Five-star hotel The Berkeley in the heart of Knightsbridge in London is perhaps most renowned for their legendary designer afternoon tea, ‘Prêt-à-Portea’ which is inspired by collections from world-famous fashion designers.
Transformed every six months to follow the autumn/winter and spring/summer fashion collections, guests can experience mouth-watering cakes, biscuits and savoury dishes all year around.
Served in the newly renovated Collins Room the afternoon tea experience is an elaborate affair. The dining area is elegant, feminine and light-filled with large windows and an airy seating plan and was named as a tribute to the legendary designer David Collins. The sofas and chairs are draped in lilac velvet matching the teapots and plates.
Served daily between 1.30pm – 5.30pm the delicious menu is designed by executive chef Shaun Whatling using locally sourced ingredients.
To start off with guests can choose from loose leaf tea pairings including black, oolong, green, white, puerh and tisane. The tea is served in small or larger pots and comes pre-brewed.
For those feeling extra fancy, there’s an option to start off with a glass of bubbles from the Couture Champagne selection including Laurent Perrier Rose, Bollinger Rose and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.
The afternoon tea experience is broken down into savoury dishes followed by a traditional cake-stand filled with stunning and sweet fashion creations to the brim.
The finger sandwiches arrive first and consist of a nice collection of vegetarian, meat and fish options. The poached Scottish salmon with tarragon emulsion on rye bread and the duck egg mayonnaise and mustard cress on white bread are both delicious. There is also a separate plate with a fennel veloute (cold soup), tomato macaroon with goats cheese and charred miso mackerel.
The grand finale of the afternoon tea is the impressive and delicate collection of cakes inspired by the world’s most famous fashion designers. They are so pretty it is almost a shame to eat them.
The selection includes;
Gucci’s pink candyfloss summer berry sable Breton jumper in a rhubarb mousse, accentuated with a golden sugar bow.
Ralph & Russo pain de Gênes dress cake with velvet lavender cremeux and beriolette jelly, romantically topped with a showstopper sugar frill.
Stella McCartney’s brilliantly British chocolate and vanilla Battenberg cake inspired by her chequerboard summer pumps.
Emilio Pucci’s playful colour-blocked jumpsuit reimagined as a caramelised pineapple compote with coconut jelly and strawberry bavarois, crowned with a psychedelic chocolate wave.
Charlotte Olympia’s high-kicking ‘Chiquita’ banana pump biscuits to channel your inner Carmen Miranda.
Dolce & Gabbana’s hazelnut daquoise pasta-print midi dress with praline croquant and Gianduja chocolate mousse, finished with a fun farfalle.
Mulberry’s ‘it’ Pembroke bag in a Valrhona ivoire chocolate-glazed cake, inspired by British collegiate stripes.
Balenciaga’s new perspective on street style, recreated as a raspberry bavarois and blueberry compote, topped with a kinky, slinky pointed stiletto biscuit.
Miu Miu’s retro bikini lime biscuit – the must-have swimwear making a splash on the seaside this summer season.
The Prêt-à-Portea is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends or family. The comfortable and elegant dining area is welcoming and the service is great. The highlight is the beautiful cakes which pieces of art in their own right.
If you don’t manage to finish all the delicious delights the friendly staff will pack them up for you in beautiful boxes to bring home and enjoy later.
£62.00 per person (with a glass of Laurent-Perrier)
The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7235 6000