Palm Court, The New Afternoon Tea Venue On The Square
Potato, truffle, quail egg and Melba toast and that's just the palette cleanser!
And if I ate nothing else following that, I would have been fine.
Okay so not quite the truth! If anything, I was just that more excited to try the remainder of the afternoon tea menu. 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.
I hasten to note that Palm Court does not overlook the gardens but the equally listed grade II building housing it does. That is,
The Principal formerly Principal Hayley Russell formerly Le Meridien Russell formerly Hotel Russell and soon to be...
And that's when it dawned on me that this room that would once have seated at least two hundred guests theatre style for conferences etc has now been aesthetically re purposed as
Palm Court! A simple but sophisticated palette of grays, creams, blacks, a pop of greenery! Plus the architects and designers found a way to let so much that wonderful day light in making it very light and airy.
It was rather quiet when I sat down to a glass of Taittinger on the house. But that may have been due to the fact it was only ten minutes past noon. Unusual yes, given that afternoon tea came about as an event 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 when it comes to tea your palate prefers a more smooth and delicate experience, then I would recommend oolong.
But afternoon tea is so much more than the tea and the elegant surroundings.
At Palm Court, there is an usual selection of sandwiches. The
goats curd - so fresh and fluffed with fig mustard in onion bread was my very favourite. Although maybe slightly biased as I do love goats cheese. The smoked trout, fennel and apple in beetroot bread was a close second as no afternoon tea sandwich selection could ever be complete without a seafood option.
Unless you have a savoury tooth, refrain from indulging in the sandwiches you begin to fall in love with. As a selection of four differently flavoured scones are still to follow. The matcha and sesame seed scone called out to me like the PA system in a medical center. Let's just say - I am glad it did. It was so beautiful and fresh on its own that I finished it without any spreads and there are three to choose from. I reckon even the more traditional of scone afficionados would enjoy this.
For the more orthodoxed when it comes to scones they do offer a traditional scone. But having just ate a matcha flavoured scone, there was no converting me back.
I had caught a glimpse of a tray with the carnival of sweets being served at another table and so skipped the remainder of my two scones.
Unfortunately, I was rather full by then and opted for two from a selection of eight. You truly taste the passion fruit in the passion fruit and guava square. The raspberry, rose and crème fraiche (shhhh actually chosen for its instagramworthiness) was just as exciting to eat as it was on the eye.
Where is your favourite place for afternoon tea?