Monday, June 6, 2011

A proper tea

With this being our first trip to London, we felt we had to see the sights, no matter how crowded and touristy they were. So we did - over two days we walked to see Borough market and Westminster Abbey, dropped by Buckingham Palace, checked out SoHo and Saville Row, hit Selfridges but not Harrods, Kensington Gardens, St Paul's Cathedral, walked over the Millennium Bridge and toured the Tate Museum before finally walking along the Thames on the South Bank to admire the Tower Bridge. 

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
St Paul's Cathedral
Westminster Abbey, without a wedding
London bridge is falling down - oh wait, no it's not... 
Quintessentially British icons

Not sure what's up with the name...

The one thing I really, really wanted to do while in London was to have tea. The only time I've been to tea was at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, which was very nice but I sensed it wasn't truly authentic. The most talked about tea house in London is the Ritz Carleton, but it is so formal that men need a jacket and tie to dine there, even for tea. Since the husband hadn't brought anything that formal, we opted for the next best - tea at the Orangery in Kensington Palace. Although we sat indoors and not on the outdoor terrace since my allergies were unbelievably bad (not good to be in large gardens when suffering from hayfever!), the setting was lovely. Given the location, I was surprised by the quality of the food, since this could have easily drifted into a gimmick. I also don't remember  finger sandwiches being this tasty. It was also my first time trying clotted cream with strawberry preserves on scones. Of course it was delicious - I much prefer the British scones with their biscuitty texture, and they're made even better when they're slathered with fat and topped with a bit of fruit jam. For dessert, the chocolate cake wasn't all that exciting but the passion fruit tart was bright and refreshing. All in all it was a surprisingly filling meal, and fortified us to continue on our walk to admire the beautiful gardens.

The Orangery at Kensington Palace
Yummy, yummy tea
Delightful scenery in Kensington Gardens


Anonymous said...

The tea, and the rest of your trip, look fabulous! You covered a lot of ground!

aileen @ pharmafoodie said...

Thanks! We tend to walk a lot when we go on vacation - that's how we justify the amount of food we eat!

Jennifer said...

Your trip sounds absolutely amazing-and I love that you had high tea in London! Those gardens look amazing!

Sarah said...

I lived in London before this and loved the Orangery and Kensington Palace. I remember that when I visited there I saw some coloured leaves (it was October) and I was homesick for Nova Scotia. Now I find that I am homesick for London while reading your post and seeing your lovely pictures. Scones with clotted cream and jam are one of the best afternoon snacks ever!

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