, yeasted apple (v)

Roast Cauliflower, fermented mushroom, yeasted apple (v)

Stuffed cabbage and offal & Stuffed cabbage and mushroom ragout (v)

Stuffed cabbage and offal & Stuffed cabbage and mushroom ragout (v)

Salt baked celeriac (v)

Salt baked celeriac (v)

English mushrooms (v)

English mushrooms (v)

George Norrie, Head Waiter (and part-time forrager)

George Norrie, Head Waiter (and part-time forrager)

Cheese course (v) (optional)

Cheese course (v) (optional)

Valentin Mouillard, Sommelier

Valentin Mouillard, Sommelier

Quince and gingerbread tartlet (v)

Quince and gingerbread tartlet (v)

Liquorice custard and sea buckthorn (v)

Liquorice custard and sea buckthorn (v)


I’m drowning here, and you’re describing the water!
— Melvin Udall

There is a scene in the movie ‘As Good As It Gets’ when Jack Nicholson's character utters the above quote.

It is never far from my mind each time sommelier Valentin Mouillard approaches the table with yet another bottle of wine together with a detailed description of its contents.

Possibly unwisely, given that we’re not big drinkers, my wife and I opt for the Wine Flight and the Cheese Flight. This guarantees that we will be served at least 11 glasses of wine during the meal and, on more than one occasion, our sneakily-efficient sommelier jumps in to top-up our glasses while we are distracted. As a result my wife and I are ‘merry’, and - as you can see - my camera is showing the signs of being inebriated too.

Interestingly, at the start of the evening I was the only person taking photos. Fellow diners look at me with quizzical bemusement while I snap photos of every course. Three-or-so hours later almost every diner has joined me in taking blurry photos of food. Drunk-face selfies appear surprisingly popular too.


Pear, rhubarb and sweet cheese Anvil (v)

Pear, rhubarb and sweet cheese Anvil (v)

Pine cones and mint cake (v)

Pine cones and mint cake (v)

We leave the restaurant at 11pm having enjoyed one of the best meals of our lives.

Overnight a decent coating of snow has fallen on the surrounding hills.

Breakfast is served at Rogan & Co. It's a delicious start to the day, and the perfect way to end our 24 hours at L'Enclume.

As we’re about to begin our journey home we pop into a local store to buy a couple of small presents for our two kids. The friendly shopkeeper enquires if we're here to visit L’Enclume. I ask if she's ever visited: "No, never. My husband probably wouldn't like it. He likes... you know... a big plate of food".

As we discussed at the beginning, for some the cost will be too hard to see past. If you see food as simply a fuel, or a means to an end, then you too probably won't 'get' a restaurant like L'Enclume. 

I struggle to fully describe my attraction to such places, perhaps it is because my wife and I have our own eatery. I was fascinated to see a business, soon to celebrate its 15th anniversary, and what keeps it at the top of its game. 

The UK restaurant industry has never been more competitive and there are more eateries trading today than at any time before. L'Enclume is currently rated as very best of them all. Such consistency is what is most impressive about L’Enclume, the fact that Simon Rogan and his team are able to deliver again and again, year after year.

In a tiny village in rural Cumbria a talented team are skilfully producing some of the world’s best food. A mile away, in L'Enclume, a team of expert chefs are creating award winning dishes from that produce.

If you visit make sure that you take in the whole experience and be sure to visit Our Farm. It is pivotal to the success of the restaurant, and it cannot be a coincidence that in each of the 4 years since Our Farm was born, L’Enclume has been named the UK’s best restaurant.

We thoroughly enjoyed our L’Enclume experience. The only way we can think to better it is to dine at the Aulis development kitchen, something we plan to do soon.

 

Many thanks to Simon, David, Amy, Mataya, Laura, Laudy, Clare, Sean, George and Valentin at L’Enclume, and Samantha at TCS for making our stay so enjoyable.

L’Enclume

Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ

01539 536 362

Prêt-à-Portea, The Berkeley

The most exciting of English rituals that I adore is that of high afternoon tea. Even though I am not English, I love it and always try to find some time to have a proper tea-time once in a while. You must respect it and indulge in the full ceremony of it.” - Manolo Blahnik

The Berkeley's Prêt-à-Portea is an afternoon tea designed with fashionistas in mind. The menu features sweet treats to reflect items shown at London Fashion Week. The Berkeley's chefs even attend the catwalk shows for inspiration.

Prêt-à-Portea has recently marked it’s 10th birthday. To celebrate, Pastry chef Mourad Khiat has chosen 10 of his favourite creations from the past decade.

If you love fashion and sweet delights, this is the ultimate dining experience. The menu includes edible replicas of fashion classics, from the Burberry trench to Jimmy Choo shoes.

On a very wet and windy Saturday afternoon, my friend and I scuttled along Knightsbridge towards The Berkeley. The doorman spared me my blushes and averted his gaze as a gust of wind blew my dress up, à la Marilyn, right in front of the large glass facade of the hotel. 

We skedaddled in through the revolving door to find a roaring fire and two cosy armchairs crying out for us to sink ourselves into. Not wanting to be late for our reservation, we resisted and were shown to our table in the Collins Room. 

This room is beautiful with a contemporary decor of silver and greys. Petal chandeliers add an air of glamour while cherry blossom motifs with quirky birds have been playfully dotted around the room.

Having selected our teas from the menu, a silver three-tiered cake stand arrived and our afternoon tea began.

Starting with a selection of finger sandwiches on a variety of freshly made breads, including onion which was delightful. We sipped on Laurent Perrier Champagne while devouring the savoury section. Then onto the cakes…

Moschino Sugar & Chic Sponge Cake Bag - blood orange Victoria sponge ‘Yellow M’ handbag encased in quilted red chocolate

Jimmy Choo Praline Pumps - velvet praline cream cake with gold hazelnut croquant and sweetheart chocolate bow.

Jason Wu - The Catwalk Coconut Cherry Compote with a playful pink skirt and a cancan leg for good measure. 

Dolce & Gabbana - Blackcurrant Bavarois Star Anise Pannacotta, topped with a Chocolate Owl.

Burberry Tea Trench Biscuit - classic trench coat chocolate biscuit with creamy royal icing. Guests staying at The Berkeley will also find a Burberry trench in their room.

Charlotte Olympia Bootie Biscuit - a dramatic cinnamon biscuit boot with black and red icing.

Monolo Blahnik Biscuit - designed with the most iconic of Monolo’s shoes in mind, the Hangisi. It comes in an array of colours and has glitter decorations. 

Lanvin - Draped Honeycomb Delice - almond sponge with honeycomb mousse and a light meringue ruffle. 

Simone Rocha Salted Caramel Eclair - tulle dress vanilla éclair filled with salted caramel crème pâtissière with sugar flower decorations.

Nicholas Kirkwood Pearl Pump Sachertorte - layered with raspberry, chocolate ganache and Valrhona crémeux topped with delicate silver pearl decorations. 

This was possibly the most colourful and picturesque afternoon tea we’ve ever had. It was interesting to compare the cakes to the photos of the fashion items from the catwalk (presented on a stand on the table). We had a lot of fun taking photos. Not only did the food look fantastic, it tasted incredible too. 

We couldn’t quite finish all the food so were given a doggie bag to take home. Don’t be fooled by “dainty cakes", this afternoon tea is plentiful so go hungry! Our lovely waitress even slipped in a couple of extra cakes for the journey home. 

We also purchased a book which has been released to showcase a collection of over 20 secret recipes and baking techniques from Mourad Khiat, to recreate at home. 

After our afternoon tea, we visited the hotel’s Blue Bar, the perfect place to enjoy a sophisticated, colourful cocktail or two. The cocktails are inspired by the bold colour of the room and are categorised into green, yellow, red and blue. Each one denotes a different potency of mix.

Feeling suitably full from the food and merry from the cocktails, we headed back to our hotel. But not before having a little rest in those comfy chairs by the fire. 

The afternoon tea menu at The Berkeley changes every six months to reflect the changing fashion seasons. So there is always an excuse to return to see the new offerings from the Prêt-à-Portea team. 

“There is nothing more English than a hat, except perhaps high fashion tea served at The Berkeley” - Philip Tracey