Afternoon tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, London, review
You know I’m something of an afternoon tea fiend.
I’ve tried budget afternoon teas, fancy-shmansy teas, Moroccan and Mad Hatters afternoon tea to boot (you can read my afternoon tea summary here). My afternoon tea summary was featured in MyLondon too (ooh, get me).
It’s one of my favourite things to do with friends, particularly friends that I don’t often get to see. So when my uni mates and I decided to all meet together in London, it was obvious what we were going to do.
Also, if there’s an option of Indian afternoon tea, I’m gonna take it. Sorry for tea purists, but I’d choose a chicken roll over a cucumber sandwich any day.
So Jasmine afternoon tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate was just the ticket.
And I was also super-happy to learn that they can also cater for halal dietary requirements, which made all the difference. It meant I wasn’t left with a veggie alternative.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate – fit for a queen
Aptly located next to Buckingham Palace, Taj 51 is a deceptively regal hideaway. You wouldn’t guess from the main road, but entering into Taj 51, you find a walled garden, elaborately designed buildings and water fountains.
And inside the tea room the decadence continues. Fine china and old imperial decor. But that’s not what you want to know. So here’s the food…
Jasmine afternoon tea at Taj 51
I’m not going to beat around the bush… this was by far the tastiest afternoon tea I’ve had. And that is down to the savoury goodies.
We had paneer pastries, chicken tikka roti (my personal fave), curried egg rolls and some kind of pakora.
It was all delicious, and a nice departure from plain sandwiches. But being a bit Bengali, I did have one complaint, or suggestion.
They needed dips. Chutney, mint sauce, anything to add a little hydration to the platter. Some may argue that mint chutney has no place in afternoon tea. However I would say that taste trumps etiquette, and some sauce would have helped.
The sweets were delicious as you’d expect. Of course there was an Indian twist. There was rasmalli in an edible chocolate cup, Crème Brule and macaroons.
But the cornerstone of any afternoon tea – the scones – weren’t all that. Sad, as scones are my favourite part of any tea. Taj 51’s pink scones were peppered with tiny almond pieces and a little too dry for my liking.
While I’m on the negative, I wasn’t so enamoured with their masala tea either. I don’t often order masala tea, I find the cardamom to be a bit too strong for my liking. But I figured when in Rome and all that.
But instead of getting the heady spicy hit which I was expecting, it kind of went a little too far the other way, and was bland and watered down. You could barely taste the spice. You could barely taste any tea.
So if you like your masala chai you’d be disappointed. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I’m not a chai aficionado, so for my second round of tea I ordered good old trusty earl grey.
The service at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate
Now I know afternoon tea is meant to be a leisurely affair, but usually the pace slows after the food has arrived.
When you’re waiting for the good stuff and getting hungrier by the minute, leisurely is not so good.
Taj 51 took a little longer to bring our afternoon tea than I would have liked. Read: hungry and angry = hangry.
But despite its pitfalls, I would recommend afternoon tea at Taj51 Buckingham Gate, and I would go there again.
The savoury treats were delicious. For once I could actually eat the meat option as it was halal, and it was one of the prettiest tea rooms I’ve been in.
So if you’re not bothered for masala chai, but want your afternoon tea with a bit of spice, Taj51 Buckingham Gate is a winner.
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I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.