Eight TALFers - Adam, Em Parr, Ebabe + guest, OfftoLondon, Travelbug61, and Gabby Gambler - met at Dukes Hotel today for a terrific TALF tea. Tea is held in the hotel's drawing room, and is exactly as one envisages afternoon tea should be: in a comfortable, intimate room that is also cosy. We sat across from each other on two sofas, but could chat easily. We felt as if we were in a lovely English home.
Tea and service were excellent. Individual tea (and coffee) orders were taken, and fresh pots brought without extra charge. We were given sandwiches (salmon, chicken, egg, and cucumber - and an extra half round was brought to us on request without extra charge), fruit scones, buttered crumpets, and a large selection of delicious pastries - there must have been at least half a dozen options. I was enjoying myself too much to write them down, but I had a kiwi tart, and I know Em and Ebabe had egg custard tarts.
As I knew that Ebabe has a birthday very, very soon, I had asked in advance if Dukes would give her a special dessert - perhaps a slice of something with 'happy birthday' written on the plate. When I arrived, they asked me how many candles I wanted on the cake. I was puzzled - how many candles does one need on a slice? They then told me that they had a small cake, so I said, 'Oh, 6 or 8.' I've no idea of Ebabe's age, so I just went with what I thought would look jazzy. Well...little did we know...Dukes had organised a full-size birthday cake! It was not only beautifully decorated, but delicious (banana, cream and strawberry). They then packed up what was left for Ebabe to take home - AND there was no extra charge for the cake!!!
As I said, the service was excellent and friendly throughout. As it's an intimate setting, you are well looked after. Our afternoon tea was £16 plus service, and those of us who indulged in the champagne tea (ahem) paid £22 + service. We all agreed that the value was superb (even without the bonus of the birthday cake), and that the food was delicious. Tea at Dukes is truly a lovely experience.
Kayb, I know you've been wanting to go there - be sure you try it when you're next in London. I know many of us would be happy to return. :-)