I’ve written before about my top Themed Afternoon Teas in London, but I think I have a new favourite topping the list, in the form of Dominique Ansel’s Afternoon Tea in London. The inventor of the Cronut™, The Cookie Shot and the DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) and Frozen S’mores (which I may have enjoyed on many occasions).
In 2016, Dominique opened his bakery in London, after opening them in New York and Tokyo and greeted with queues around the block of pastry fantatics trying to get their hands on one of the sugary creations. Every month each of the stores, now including LA, have an unique guest flavour Cronut™, which that job alone of coming up with all those flavours as well being incredibly inventive with all thing pastry and ice cream would keep Dominique and his team very busy.
The Afternoon Tea
The innovation doesn’t just stop at the bakery counter, but the afternoon tea menu is something to wowed over and studied, as the descriptions doesn’t reveal the utter beauty and exploration of flavours, textures and sights you are about to feast on. The principle of the afternoon is from planting a seed and following the growth from shoot to full bloom of a flower.
Time for Tea
Can we take a minute before the glorious food pictures, to admire the shear beauty of this leaf tea strainer. If someone could tell me how to get my hands on one, I would be very appreciative!
A Savoury Start
We start with the nontraditional version of the finger sandwich, and for that I’m very grateful not being a fan of the soggy egg mayonnaise, but this gorgeous warm savoury choux.
Seed – Wild Mushrooms, Confit Garlic, Pumpkin Seed and Squid Ink Choux. Bottom middle choux with a nestled seed planted below. Buttery garlicky mushroom duxelles nestles within the squid ink choux, gone far to quickly, but an excellent start to an excellent afternoon tea.
Shoot – Avocado and Feta Mousseline, Green Chilli, Coriander and Squid Ink Choux. Right middle above, with a delicate micro coriander shoot across the surface of of the smoothest refreshing and vibrant avocado with a gentle warmth from the chilli.
Young Leaf – Smoked Salmon, Yuzu Dill Cream Cheese, Japanese Cucumber and Micro Basil. Not your usual smoked salmon finger sandwich, the zesty yuzu with the smoke and gentle fish flesh, with the crisp refreshing cucumber, a light and delicate morsel.
Full Leaf – Cornish Crab Salad, Apple, Celeriac, Brioche, Baby Watercress. Left middle choux below, creamy snowy dome of delicate crab meat, crisp apple and apple on a buttery brioche.
Fallen Leaf – Steak Tartare, Creme Fraiche, Brioche Toast and Red Radish. Wafer thin peppery radish is the crown to this little bite of buttery tender steak paired with the warm toasted brioche. A great way to draw conclusion to the savoury part of the afternoon tea.
Jam or Cream First?
Scones – ‘Strawberries’ Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam. Jam or cream first is a very important question and can end friendships. Of course the right answer is cream first then jam. But Dominique has saved your woes when it comes to making a decision. A plate of red chocolate coated strawberries that insides were actually clotted cream and strawberry jam. With the warmth from the freshly baked golden scones, the oozing cream and tart sweetness of the jam, is enough to make angels sing.
Bud – Lavender Meringue, Coconut Ganache, Passionfruit Gelée, White Chocolate Petals. Below right, white chocolate petals as a close bud, hiding a tropical centre with the crisp floral meringue.
Flower – Vanilla Mousse, Lemon Marmalade, Cookie Crumb and Whipped Basil Ganache. Above left, sharp tang of the lemon with the herbal vibrancy from the basil. Light, delicate with a buttery crisp base.
Blossoms – Mascarpone Mousse, Amerena Cherry Jam, Dark Chocolate and Meringue ‘Kisses’. An extremely grown up Black Forrest Gateau in flavours, but so much more refined and with the added bonus of the crunch of the meringue kisses. A highlight morsel for me.
Full Bloom – Brown Butter Financier, Strawberry Jam, Rose Ganache and Rose Petals. We reach our grand finale, with a rose in full bloom. Light glistering dew drops gently sit on the rose petals, seemed a shame to eat something so pretty. This was a complete celebration of the wonder of floral and a spectacular way to end a spectacular afternoon tea. One that will stay with me for a very long time.
What is your favourite part of an afternoon tea? Jam or Cream first?
Dominique Ansel London
17-21 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
Tel: 020 7324 7705
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