Lanesborough Hotel- Afternoon Tea

Located on Hyde Park Corner Station, Knightsbridge, London, Lanesborough Hotel is an exquisite hotel with several awards, some of which are listed here:

We decided to have high tea because the boys-Dada, Papa, and Karsen, were watching a cricket game-(I have no idea which one since I am an anti-sports-likes -books-and-reads-too-much-person). Ask Karsen. We really wanted to take Dadi to Brown’s because she hasn’t been. But, alas, Brown’s (being so extremely popular) was booked. That’s when we found Lanesborough. We had low expectations. But we were ecstastic, and amazed at the service of this place. In fact, we ended the afternoon with a new favorite tea place!  That’s right – read on and you’ll see why we like Lanesborough even more than Brown’s!

When we walked into the hotel, one of the first things we noticed is a flower display. This is of significance because, though the flowers were abundant and very pretty, they were also a tribute to Wimbledon. Wimbledon is a very famous tennis match, or so they say(Karsen would know more-he is an all sports fanatic). The tennis balls were placed inside the flower pot and tennis raquets around it. My hypothesis is that this helped the roots of the flowers spread out so as to get more water. Here is a picture of the flower bouquet:

In my opinion, this should count for something because they are keeping the hotel updated. The only reason it should not count is if resources were spent on decor at the expense of the food and service. Fortunately for us, that was not the case at all – we had the BEST tea experience. Oops. I just gave something away!! Curses.

They have a separate afternoon tea room that is very pretty and even has a sky roof. Here is a pictures of the ambiance-including the sky roof that is.

When we arrived, they immediately handed us a menu and said, while looking at Dadi, “I understand you are vegetarian.  Do you have any special requirements?  Do you eat eggs?”  We were immediately impressed because when mommy made an online reservation, she wrote “Please note – we have one vegetarian” but did not expect that the servers were so well-prepared for each individual guest!  They were indeed very attentive. Here is a link to the menu:

Our waiter happily told us about all the tea choices. Almost or as much as Brown’s, if I dare say so myself. Dadi had the silver needle-the same thing Kaushik Pufaji had at Brown’s. And mommy had the Rose of the Orient – our server’s favorite tea.

As you know from the Brown’s review, I usually have hot chocolate since I am not a fan of tea, often equating it to dirty water.  Nonetheless, our tea server offered me hot chocolate and a “tea tasting.”  I readily agreed.  After all, this is a no-lose proposition.  I was allowed to have hot chocolate throughout the tea and was going to be served the rooibos (a red tea) during the savories and an herbal fruit tea during the sweets. As I mentioned earlier, the staff were very attentive. Every time our cup was empty or almost empty, they refilled it. So what did I think of the tea?  Well, looks good, smells good, but tastes bad. Dirty trick.  And as the British say “the proof is in the pudding”, the only cup that was constantly replenished was my hot chocolate.  In other words, I discovered that it’s just “not my cup of tea”, (haha – pun intended!). I might give it another chance when I am more grown up – after all, mommy and dadi seem to enjoy their tea!

We all ordered the same tea menu, which was sandwiches (vegetarian for Dadi), quiche, scones (plain and cinnamon), and an assortment of desserts and cakes.

The first thing that arrived(very quickly), was the amuse bouche!  That’s right – unlike Brown’s, we get an amuse bouche! The amuse bouche was a passionfruit lampshade with jelly and crumble with a raspberry on top. Makes my mouth water!

The amuse bouche whetted our appetites for what came next – the three-tiered cake tray and the most delicious quiches ever! It was carmelized onion, bite sized, and in other words, perfect. It was so good we asked for seconds.

Then, Dadi’s vegetarian sandwiches came – separately. She loved them. We didn’t try any, but we think that Brown’s is more traditional (excluding the Chicken Coronation Sandwich), and Lanesborough is more unique. Here is a picture of Dadi’s vegetarian sandwiches:

We took a couple of picture of my with my pinky up(that was especially for you Mr.Don) pictures of Dadi and myself, and pictures of the waiter. Well, Here they are:

P.S. The server’s name was Steven.

Now – onto the real food began to come. Our three-tiered cake tray.  Here are two picture of the three tiers.

Now what do you notice about these three tiers?  No scones!  Where are the scones?  Well, it turns out because scones are not eaten until after the sandwiches, the servers bring the scones about 15-20 minutes afterwards – just to ensure that the scones are nice and piping hot!

As usual, Mommy made me eat the sandwiches before the dessert and scones. The sandwiches were delicious, and I asked for seconds specifically for the salmon sandwich.  It is important to note that the sandwiches were on different kinds of bread – this is “unique” to Lanesborough!  At Brown’s, all of the tea sandwiches were served on the same kind of bread.  Before arriving at Lanesborough’s, I did a bit of research and one of the criticisms of this place is that the bread was a bit stale and old.  I’m here to tell you that we had absolutely FRESH bread – so the criticism is simply not true!

Then, we had the plain and cinnamon scones. I decided that the plain scones are much better than the cinnamon/raisin scones. Mommy agrees. The scones came with clotted cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd. As you said Pei Pei Ah-yi, the best combination was everything put together.  The lemon curd is so delicious – I could just spoon some in my mouth!!! Here is a picture of the scones – as Steven promised, they arrived about 15 minutes later:

Then we had the cakes. They gave us white chocolate, dark chocolate, and red velvet, all of which were excellent.  Dadi was so full that she didn’t eat much dessert, so mommy and I got to eat them all. Crazy and lucky for us, huh?

I also took a picture of the pianist. Mommy and I both play the piano, so we were in awe that he just memorized every song in the book!! He plays different songs every day and never makes a mistake! He didn’t even have any sheet music!

In all, I would say that Lanesborough’s afternoon tea has de-throned Brown’s as my favorite tea place.  I like their special touches – like remembering that Dadi is vegetarian, making sure that the scones stay warm, and allowing me the tea tasting AND hot chocolate.  I also love being greeted with piano music and an amuse bouche.  Finally, the delicious quiches (better than any savory at Brown’s).

Tea is an occasion to feel as royal as the Queen of England.  And I felt absolutely spoiled with the service and the delectables!  American Author, Alice Walker, once said “Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors” and the author of all of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, A.A. Milne stated “A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards.”   I agree with both of them and Lanesborough’s tea is most definitely proper and one that I will remember for  a long time – even when the tea is hot chocolate!!!

Not surprisingly, we rate Lanesborough’s afternoon tea

(drum roll please)

5 smiley faces

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like you to know that my afternoon tea was complimentary.  Still, I want you to know that my review was written with complete honesty and integrity.  This is the best afternoon tea I have ever had.  And even though I am only ten years-old (almost eleven), I have been to many afternoon teas!

p.s.  we have subsequently downgraded brown’s hotel tea to 4 1/2 smiley faces – 

Ze Kitchen Galerie

Located on 4, rue des Grands-Augustins , Ze Kitchen Galerie is an Asian-European, one michelin star restaurant with an excellent reputation. We’re here to see if they deserve it. Chef William Ledeuil has a habit of creating new and different dishes using Asian ingredients with a European cooking style. He manages to pay attention to every detail and has excellent assistant chefs to help him out.

The menu was one of the best- partly because they gifted it to us (we have a soft spot for those kinds of things). We happily accepted the menu, and besides, that way we were able to take notes directly on the menu.  Here are some pictures of the menu:

Then they gave us olives and bread(which we later used to sop up all of the sauce). Here is a picture of Karsen eating olives and a picture of the fresh bread:

P.S- He says that green olives are better than brown olives.

Mommy didn’t much like the main courses and dessert so she asked the chef to make three of the starters (she found all the starters interesting).  They very graciously accommodated her request and said that her three starters would be the same price as a three course meal (a starter, a main course, and a dessert). The first dish she ordered was the Oyster-Razor Clam-Octopus-Horseradish-and Wasabi Condiment. Mommy says that the oyster was cold and very refreshing, and the horseradish and wasabi condiment tasted excellent with it. Here is a picture of it:

Karsen had the Gnocchi Sardi with Parmesan and lemon. It was so good that we all fought to sop up the delicious green sauce.  Heavy, but well worth it. The green sauce was delicious. After he finished, we had bread with it. Here is a picture of the Gnocchi:

And lastly, Anya had the tuna from St Jean Luz, with a papaya and beetroot sauce. The tuna was wonderfully done, with the papaya and some vegetables placed on top of it with the beetroot condiment poured over the top. In essence, it looked quite like gumdrops with sweet lemon zest on top.  This may have been the BEST of our first courses. Here is a picture of the tuna:

P.S. Doesn’t the tuna look like a bunch of gumdrops with cherry sauce and lemon rind on top???

Mommy’s second starter was the Green Pea-Lemongrass Broth, stuffed crab and Thai Basil. I told her to dip it in bread and eat it that way. She took the hint. 😉 . Here is a picture of the soup.

The stuffed crab was absolutely delicious. If only they had added one more crab fritter – then we could each have one ;).  Mommy said that the crab reminded her of the crab fritters at Bacchanalia, one of her favorite restaurants in Atlanta.

Karsen had the “Fish of the day” with citrus sauce as his main course. It was perfectly prepared and the citrus enhanced the flavor of the fish.

Anya had “Le Marche which means “The market” and is very similar to Karsen’s except it has different vegetables and different kind of sauces. While Anya had the lemon sauce, Karsen had the orange sauce. They were both very good – and we polished everything off!  But we both thought that our starters were better. We think Mommy had the right idea – order three starters!

And then, mommy’s third starter arrived – the spaghetti and lobster with Thai Pistou (Pistou is a cold sauce made with garlic cloves, fresh basil, and olive oil used with a mortar and pestle). And, we have to admit it was well-worth the 8 Euro supplement! We kept stealing bites of her spaghetti until she got mad. Here is a picture of the spaghetti and lobster.  This was the MOST delicious of all of the dishes we tried!  The sauce was so good – we had to ask the chef about it!  As he described the dish, we realized that the lobster-pasta was a perfect blend of French and Thai cooking.  Really amazing!!

Then…………….(drum roll please)………………………..the second most important meal of the day………dessert (although we think dessert beats breakfast and could perhaps be had every meal of the day including: Breakfast, elevenses, brunch, lunch, tea, supper, dinner, and dessert. But after all we are kids.  What do you expect?)

Karsen had the Wild strawberry-strawberry-coconut-litchi(weird name, huh? And lots of fruits), for dessert. He said his was the best, so we’re taking his word for it(It’s the best way to get him to be quiet.)

Told you. He loved it.

Anya had the chocolate tainori which was basically a bunch of melted chocolate with a fruit sauce and a meringue. It was an excellent combo.

Mommy had coffee (yuck). They must’ve felt sorry for mommy so they brought her a miniature dessert – their white chocolate dessert  (We should give them an extra smiley face for that, huh?).  Here is a picture of Mommy’s delicious white chocolate dessert and her yucky coffee (most kids hate coffee you know- just ask our cousin Mina).  This trio of desserts represented the best of their sweets.  Thank you so much for the extra white chocolate sampling!

After Mommy finished her coffee which Anya thinks smells wonderful(Karsen says-WEIRD!), they gave us some treats that we could eat on the train back to London.

We took a picture of the waiter with Anya too. Mommy says all of the staff at Ze Kitchen Gallerie were very attentive and knowledgeable.  And as a bonus, she says that they are all very handsome!

Then we got to meet the chef. He told us that he first went to Thailand and loved the food there.  He loved it so much that he was inspired to create a fusion restaurant-now known as Ze kitchen gallerie. French style cooking with Asian ingredients – what a wonderful idea! Before he explored Asia though, he worked with Guy Savoy, another very famous chef. Here is a picture of us with the incomparable Chef William Ledeuil:

While we were waiting for a taxi to come and pick us up from the restaurant, we took a picture. Well, we couldn’t resist. We just love pictures. Here it is:

Overall, we were incredibly pleased with our experience at Ze Kitchen Galerie.  The food was absolutely delicious and we appreciated the creativity.  The blend of asian spices with French cooking is a definite success!  And as expected from a Michelin star restaurant, the service was impeccable.  We especially enjoyed meeting with the chef – he was friendly and even had time to chat with kids!

This was our last meal in Paris before returning to London – and it was well worth it.  We can’t wait to get back and would highly recommend it!  In fact, mommy learned about ZKG because it was on a list of most affordable michelin-star restaurants (that’s terrific VFM, or value for money, in Sujata Bhuya parlance).  In fact, the food was as affordable as most nice places in Paris – but with the food and service that one comes to expect from a michelin-starred establishment!  Merci Beaucoup for a delicious meal!  Your excellent reputation is well-deserved!

We rate Ze kitchen gallerie

5 smiley faces

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Gelupo Ice Cream, London, England – Revisited

Gelupo. Chicken Coronation Ice Cream (CCIC). What were they thinking? As promised, we are doing a post on the non-CCIC ice cream flavors, or in other words, the non-disgusting flavors.  (We must admit that it takes a daring and creative chef to make such a flavor!)

Located on 7 Archer Street, Gelupo is known as the best ice cream in London. Their ice cream flavors include: Almond, Caramel and Roasted Pecan, Casseta(ricotta, chocolate, pistachios, almonds and candy peel), Christmas Pudding Gelato(Almond Gelato with chunks of homemade christmas pudding), Coffee Cardamum, Coriander Stracciatelle(Chocolate-flecked), Fiorede latte(plain milk gelato), Frozen Yogurt, hazelnut  and Lemon Meringue, Marron Glace(sweetened chestnuts), Naugh Tea(lapsang tea whisky and shortbread), Pinenut and fennel seed, Pistachio, Espresso gelato(non-milk), Pumpkin and Cinammon,Ricotta and vanilla, Ricotta, Ricotta with coffee and honey, Ricotta with pear and cinnamon, Saffron and vanilla, Tirarmisu(Ricotta, Amaretto, Espresso, egg yolk, Pan di spagne, cocoa), Vietnamese espresso(spiced coffee, condensed milk, cinammon and star Anise), Walnut, Zabaglione Semie reddo(Zabaglione, Chocolate, Vougat, rum, Hazelnut, and Meringue).

They also have granitas which are like snow cones in a cup. The good thing about Gelupo’s granitas are that you can mix several flavors together. Their flavors of the month are Bergamot (a type of orange-we had to ask Papa for that little piece of information since he and Popo know everything about fruits), Blond almond, Blood Orange, Burnt Almond, Clementine, Cucumber, Espresso, Fragola Grape, Lemon, Mint, Pineapple, Rose, Sour cherry, Strawberry, and Watermelon(a much shorter list than the previous-and I just made it longer).

They also have chocolate ice creams which include: Almond Stracciatella(chocolate-flecked), Bacio Chazenut and Milk chocolate, Bitter chocolate sorbet(non-milk), Black forest Gateaux(chocolate, sour cherries and cream), Bonet(with rum, espresso, caramel, vanilla, and Amaretti), Dark chocolate gelato, Chocolatey ice cream, Gianduja(Dark chocolate and hazelnut), Mexican chocolate infused with chilli and cinnamon), Miny Stracciatella(fresh mint flecked with chocolate), Montebianco chocolate with chestnuts and rum and cream, Ricotta, chocolate and black pepper, Ricotta Stracciatella(chocolate flecked), and a Stracciatella ice cream(chocolate-flecked).

And, FINALLY, FINALLY, sorbets and fruit ices include(drrrrrum rrroll ppplllleeaase):Pate and Espresso, Fragola grape, Kumquat, Lemon and Sage, Lychee, Mandarin, Pear, Persimmon, Plum, Prosecco, Raspberry, Watermelon. Some flavors they have ALL THE TIME! Can you believe it! Wow! They are called standard flavors and include: Coffee ice cream, Fruits of the forest sorbet, Hazelnut Gelato, Lemon Sorbet, Chocolate ice cream, Salted Caramel Gelato, Stracciatella Gelato(chocolate-flecked), Strawberry Ice cream, and Vanilla ice cream. (da All of Gelupo’s ice creams are very thick and taste marshmallowy.

You can get two flavors in one cup so Anya got coconut and lemon, and Karsen coconut and hazelnut. I mean, we know our family is CRAZY about coconut, but who isn’t? Anyway, the coconut was absolutely to DIE for, the lemon was sweet and sour-just right, and the hazelnut (known as cobnut in England) paired excellently with the coconut and was one of the best hazelnut ice creams EVER.

Here are some pictures of the sophisti-kids enjoying their ice cream:

We loved Gelupo soo much that we went THREE times on the whole entire one month London trip. The second time mommy ordered a granita. It was a blood orange and clementine mix. Here is a picture of the granita – it looked like a beautiful sunset:

Karsen had the hazelnut, pistachio and coconut which they especially did for him because it was our last day in London. Here is a picture of the ice cream:

Since Anya decided that she absolutely ADORES the hazelnut gelato, she got coconut and hazelnut. Why didn’t I get three flavors you ask?? Because I didn’t know I could that’s why. Otherwise, I would have totally gotten three flavors. Here is a picture of the coconut and hazelnut ice cream:

Our grandparents, Dada and Dadi, both shared a pistachio. SInce they don’t eat very much, they shared their cup (We don’t know how they can stand it. CRAZY!!)  Here is a picture of their pistachio. There is also a picture of them enjoying their ice cream!

And a picture of Anya and Karsen enjoying their ice creams:

When not eating CCIC, we LOVE Gelupo!  We rate Gelupo ice cream (excluding CCIC)

5 smiley faces (out of a possible of 5)

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

(Very Surprisingly)

Keep checking our blog!

p.s.  Next time we are in London, we will visit Chef Jacob Kennedy’s Italian ristorante – just across the street from Gelupo.  If his antipasto and pasta are anything like his ice cream, we are in a for an amazing dining experience!!!

p.p.s.  This is a picture of our FAVORITE server!  She always remember us and is generous with the scoops!  Thanks, Jo!