Monday, 29 October 2012

Afternoon tea with Champagne at the Corus Hyde Park

Some time around last week we turned 7 (OK fine, I don't know the exact date, but that's besides the point really). Yes! 7 years since we met each other in a small cafe in Chennai. Me, never wanting to get married, He, enthusiastic about getting married. Poles apart on a lot of things, but on the same page for a few other. Yet! we somehow have managed to make it this far. Its been a rough 7 years with me Ro would say, but I would shrug and say that's marriage. I think Ro's good husband material :)

After so long, we don't even bother wishing each other remembering 'petty' occasions like this. Although, the die hard romantic in me, sometimes do wish it wasn't so. I had been wanting to do an Afternoon Tea session for a long time and when an opportunity came up, I grabbed it thinking we will have a nice afternoon out together. But Ro of course had better things to do than spend an afternoon having 'tea' with me, and so had to change plans. Determined to not dampen my spirits, I grabbed a good ol' girlfriend of mine and headed out into Central London for a fun afternoon out. And boy, am I glad I did, because believe it or not, a day out with a girl friend can sometimes prove to be so much more therapeutic than a romantic afternoon out with the husband :)
Afternoon Tea is such a big deal here its not funny. Some hotels like The Ritz and Inter Continental are soooo known for their Afternoon Tea deals, you have to book a table waaay in advance. Although that was the kind of afternoon tea I had in mind, this deal was good enough for me, and its Groupon that I have to thank for this fabulous offer. From hair cuts to restaurant deals to cooking classes to mini breaks I have done it all. In the initial days after signing up, it used to be a struggle to not pick up the amazing voucher deals.  Now I have a grip on myself and although I scout the website frequently, its only when I absolutely need something do I pick it up. The Afternoon Tea with Champagne for two was too good a deal to pass and I am glad I picked it, because it was so worth it.
Corus Hyde Park is located bang opposite the park (as the name suggests) and is a 3 min walk from Lancaster Gate tube station. We headed straight to Olio's Brasserie, just off the reception area, and waited a good 5 minutes for someone to come greet us (not a good start, if you ask me). So I asked at the reception and was politely told someone would be with me soon. No luck again but then I spotted a stewardess at the counter and she guided us to our table. When we were kept waiting, I thought we would be placed somewhere near the stairs or something, but was pleasantly surprised to be seated right next to the huge windows, with good views of the autumn colours of Hyde park (not to mention enough lighting for my pictures, although it was such a gloomy and rainy afternoon, they haven't turned out that great).
photography post1
We were dutifully given our menu's and asked to pick the tea of choice. There were quite a few interesting options- from the traditional blends like Winchester Breakfast, Darjeeling and Earl Grey to the more contemporary ones like Rooibos orange and eucalyptus, Milk oolong and if that's not fancy enough for you, then try the Lavender hibiscus, a Blooming Tea, which literally does the same in your tea cup. We were not too adventurous with this and so settled for the Winchester breakfast and Classic Chai. Both were brought to the table promptly and we enjoyed the steaming cups of tea while it was pouring cats and gods outside. Oh and we also had to figure out how to handle the two flutes of Baron de Marc Gobillard, Brut Champagne in between sips of tea. Needless to say, the Champagne was happily welcomed, and the tea left to go cold in the tea pots.
Then came the exciting bit, the array of tarts, cakes, scones and sandwiches. Arranged in traditional 3-tiered plates, they were a pretty sight. Taste-wise, however, we were a tad bit disappointed. The cupcakes were too dry and the brownie (I think it was a brownie) was anything but moist. The carrot cake was good, but it was not with cream cheese, but more like butter cream. The tartlets were teeny tiny pastry cups filled with something like butter cream with a blackberry perched on one and a raspberry on another. I don't think they can technically be called fruit tarts, but they were pretty cute and we liked it. That said, the scones were to die for and we smothered ours with clotted cream and jam and had a blast getting some extra calories into our bodies. The sandwiches were also pretty good, with the cucumber and cream cheese being my favourite and the ham and cheese a close second. The macarons also did their job of being all good looking with the perfect feet and stuff and the flavours- orange and coffee- were not disappointing either. 
Our tea session stretched on for about 2 hours, because you just cannot stuff everything into your mouth at one go (and also because we weren't shooed out of the restaurant) and its something you really need to enjoy at a slow pace. So the next time you are in London, or anywhere in UK, make sure you treat yourself to a good English Afternoon Tea session. Also, don't forget to check out Groupon for some good deals in your area and trust me, its a decision you wont regret.

Thanks to Groupon for a gift voucher with which I picked up this deal.


Happy Cook / Finla said...

Congragulations on your anniversary, what would we say then after all these years, but we do celebrate every years just us and sometimes i asl in laws over.
Oh well RO don'tknow what he missed i would have gladly joined you for this expirence.

ANU said...

awesome treats and clicks...
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Priya said...

Congrats dear, sure will treat myself to a good afternoon tea session during my next trip to London, awesome experience though.

Gauri said...

Seven years wow!! Congratulations !
Lovely way to celebrate with those lovely treats!

Isingcakes said...

Congratulations my dear for the 7 years and many more to come:) English Tea Experiance eh? Must ..Groupon where are you?

SRG said...

Congratulations! Here's to many more. I am sure your husband will feel a twinge of regret when he sees those fantastic photos you've clicked.


divya said...

congrats...awesome clicks..

DivyaGCP said...

Congrats, Nisha!! Lovely clicks..

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Anonymous said...

Good one nisha :) Happy Anniversary to you both :)

Sarah said...

Congratulations on 7 years! Love ur attitude! Wish I could be like that!!!! Ur pics are a treat in itself!

Ceee... said...

Congratulations on 7 years! those treats looks amazing - esp the cupcakes and brownie - Ur husband must have been jealous seeing the pictures!

Prathima Rao said...

Congrats on your anniversary!!! the pics are too much Nisa - gorgeous & I just cant stop myself from salivating here!!! :)

Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Lubna Karim said...

Congrats on your anniversary....Wishing you both a happy time together....Hope you had wonderful experience enjoying all the extremely yummy looking food....