Afternoon Tea at Kensington Palace Orangery

This post has been on hold for a while! Which seems fair because the birthday treat for Steph was also pretty late.

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A full afternoon tea treat

It was a scorching hot summer day in London and we sought the cool interior of the orangery at Kensington Palace to hide from the glare. Now, i’m not very used to frequenting fancy eateries, and on first glance the orangery did look rather fancy. There were men in expensive looking suits and very well dressed yummy mummies enjoying afternoon treats. Our waiter, however, was new to the job and more than overjoyed at having us to serve. He made us feel very welcome, even though he forgot to bring us plates and we had to sneak over to the shelf and help ourselves when nobody was looking. Sometimes an honest nature and good attitude makes it easy to overlook a person’s mistakes – or perhaps it is just very British not to want to embarrass the waiter by pointing out that he didn’t wait on you very well!  IMG_0929

The afternoon tea itself was lovely. We loved the teacups, which reminded us that we were in a royal venue! They set the scene for a very British experience. Scones that Mary Berry would have been pleased with, except for those nasty sultanas snuck into two of them. The selection of cake was also very quintessential, lemon tarts and Victoria sponge. Looking back it was as if our afternoon tea was foreshadowing the Bake Off final! The cake was all very well done, the passion fruit tart was my favourite and I know Steph would say the chocolate was hers. I shall judge the experience on the Victoria Sponge, because it is classic and if a restaurant isn’t getting that right then they are going wrong. It was a decently moist cake but with a slightly odd jelly-ish filling rather than jam which didn’t really stick the two halves together. A very good try at modernising perhaps, but it could have done with a gooey-er filling.

Ratings:

Atmosphere: 6/7  – really lovely feeling and welcoming atmosphere.

Cake: 5/7 didn’t wow me.

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Dolly’s

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It’s half term! Yay!  A week off for me, and a change in my normal cake eating day. So it was a Monday, and rather than off to school it was off shopping on Oxford street.

I naively thought that this normally hellishly busy shopping location might be rather more quiet  on a Monday, but I forgot that I am not the only one on half term. So after a fairly successful sally forth into the jaws of death, aka a trip to Primark (£3 work skirt, I think so), I was much in need of some refreshment. Steph was my comrade in arms and together we headed for Dolly’s. This cafe in Selfridge’s was a nearby stop for some lunch.

The cafe area is quite small and is in the middle of the shop. We had to queue but it didn’t take long at all and we were entertained by the story of the cafe and its namesakes the identical twin Dolly sisters who were lovers of Mr Selfridge. The staff wear lovely old fashioned black and white outfits and the silver crockery made the whole affair feel rather upmarket, especially as we could see the Selfridge’s champagnes on offer behind us.

We decided to treat ourselves and ordered the deluxe afternoon tea for two. The first full afternoon tea to feature on the blog. The huge silver teapot added to the class and there were generous amounts of jam and clotted cream. There were a good selection of finger sandwiches and extra open sandwiches with humous and crab and lobster rolls. These were pleasant enough, even though i’m not the biggest fan of fish,  but perhaps not quite worth the extra money to go deluxe for. The scones were tasty but not out of this world. The pastries on top were the most stunning looking part and we saved them until last. They did taste good, but again they weren’t as imaginative tasting as they looked. Overall the perfect amount of food to refresh us for even more shopping, and lovely service! I would very much recommend as a good place to have a rest and a cup of tea.

Time was then spent looking around Selfridge’s for a spot of ‘if I won the lottery what would I buy’ before we went onwards to exhaustively explore all five floors of the big H&M and find more bargains.

Ratings:

Cakes:  Me 5/7  Steph 5/7  well done choux pastries and scones, could have been a bit more special.

Atmosphere: 5/7 very nice set up with the silver and fancy uniforms, but couldn’t quite get away from the fact that it was an open area in the middle of the shop floor. Good place to people watch, but with very real danger of being watched back.

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