For Dom's birthday a few months ago we took him for tea at Fortum and Mason. It's an odd thing to get a geezer for his birthday but believe me Dom was as happy as pig in shit. He's got a sense of duty with the right and proper way to do things. It's a shame that that sense of duty doesn't extend to way he shovels food into his mouth which is again similar to the pigs in shit then again I'm not really well placed to judge that one cos I enjoy a good shovel of food occasionally.
It's an odd place Fortnum and Mason, I always rationalise it as the place Harrods promises to be. What you imagine you'd find when your Mum tells you you are going to Harrods as a kid before you get there and realise it's an overpriced tat shop covered in gold plated Tutankhamen styled vomit. Fortnum and Mason however is proper. It sells proper stuff and it's all shiny and expensive.
We had Tea in the St James Restaurant on one of the upper floors. The Tea bit's all done up with nice sofas and tables and nice little cushions with either pictures of royal things or cats embroidered onto them. It's the model to which a high percentage of the front rooms in the country aspire to.
We all chose to have afternoon tea. We were going to get high tea originally because it sounded better but high tea is the one where you get a choice of scrambled eggs or welsh rarebit while afternoon tea is the proper one with the pretty little triangle sandwiches.
For £40 a head what you get is a a three tiered plate thing on which you have a plate of sandwiches that also has a little salmon terrine and a tiny bit of quiche. The next plate has scones, clotted cream and Jam. The third plate has two pastries from a selection that the ever obedient waiting staff bring over. You also get a pot of the most decentest tea ever chosen off of the tea menu and a glass of champagne.
The pretty triangle cut sandwiches had the crusts cut off and a uniform size and shape. You get a selection of fillings - cucumber and cream cheese, ham and mustard, egg salad and salmon paste. For the most part they were well made but the flavour was a bit dull apart from surprisingly the cucumber and cream cheese which stood out from the rest. Interestingly the cucumbers were incredibly thinly sliced.
We discovered while eating the sandwiches that they are bottomless like a Nandos soft drink and the waiting staff will continue to bring them out as long as your asking. It makes the £40 price a bit easier to bear.
The scones were as perfect as you would expect from Fortnum and Mason with the cream and jam as good as they can source.
With the pastries I chose to have a violet iced bit of sponge which tasted like a posh parma violet and a coconutty bakewell thing. The bakewell thing was not as good but still passable.
The tea I chose was a nice Assam. It's loose leaf and you get all the proper accoutrements like a tea strainer and a little silver ring to balance you tea strainer on when your not using it.
Although it's very expensive I highly recommend going and having tea at Fortnum and Mason or a similar establishment. It's a really great experience and I suppose being pampered and being somewhere elegant freshens you up somehow. If you do go please dress up smart as you don't want to ruin the experience for others. There were some US and Australian tourist when we went who hadn't made the effort and it can shatter the illusion.