Palm Court, An Afternoon Tea Venue On The Square
Updated 13 May 2021
Potatoes whipped to creamy perfection, indulged truffle, quail egg, Melba toast, and that's just the palate cleanser!
And if I ate nothing else following that, I would have been fine.
Okay, so not quite the truth! If anything, I was willing the remainder of the afternoon tea selection. A selection of savoury, scones and sweets said to be inspired by 'the four quadrants of Humphry Repton's designs for Russell Square Gardens' - a grade II listed garden. This just across the road from the venue.
I hasten to note, Palm Court does not overlook the gardens but the equally listed grade II building housing it does. That is, Kimpton Fitzroy, formerly Principal Hotel Russell, formerly Le Meridien Russell, formerly Hotel Russell. Yes, this building has a history.
And it dawned on me, this room that once chameleon(ed) for conferences, weddings, bar mitzvahs now portrayed itself as the Palm Court! A simple but sophisticated palette of greys, creams, blacks, a pop of greenery! Painted brightly by rays of sunshine, the remodel invited in.
It was rather quiet when I sat down to a glass of Taittinger on the house. That may have been due to the time - ten minutes past noon. Unusual yes, given that afternoon tea came about to bridge the meal gap between lunch and dinner.
The coffee lover in me begrudgingly overlooked the coffee menu for a pot of oolong. If your palate prefers a more smooth and delicate experience when it comes to tea, then I would recommend this one.
Afternoon Tea, it's in the name and then so much more at the Palm Court. The elegant surroundings, knots of chilled conversation and yes, some stand out sandwiches.
Sandwiches of goats curd - so fresh and fluffed with fig mustard in onion bread. Double the portion? Yes, please. However, I may be a tad bit biased, even when my love of it is unrequited. Smoked trout, fennel and apple, sandwiched nicely between slices of beetroot bread - a close silver medal. Because what is afternoon tea without a fish filling.
When your lips fail to convey its excitement but your waiter understands and indulges in double portions, you know you're in good hands. Except, I've been filling the space earmarked for the selection of scones due to follow.
Still, the matcha and sesame seed scone called out to me, like my departure flight's boarding call. Let's say - it 'flew' me away. Bypassing the jam and cream, it delivered on its own. For the more conservative, there are the more classic scones and freshly baked. But having tried the matcha flavoured scone, there was no converting back.
Enticed by a tray of carnivalesque coloured sweet treats at another table, I forewent the remainder of my two scones.
The sweet tray promised much. A square of cake infused with passion fruit and guava delivered on the first taste. The raspberry rose crème Fraiche (shhh actually chosen for its Instagram worthiness) just as exciting to taste as it was on the eye.
You'd be forgiven for wanting to hide away here, so laid back is the atmosphere. Or stay a while longer, much longer, rolling into an overnight stay in one of the hotel's tempting corner suites. Die-hard fans of the Titanic may draw similarities in some of the property's main areas. After all, they were both designed by the same Charles Fitzroy Doll.
But first your afternoon tea. Do you cream or jam first? And when it comes to afternoon tea, where's your go-to venue?