A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
An ideal stop on your Oxford St shopping trip, partake in a fashion-themed afternoon tea.
Apart from the beautiful St James’ Park and Hyde Park, a series of leafy squares are dotted around Central London. Just off the bustle of the wonders of the shopping precint that is Oxford Street, the Hyatt Regency The Churchill is an imposing straight-laced brick veneer establishment overlooking Portland Square.
Afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency The Churchill London is taken at the Montagu, an airy lounge furnished in a palette of muted greys and neutral beige on the lobby floor of the hotel. Any flicker of Churchillian solemnity is dispelled with the easy murmur of patrons, a mix of casually-dressed hotel and external guests, businessmen and shoppers on the retreat from Oxford Street (such as MoMo & Coco). An open pastry kitchen towards the back of the lounge permits guests to view each elaborate stage involved in the preparation of an afternoon tea.
The table setting of the afternoon tea was feminine. Trellis of snow white lillies garlanded the edges of white porcelain plates, tea cups and even the teapot. Attention to detail was also paid to the cutlery, engraved as it was with the cursive Sheffield signature. The tea menu chronicled a mostly traditional array of black, green teas and herbal infusions, as well as two types of “flowering” teas that bloom when infused in hot water. It did not feature the more exotic or rare forms found at for example, the Langham London. Exhibiting a polish often lacking in afternoon teas taken in Australia, service was accomplished, although perhaps a little sparse.
The Hyatt Regency The Churchill serves both a traditional afternoon tea (£28) and a quirky Manhattan-inspired take of it, a themed “Sex and the City Par-Tea” (£36). Selecting the latter, it came served on a small three-tiered stand that did not obscure the view of one’s dining compansions. It also came with a “Flirtini” Cocktail (of pineapple juice stirred through a delicious concoction of champagne and vodka) for a rousing afternoon tipple. For tea, MoMo & Coco selected the “Sapphire Earl Grey” described as “Charlotte’s tea of choice.” :P
The lower tier was graced by three items of cold savouries of traditional unadulterated flavours — the coronation cucumber and mayonnaise in a multigrain ribbon sandwich; a sliver of salty pastrami on dry dark rye bread; and half a bagel per person filled with smoked salmon and a smear of cream cheese.
The second tier featured two further savoury items served warm. A rendition of an iconic New York hot dog saw piquant mustard weaved across a rather tasty gourmet sausage, one that was more robust in flavour than the somewhat limp $2 hot dog that a tourist flocks to sample in the vicinity of New York’s Central Park in the quest to tick off that “must-do” item. The other article was an equally memorable mini burger, cooked to succulent juiciness and yielding a desirable grilled smoky flavour. It was a towering miniature, MoMo & Coco struggled to fit it in our mouths. A lip-smacking, stomach-patting sensation, the savoury components arguably eclipsed the sweet irresistibles to follow.
The last tier of the afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency The Churchill translated the icons of the Sex and the City television and cinematic dramas into the food itself. Here we have a cluster of four irresistibles, each representing the four main characters in the Sex and the City series.
In dedication to the sweet cute character of Charlotte, there was a bashfully-flavoured, vanilla-based cupcake topped with sweet strawberry buttercream frosting, blanketing freeze-dried strawberry pieces.
To symbolise the sassy Samantha, the chefs filled a small martini glass with a vivid “appletini jelly,” that manifested strong apple accents but no perceptible alcohol notes. To borrow from the raunchy talk of this character, it somewhat lubricated the palate for further sweetness. :P
A slightly dry doughnut iced with a hard cloak of white chocolate was straight-talking, and arguably as slightly dull as the Miranda character.
The piece-de-resistance of the third tier of sweet irresistibles was the chocolate stiletto shaped out of white and strawberry chocolate, the latter in three shades of vibrant pink. With even a pink-red sole reminiscent of a pair of Christian Louboutins, this chocolate stiletto was sculpted in dedication to none other than the shoe-loving Carrie, whose shoe wardrobe is the envy of all, including the equally obssessive compulsive shoe lovers writing this journal-blog.
With the compliments of the pastry kitchen, MoMo & Coco also partook in the opportunity to cleanse the palate with an appropriately zesty lemon meringue pie.
Overall, the “Sex and the City Par-Tea” at the Hyatt Regency The Churchill brings a compelling and an uplifting touch of cosmopolitan New York to the classically English afternoon tea tradition. By contrast to many afternoon teas that we have sampled, here both savoury and sweet components are in dialogue with each other. A celebratory narrative of individualism and feminism, afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency The Churchill represents a simply perfect stop-over retreat into an oasis of calm before embarking on further fast and the furious shopping just around the corner. After all, what girl in her right mind would say no to an indulgent day of shopping, afternoon tea and more shopping? :)
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: The Montagu, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, 30 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BH, UK.
- Budget: $$$$ (£ 36pp + 15% service charge).
- Sweet irresistibles: High Tea.
- Must-eat: Available daily.
- The short and sweet story: An ideal stop on your Oxford St shopping to partake in a fashion-themed afternoon tea.