Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taking Tea at The Winter Garden

Hello my friends!
I have returned from my three week holiday to Great Britain! I will be leaving on another adventure soon, but should be able to blog regularly as I'll be travelling within the USA. It was more strange this time to be so disconnected from the world. Of all the social media, my blog and my readers were always on my mind. Especially when Gina and I took our Afternoon Tea at the Landmark's Winter Garden in London since it was voted on by you, my dear readers!  I've now had tea at The Savoy, the Ritz, Brown's, the Dorchester and The Landmark. The standard was set by The Savoy which had excellent atmosphere, service, tea and food.
So, how did the Winter Garden at the Landmark stack up against my other tea-taking experiences?

The Atmosphere at the Winter Garden was excellent. In fact, I would rank it second, just behind The Savoy and ahead of The Ritz. The Winter Garden is spacious and there are plenty of people watching opportunities, something that I like to have when enjoying a leisurely tea.

The Winter Garden at The Landmark Hotel

Starting out with a Champagne Toast

The most important part of the whole affair is of course, the tea. There were many to choose from. Gina chose the Winter Garden Blend, a mixture of Indian and China black teas. I chose Organic Rose Grey, a blend of Earl Grey with organic pink rose petals. Unfortunately, our first cup of tea was poured when our champagne was brought to the table so by the time we were done sipping the bubbly beverage, the tea was lukewarm. And, unlike the Savoy and most of the other places I've taken tea, they did not provide a metal pot of piping hot water to add to your teapot. I gulped that first cup down as to pour myself a fresh, steaming cup and sip it properly!

Rose Champagne & Organic Rose Grey Tea

Sweet Additives

Despite that unfortunate start, the Organic Rose Grey tea was by far, the best, most delightfully flavored tea I have ever had. I loved it so much I asked the server if the tea was available for purchase. She brought a manager over who went off to find some that I could just have. At Brown's Hotel, they had given us little sample packs of the teas we had chosen as parting gifts so I was expecting something similar. Instead, what I got to my complete surprise was a large purple tin filled with the tea! And, at no charge, tin and all! She even felt bad that she didn't have the proper tin for the Organic Rose Grey. All that made up somewhat for the lack of actual service and the sub-par food. 

Organic Rose Grey Tea

Although our server was a lovely girl from the Ukraine, the service was the worst experienced at an afternoon tea service, ranking below The Dorchester. She was very slow and inattentive to the needs of the diners. It was a hard task to try to get her attention as she spent most of the time somewhere other than the dining room. The food did not score well with either of us; the sandwiches although tasty, were not as flavorful as those we had at Brown's. And the desserts were lovely to look at but fell way short of what desserts should be: Scrumptiously Sinful.

A selection of desserts

As for the Scones, well, horrible is not too strong a word to describe the small, hard baked goods they placed in front of us. The scones at the Winter Garden reminded me of the ones my mother and I had at The Ritz. I can't imagine anyone preferring one of these scones to the big, homemade fluffy delights you find in tea rooms throughout Britain. I only had one, and that says quite a lot about the state of scones at The Winter Garden. We slathered on much jam and clotted cream so that the tasteless scone would hardly matter.

Scone Leftovers

So, my dear readers...if any of you decide to take in tea at The Winter Garden, I would suggest choosing the specialty Chocolate Afternoon Tea menu over the one we chose. Perhaps, the desserts would at least tantalize the palate. Despite the disappointment, I still thoroughly enjoyed the process of taking tea as I always do. And we did find plenty of other places to have tea and scones that made up for our experience at The Winter Garden. I'll be including those locations in upcoming blog posts so stay tuned! Oh, and by the's good to be home. ;)


Nichole Renee said...

Gah! I voted for the Winter Garden! I wish it had been a better experience, though I see you have found all the positives in the experience!

Nice to see a blog post from you! Welcome home!!

Alex said...

Welcome back. I'm sorry to hear Winter Garden was not what you expected. :( The bright side... hopefully you have the tin full of tea to enjoy while curled up at your home.

shabby*girl said...

Welcome home, my friend! I enjoyed reading about your tea experience!
Talk to you REAL SOON!
Love you, Missy

Laura said...

Thanks girls! It was still a great experience despite the service and food. And, I have been enjoying my rose grey tea every day since my return!

Art Expression said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos of your trip. I really like the " Leafy lane " It is fantastic...

Laura said...

Thanks Nicole..I love Leafy Lane too. One of my favorites!