I get asked by many people where my favourite afternoon tea venues are and one of my ultimate locations is actually in London.
The Halkin is a very elegant hotel, just set back from Belgravia Square and they have always been one of my most favourite locations for a peaceful and classy high tea menu in London. The restaurant here holds one Michelin Star and is home to some talented chefs, including Elena Arzak, voted Veuve Cliquot World’s Best Female Chef, it’s somewhere to go for some relaxation and simple fine dining.
This is a hotel of understated luxury, for people who’ve made it in life – the rooms and suites (five suites within the hotel, one on each floor) here are something very special with a real homely feel to them. When looking out of a suite window, it felt as if I were peering out of an apartment overlooking the neighbourhood below, it’s a peaceful haven from the bustling streets below.
If it’s good enough for the likes of Meryl Streep when she visits our Capital, it’s good enough for Miss Sue Flay.
They once served the “Japanese Rituals” afternoon tea in collaboration with William Curley, a highly talented and passionate chocolatier and Pâtissière – those stunning cakes are always in my cakey dreams.
However, lately, The Halkin have taken a slightly different approach and now play host to Spanish tapas style food, even when it comes to their afternoon tea thanks to their new menus within the Halkin Bar.
Thanks to good old Twitter, we managed to connect a few weeks back following a conversation I’d started about the new trend in “Gentleman’s Teas” and Chris Orlikowski, PR & Marketing Manager for the Como Hotel group made me an offer I simply couldn’t refuse…
… Chris advised me of something very exciting and new to The Halkin, inviting me to join not only himself, but their General Manager Andrew Thomson to play a game of Backgammon over a cup of tea or two.
This wasn’t just any backgammon set, it has been curated as a bespoke set for The Halkin by COMO by luxury retailer William & Son in London’s Mayfair.
Andrew is a master at this game, having played with his family for many years whilst traveling the world, making him the perfect mentor to learn the art myself on a grey, but warm Tuesday afternoon.
I was a little scared to play to start, I always find board games so confusing, having not played too many as a child myself. If we did play games as kids, my sister and I would argue to high heaven, most likely with the game getting thrown around or somebody stomping off in the opposite direction, so we never played them really as a result.
Admittedly, as we tucked into some tapas style nibbles and a pot of tea between courses (I adore that this hotel serves cold milk in chilled milk jugs, a beautiful touch) Andrew patiently coached me through the game in hand.
We took our time, Andrew showing myself and Chris how to play the best moves with the rolls of my dice and to my complete surprise, I actually enjoyed a clear win – although I’m still unsure if perhaps that’s slightly cheating when you’re being told which moves are the best by a master player.
But still, a win is a win, hurrah.
I truly adore this hotel, highly rate their food, especially if you’re looking for a slightly unusual twist on a traditional afternoon tea. I sampled their take on fish & chips, but with the most colourful gel potato “crisps” I’ve ever seen, they were so unusual – such a work of art, I almost didn’t want to demolish them… almost.
It was all delicious and truly unusual for an afternoon tea (the fish & chips from the Tapas menu) – this is one for you to try.
Their latest afternoon tea menu can be found here.
I believe that The Halkin will be offering a 25% discount on their afternoon tea bookings throughout National Afternoon Tea Week from 10th August 2015, so book yourself a table and get your hands on this stunning purple leather Backgammon set to while away your afternoon.
In fact, I’m off to buy my own set, I just wish I could afford to replicate this beautiful board myself – this hotel had toyed with offering a bespoke Monopoly board game to add to their bar, so if they do, I’m hoping I’ll be the first to give it a whirl!
Have you played Backgammon before? Did you find it easy or hard to get to grips with?
Do you play board games with your own afternoon tea?
I’d love to hear from you in a comment below!
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Please note – This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review.
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