Afternoon tea at a posh London hotel was something I thought was over until tiny man turns about .. hmm 12 and is happy to sip tea and people-watch without small rice-cake bribes. But then I was invited to visit the Landmark London, to tea in its gorgeous palm-tree speckled winter garden, and the waiters and staff were so happy to see tiny man, he was so good, and the overall experience so enjoyable, that I can't wait to book another.
Still, the difference between pre-baby afternoon tea and post was pretty big... Unlike the leisurely afternoons of old, hands wrapped around steaming-hot teacups, maybe a newspaper or two, and a few hours, this time I pushed the hot drinks to the other side of the table, had to barter one rice cake for every macaron I could pop into my mouth without being besieged by a smart baby who *knows* my cake is nicer, and couldn't linger too long as baby dinner time approached.
But bringing a few toys and baby-friendly bites was undoubtedly worth it. Tiny man loved sitting in his high chair (he's too small for most restaurant ones but the waiter beamingly bought over some cushions and arranged them as if for the king on his throne!) and gazing around the sparkling room, with tinkling piano music and smiling fellow-diners. I worried some would hate the sight of a baby ruining their special occasion, but instead everyone beamed at tiny man as they walked past, and a kind tea-drinker at the next-door table even picked up the toys he tipped off the high-chair tray with far more patience than I do.
Plus, there was no repeat of Claridges-gate here: tiny man got thirsty for milk twice during the tea, and no one batted an eye at breast-feeding at the table.
When we first sat down, with read the menu of about a zillion different tea types (the tea menu alone stretched two pages). I opted for the spicy Winter Garden Blend, whilst my mum who I invited along went for the Angel Peach green tea with sunflower blossoms. Just your average Tuesday afternoon sip, right?
And the food? Well... My stomach rumbles just writing about it. A plate of delicious sandwiches - chicken and tarragon, organic egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, and of course cucumber ones - which was topped up as often as you wanted. Scones and jam - you can pick the jam, including exotic treats like elderflower, but the strawberry with its big juicy fresh berries was so good I kept dipping into that one - and cakes. Oh, the cakes. The picture above doesn't really justify how good they looked - chewy, crunchy macaron, apple cider jelly bites, chocolate bombes...
And when over-indulgence meant we couldn't finish everything, the waiters swiftly boxed extras up in a take-home carton. I intended to share mine with Mr Run Out of Womb. But good intentions don't always play out...
If you're looking for a London hotel for afternoon tea where you can happily take along the baby without feeling awkward or having to lose the luxury, the Landmark is a brilliant choice.
Afternoon tea at The Landmark London is £45/head. We were invited to the hotel for a review, but rest assured we only rave about what we love. And we loved this cake.