Devil’s Charm

The Triple C: Vietnamese-inspired coffee coconut cocktail

The Triple C: Vietnamese-inspired coffee coconut cocktail

 

Vietnam, a country with 1,000 years of Chinese rule and, more recently, over 100 years of French influence, is not shy of new inventions when it comes to food and drink. While the Chinese introduced the concept of food and drink as medicine, the French contributed coffee in 1857. Vietnamese also make the most of their rice, fresh herbs, and ripe tropical fruits, leaving nothing to waste.

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Diptyque-inspired afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal

Diptyque-inspired afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal

 

On a cold November night, when we entered the hallway of Hotel Café Royal, it was not only the warmth that greeted us as we came in, but the pleasant, enrapturing scent of Paris perfumer Diptyque candles. I can’t recall whether it was the smell of Feu de Bois (Wood Fire), Noisetier (Hazel Tree), Verveine (Lemon Verbena), or one of their dozens of other aromas, but whatever delicious combination chosen, it certainly set the mood for the afternoon tea that was to come.

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Posttea Advent Calendar

Posttea Advent Calendar

 

Last year I did something crazy and ordered an advent calendar for myself. And it wasn’t just an ordinary chocolate one, but one that I could enjoy in a cup every day. An avid tea drinker as I am, always keen to try new varieties and blends, the Posttea Christmas calendar was a daily package of joy. (more…)

‘Napolitea’ – an Italian version of a classic British afternoon tea

‘Napolitea’ – an Italian version of a classic British afternoon tea

 

As you may have already read about in previous posts, I’m a bit of a stickler for innovative afternoon teas with a playful twist, be this a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-factory themed adventure, a retro-style afternoon tea indulgence, or a Spanish-tapas-infused tea time extravaganza. Much like the latter, the afternoon tea with an Italian twist offered at Il Pampero takes the virtues of another cuisine’s bite-sized foods and seamlessly integrates it into a British tradition. Fusion, if done right, can yield the best results. After all, traditions are nothing other than the best fusions celebrated and eternalized.

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Aqua Shard for a London-view afternoon tea

Aqua Shard for a London-view afternoon tea

 

When my friend, who was in town for a week, asked me if I wanted to try out the Aqua Shard afternoon tea, of course I was in. The Shard, a now iconic 95-storey London skyscraper shaped like a shard of broken glass (hence the name), boasts no less than five different afternoon teas in four separate establishments.

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Not Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower – cocktails, a view, and (almost) no tea

Not Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower – cocktails, a view, and (almost) no tea

 

Intrigued by the name of this afternoon tea, or rather “Not Afternoon Tea” as it is called, I decided to take my partner with me, mark the occasion as a romantic date, and see what it was all about. Cocktails and a view seemed like pretty good date material as well. But it could just as easily have been a girls’ night out too.
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Quality Newby tea at The Montagu, Hyatt Regency London

Quality Newby tea at The Montagu, Hyatt Regency London

 

When my friend and I decided to meet for afternoon tea in London, she told me it would be her first proper British one in the UK, so I decided to go for a classic one. I’d never been to The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency before, but the menu and presentation looked promising. We were seated at the window in what was a large, open space with high ceilings, a bar to one end of the room, an open kitchen to the other. Divided by only a few pillars, the more lounge-like area next to the restaurant/afternoon tea space was alive with people chatting away. In our more quiet space, the atmosphere was relaxed, free from any disturbances.

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Afternoon tea surrounded by the gardens of Kensington Palace, the Orangery Restaurant

Afternoon tea surrounded by the gardens of Kensington Palace, the Orangery Restaurant

 

If you’d like to enjoy a cup of tea in a typical formal English setting, in a conservatory-like building with high glass doors, surrounded by beautiful gardens at that, then the Orangery Restaurant at Kensington Palace is the place to go to. (more…)

A whimsical Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory tea experience at One Aldwych

A whimsical Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory tea experience at One Aldwych

 

If you love Roald Dahl, Tim Burton or, in other words, something whimsical, then One Aldwych is the place to visit. The afternoon tea itself is a hybrid between its classic concept and its quirky execution, much like the space in which you take it is a hybrid between a formal hotel lounge and a relaxed place to enjoy a Willy Wonka bonkers afternoon tea. But the best thing about it is that it’s not all show, meaning substance (taste) isn’t sacrificed for appearance. (more…)

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