Review of McQueen afternoon tea

Chefs at The Kensington Hotel have created an Alexander McQueen inspired afternoon tea to coincide with the Savage Beauty exhibition currently at the V&A Museum.

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Their Fashion Forward Afternoon Tea is a celebration of McQueen’s daring and innovative British works of art. The menu features contemporary  bold ingredients and flavours with a certain traditional twist.

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A selection of black, white, fruit and herbal teas are available. The Jasmine tea was light, fragrant and cleansing taste whilst the Darjeeling was a full bodied richer depth of flavour. Served in a shiny silver teapot and custom made china cupcakes and saucers.

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A 3 tiered cake stand arrived at the table along with a side of sandwiches. The setting was idyllic, after a attending the Savage Beauty exhibit we were in need of a sit down by the fire with a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine for extra relaxation. A crisp and refreshing glass of bubbly perfect for summer.

The finger sandwiches are served on white or wholewheat bread – surprising as other luxury hotels are using  more modern breads such as wraps, broiche and sourdough  bread. Smoked salmon, ham hock, cucumber with a chive cream cheese and egg mayo are all on offer.  Identical in size and shape I would advise to eat each sandwich in the order it is presented to get the highest level of taste out of them. My favourite was the ham hock, smokey chucks of meaty ham with a smidge of mayo was delicious.

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Tier 2 were an array of savory dishes

Dorset crab & artichoke cocktail- a chic prawn cocktail in a shot glass.  The layered pot of creamed artichoke puree, brown crab meat topped with pureed avocado was very rich. The texture of the cocktail, it was cold and slimey  A real shame as each ingredient on their own are all my favourite things to eat but blended together just did not work for me.

The silver savoury cone was with filled with  fois gras, feta cheese and a tomato relish.  A sweet fruity relish behind a salty sharp creamy feta but could not taste the fois gras, it was only until I re-read the menu that I saw it was within the dish. The cone itself is just for show and does not have any flavour to add – inspired from the tribal section of the exhibit.

The quail egg was pretty little thing,  donned in gold glitter inspired by the Bird’s nest headdress by  Philip Treacy  Elegant and extravagant part of the plate perched on a bed of green peppery mustard cress was adorable.

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A  hard shiny nobbly exterior with a soft tight crumb made a delightfully light fruit and plain scones. The thick heavy Devonshire cream and strawberry jam made the scone even more moreish.

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The final plate featured a genoise cake in a shape of a clutch bag – light layers of sponge with tangy cherry jam sandwiched between each delicate layer.  A crumbly light shortbread marzipan sable, a red velvet and rose water cupcake topped with edible chocolate butterflies were both equally visually stunning in colour and flavour.  The star dessert was the vanilla buttermilk pannacotta and raspberry jelly topped with a white chocolate pearl. The pannacotta was silky smooth, dotted with vanilla seeds and heavenly rich set buttermilk. The citrusness of the raspberry layer took off the highly sweetened edge. I could have eaten 10 more, seriously fantastic.

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The Fashion Forward Afternoon Tea at the Kensington Hotel was vibrant, extravagant and chic.   The concept and presentation for each element was beautiful. There were some parts that  weren’t to my taste but overall it was the icing on the cake for an afternoon of culture.