There is undoubtedly a plethora of shopping opportunities in Marble Arch from the bargain-basement, Primark to the very high-end, Selfridges; but where do you head for that all-important afternoon tea break to rest those tired shopping feet? High on your list for consideration should be Lanes of London.
Housed in a late Edwardian building, the decor has a classical feel. It might not be the most spectacular dining room you will visit in London, but it has a quiet elegance with its use of brass, oak, marble and leather banquettes. Discreet, classy, comfortable, royalty would not have expected anything less.
They change their afternoon tea offerings seasonally. Currently they have a special afternoon tea to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday. What really makes the whole experience stand out is the exceptional service from the staff. They go through in detail the different varieties of tea on offer. They add in fascinating facts about each tea and make welcome recommendations. We tried earl grey supreme, a premium version of the classic tea as well as blackcurrant and hibiscus, which was fruity, intense and vibrant. The perfumed flavours went superbly well with the sweet offerings from the tea set.
Naturally we also had to drink the Queen’s favourite cocktail, Queen’s gin and dubonnet cocktail. With the botanicals from the gin and the aromatic herbs and spices from the dubonnet, it is a cocktail of sophistication and intense flavours.
It was quite an array of sandwich offerings using a variety of breads from poppy-seed roll to beetroot toast bread. It was a roll call of all the classic British ingredients from coronation chicken to egg mayonnaise to cucumber sandwiches. My personal favourite was the smoked salmon, which was not only fresh but the beetroot bread complemented the fish supremely well.
The lanes pastries were intricately made, but perhaps lacked a certain vibrancy and colourfulness in its presentation. However, the items tasted superb: especially the delectable mini macaroons and the waffle cones with beautifully infused earl grey mousse. Enjoying this with their premium tea selection is simply pure afternoon tea bliss. The larger afternoon tea items such as the scones and the Victoria sponge cake tasted extremely fresh as if it was only just made to order.
At £39, this is very competitively priced when compared with similar afternoon teas at other hotels. Although, other hotels often offer complimentary refills whereas it is made clear on the menu here extra items are chargeable. With its convenient location and hospitable service, their afternoon tea is a great pit stop for West End shoppers who would like to rest their tired legs and enjoy sumptuous sandwiches and pastries.