The Royal Lancaster London Hotel Peter Pan Afternoon Tea – review

Peter is a seven-day-old infant who, “like all infants”, used to be part bird. Peter has complete faith in his flying abilities, so, upon overhearing a discussion of his future adult life, he is able to escape through the window of his London home and return to Kensington Gardens. Well, who can blame him? He is, however, the only “infant” with such a history to be immortalised in bronze in his beloved Kensington Gardens, and in a book bearing his name.

This year sees the 150th anniversary of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie’s birth! He documented Peter’s adventures and gave all rights to his books to Great Ormond Street Hospital when he died in 1937. Peter is mischevious and iconic, and he conjures memories of a more innocent and quintessentially English world.

The Lancaster The bronze statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is one of the most popular monuments in London. He stands along the west bank of the Long Water. This site has a particular importance for Peter Pan and was specially chosen by J M Barrie – an enchanted glade where often, I have heard tell, one can find a golden sheen of fairy dust. But where can one get a bag of good quality fairy dust these days? The 5-star Lancaster London Hotel near Lancaster Gate has a supply.

The Lancaster London is appreciated for its panoramic views over Hyde Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks; and then there is London’s famous skyline to enjoy. It is one of the tallest buildings in this prestigious area, with over 18 floors. The Lancaster boasts a brace of popular restaurants including the exotic and elegant award-winning Nipa Thai restaurant, but our goal was the Lounge Bar to enjoy an oasis of calm and a traditional English Afternoon Tea with a difference. One might describe it as a tea with character.

Not only does this attractive hotel have an amazing location but it also has that fairy dust. It’s probable that they have cornered the market. Rather than keeping it to themselves the management have chosen to donate a bag of the precious commodity (OK, so it looks like nuggets of bread) to every teatime guest. They have even included a map so you can find your way to Hyde Park to feed the aforementioned fairy dust to the ducks.

Peter Pan Afternoon teaThey do teatime so well at the Lancaster. The Lounge Bar is a vision of gold-hue carpet and dark wood. The bar area is an annex off the wide lounge area, which is lined with low tables, and the chairs and sofas are of the sleep-inducing comfort style. There is just a gentle buzz of discreet conversation from our fellow guests, some of whom were children utterly enthralled by the theatre of the event as well as the prospect of a glimpse of a particular lost boy. The ambiance is casually formal as one would expect and just right for a grown-up tea party.

The afternoon tea here is one of the most reasonable around. It has all the elements of the classic version but with thoughtful, not to mention delicious, extras. The tea table is laid with crisp white linen, sugar bowl, tea cups and plates, not forgetting the small pouches of the essential fairy dust. The traditional 3-tier silver stand arrives accompanied by squeals of delight from the smaller of the assembled guests. However many times I see such a display I am still excited. Nostalgia at its finest.

Peter Pan cakes Crème Brulée isn’t a typical teatime item but here it is served as an Amuse Bouche before the main event. It was a Passion Fruit Crème Brulée served in a small taster ramekin. I trust this would be available in the Lancaster’s Island Restaurant along the hallway. It was a tangy stunner. One must have some savoury before the sweet so the lowest level of the stand housed the Lost Boy’s Sandwiches. These were a selection of Peanut Butter and Banana on wholemeal bread (sounds a strange combination but this really works), Smoked Chicken, Spring Onion and Mayonnaise on walnut bread; Egg Mayonnaise and Cress on herb bread. There were also miniature Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese scones with chives, and Cheese and Caraway scones with honey-roast ham and mustard. Little additions to the typical spread.

Scones are an essential part of any self-respecting tea, and the Lancaster offers Mrs Darling’s Scones (is this poetic licence or is the chef honestly called Mrs Darling?) These are served with strawberry jam or honey, and clotted cream. They were light and flaky scones and a good transition from the savoury sandwiches to the sticky sweetness of the delicately-executed fancy cakes garnishing the top layer of the stand.

As one would expect, these tarts, cookies and gateaux were labelled “Peter and Wendy’s favourite treats” and were a collection of strawberry mille-feuille, fresh fruit tarts, dark chocolate mousse, pecan tarts, Viennese shortbread and macaroons. All attractive and delicious, and helped down with several pots of hot jasmine and green tea.

One might not be able to “take tea” every day but The Lancaster provides a lovely venue for passing a few unhurried hours in the most perfect of surroundings. Great value for money for an exceptional experience.

The Peter Pan celebration tea is available in the hotel’s first floor Lancaster Lounge every day from 3pm until 5.30pm.

Royal Lancaster London Hotel, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY
Telephone:  020 7262 6737
Facsimile: 020 7724 3191
Visit the Royal Lancaster London Hotel here


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


Read reviews of other Afternoon Teas here