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I was a teenager when I first tried The Berkeley hotel’s Pret-A-Portea, I had read about it in one of my monthly Vogues and it was during my Blair Waldorf phase. Like many normal teenagers (lol) it was a box to tick on my bucketlist. I can now safely say I’m still into headbands but less into high school scheming and sleepovers, yet the fashionable afternoon tea is still as enjoyable as before. Cakes in the shape of the season’s It handbag – unlike the accessory – is not a novelty. It’s stylish sustenance. So on a chilly Spring afternoon, with a golden light fading behind the buildings of Mayfair, I feasted on what is possibly the girliest meal of my life: the Dior afternoon tea.
Surrounded by pastel rose arrangements and the maison’s beautiful classic white candles, the atmosphere was similar to shopping at one of the designer boutiques. The Dior Couture 2019 collaboration (£60 for tea without alcohol) is served in courses, starting with three canapés that had an ever so delicate Japanese influence. There was a brioche topped with a chunk of Camembert, parsnip cream sauce over a crispy wafers that turned out to be chicken skins (don’t be alarmed, it didn’t taste as exotic as it sounds), and seared tuna atop tapioca. As someone that is a far greater advocate of salty than sweet, the satiating finger sandwiches where a delight. You’ll find your classics like roast chicken but with truffle celeriac because coronation sauce is so 70’s, and smoked salmon with soya mirin butter. The tea highlights that scones aren’t served but are available on request. Unless you’re there with a tourist that absolutely insists, you really won’t miss it at all, and it’s advisable to keep your appetite for dessert. The final course is heavily inspired by Christian Dior couture and classics, such as the the J’adior slingback that’s high on my wishlist, translated as a sugar biscuit. Then there’s the Lady Dior bag in scarlet, seen as a red velvet cake bite. Most things are too pretty to eat, especially when the waiter comes with a rosewater spritz to scent your food. But with the aid of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc (£76 for the tea and a glass of Champagne), you won’t feel guilty for long. The cakes are wonderfully light and balanced between tangy and sweet, without that cloying feeling. I won’t be returning to any old stodgy Victoria sponge after this, for a long long time.
Dining hours run from 1-5:30pm, until September and offers gluten and nut free options.