So many things to see in London, so many things to eat and drink (crumpets, fish and chips, and the seemingly national dish: curry). High tea is high on the list of ‘things to try’ for tourists and fresh expats alike. If there is anywhere fabulous I could think of to go for some high tea, then it is the Tea Room at Harrods.
Being one of those restaurants that do not believe in reservations, you want to carve out some time for standing in line before you get a table. If your party is large, try to be strategic about it and perhaps have tea at a time not so traditionally reserved for tea. Then again, most tourists do not adhere to British Tea Time, so expect it to be busy at any time.
When I went, we might have stood in line about 10-15 minutes, so it was really not the end of the world. The Tea Room menu is pretty elaborate and the prices are, especially for it being in Harrods, quite reasonable.
I only made the mistake of being too enthusiastic in my quest for the authentic British high tea experience, and ordered the plate of sweets (pictures above) to go with my pot of (herbal) tea (I don’t drink black tea, so that is where I thought I’d veer away from tradition). Problem is, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I was actually struggling to get through the plate and managed to eat only about 70% of it. I know, others would have no trouble with that. In retrospect I should have just ordered some crumpets. Because crumpets are a little bit like pancakes, and every Dutch girl loves pancakes.
The sweets were delicious, but without the mandatory sweet tooth I felt a bit overloaded after two of the mini cakes. The tea was lovely and served in a big pot. It is a lovely way to spend a few hours on a London afternoon, in some good company.
I think there are several other, better places for high tea in London, The Ritz is one that people seem to love to go to, and there’s quite a few others. I wouldn’t recommend Harrod’s for it, partly because I’m not fond of how they treat their customers sometimes.
Here’s the link to the Ritz one:
And here’s the actual menu. Note the abundance of teas, sandwiches and scones, while the sweet pastries are there, but left as an afterthought:
I may be wrong, but high tea usually features scones, crumpets, cucumber sandwiches, etc, and is not loaded with desserts. In the Indian subcontinent, it’s taken to a completely different level, with pakoras, samosas, poppadoms, and a few other things being served too. Very much an inheritance from the time of the British Raj.
Cool insights. I may need to have another high tea and write an update soon!
I look forward to it!