AFTERNOON ROYAL TEA AT THE LONDON
The concept of Afternoon Tea is so very British, and to some, extremely girlie. So when the invitation came my way to experience Afternoon Tea firsthand at Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café in the London West Hollywood, I was intrigued but a little hesitant. But as any proud foodie would do, I embraced the opportunity and confess, became a convert.
The Boxwood Café is a casual alternative to Chef Ramsay’s Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant and features a bistro-style ambiance and menu, along with a beverage list focusing on California vintages and microbrews. You’ll find the mood very relaxed during Afternoon Tea hours.
Afternoon Tea at Boxwood Café is served daily from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. and reservations are highly recommended during weekends. I must admit I was surprised at exactly how much food is served during the tea happy hour - a pretty good bargain at $28 per person; $40 per person if you want to include a glass of champagne selected from their Sommelier. Personally, I think you’re better off skipping the champagne, especially if you’re shelling out for valet parking.
Afternoon Tea begins with your selection of tea, of which you have numerous to choose from – including Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green Tea, Chamomile, Darjeeling Organic Peppermint, Cassis Mountain Berry, Floral Jasmine, etc. Once you’ve selected your tea, be prepared for a lovely presentation of towering scones, sandwiches and treats to come your way, served in the traditional three-tiered serving plate.
If you’re eating from top to bottom, which apparently is how it’s done, you will start with tasty freshly baked, traditional British scones, served with cream and jam. Next, it’s off to a tasty selection of fine cut finger sandwiches, including Black Brioche, Smoked Salmon and Cucumber; Egg Salad with Curry; Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream, and Ham & Cheese with butter Lettuce. All winners, but I especially liked the salmon.
Just when you think you’ve had enough, it’s time for the Princely Pastries, which include, Chocolate Caramel Tart, topped with pearl sized beads of chocolate; Honey Chocolate Pastry, served with a cute candied bumble bee; Candied Ginger Chiffon Wedding Cake; and a zesty Lemon Tart. I love the chocolate overload and a good, sweet lemon tart just gave everything a wonderful finish.
With so much food, the tea is almost an afterthought. But a good excuse to break away from the mundane and rat race, if you can find time during working hours to treat yourself to a little pomp and circumstance.
The London West Hollywood is located at 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd. Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. To make Afternoon Tea reservations call 310-358-7788.
Story & Photography by: Jose Martinez