Monthly Archives: December 2018

Christmas at Simpson’s in the Strand – Covent Garden

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Simpson’s in the Strand

100 Strand

London

WC2R 0EW

Tel no: 020 7420 2111

simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk

Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Buon Natale! Merry jingle bells to all, and to all a good fight. Or night. Or indeed fight if you are a fan of Eastenders Christmas specials. ‘Tis the season to be stuffed with turkey, bombarded with sprouts and feel your arteries clog with rivers of brandy butter and pouring cream. I once heard a rumour that Christmas was actually a sacred religious festival, but thanks to M&S, John Lewis and rolling coverage of the DFS Boxing day sale we are now able to forget all that pesky business regarding our Lord and Saviour and get down to the true meaning of Christmas: gout. Yes, folks, ’tis the season of chocolate, indigestible puddings and pigs wrapped in thinner slices of pig. It is therefore necessary to wander off the beaten track to bask in the wonder of this most calorific of occasions. Man cannot live by scones alone. So let me treat you to a photographic feast for the mince pies. I bestow upon you that most precious gift: an entire Christmas dinner without any of the washing up. You can thank me later.

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Cream of lobster soup with Chervil cream cheese poured from a teapot. Beats slopping out of a tin into a saucepan

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Puff pastry steak & kidney pie, whipped potato, peas and gravy. For the anti-Xmas rebels amongst us

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Roast Norfolk bronze turkey carved at the table, roast & mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, pigs in blankets, chestnut stuffing, cranberry, bread sauce and gravy

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Not so much hitting a food wall as smashing into it at 100 miles an hour

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Chocolate and mandarin trifle with chocolate custard, mandarins and Grand Marnier Chantilly. If I had chosen the pudding I would have exploded à la Mr Creosote

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Green tea and complimentary mince pies. I will force these down if it kills me, which it very probably will

So there we have it, folks. Christmas courtesy of Simpson’s on the Strand. Let me take this opportunity to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas and an extremely Happy New Year. May 2019 be filled with tea, cakes and plenty of cherry and almonds scones. Till next time, teaholics xxx

Scones In Another City: Afternoon tea at The Hassler Review – Rome

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Hassler Bistrot At Saline Eva

Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 6, 00187

Traditional Afternoon tea €32*

+39 06 699340

www.hotelhasslerroma.com

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The pièce de résistance of all tea travels throughout the city, the Hassler stands as Rome’s most luxurious hotel. A favourite of Audrey Hepburn, I attempt to channel my inner Princess Anna/Holly Golightly by indulging in the best afternoon tea the city has to offer, though a severe cold and hacking cough leaves be sounding more like Eliza Doolittle. However, for the first time during my trip scones are back on the menu, and this time they come with a choice of blackcurrant jam and orange marmalade, a personal favourite. Plus, as I have dined at the hotel in a non-tea capacity on a previous trip I know that the service is excellent, the surrounding are sumptuous and the food is lovely.

20181130_165442There is however a price to be paid for such luxury. Whereas the afternoon tea at €32 is reasonable in comparison with many teas served in London, a single serving of tiramisu is €23, a price that can only be justified if it is sprinkled with gold dust and they gift you the cutlery as you leave. The tea therefore is all the more desirable.

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The sandwiches are just enough for one person, the tea – a pot of refreshing green followed by a peppy lemon and ginger infusion to sooth my burning throat – was warming, and while the scones are quite small and the fruit option was not available as advertised, they are served warm and with ample helpings of fresh cream and preserves. We are also treated to small slices of chocolate and lemon cake, decorated with raspberries and blueberries to bump up my vitamin C intake.

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The menu also talked of madeleines but these were unavailable during my visit. Normally this would be disappointing as it often suggests a lack of preparation or care in delivering the menu as promised, but here the staff were so accommodating that not only did they apologize for the omission but also provided an extra plate of sandwiches, a second plate of scones AND reduced the cost of the tea to that of their standard cream tea option (€18). This was a wonderful gesture but rather unnecessary, as the tea and the surroundings are more than worth the price and make this a warm and memorable experience.

Verdict: a touch of luxury in the heart of the capital. 5/5 teacups

*Prices/information correct as of December 2018

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Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Scones In Another City: Babington’s Tea room Review – Rome

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Babington’s Tea Room
Piazza di Spagna, 23, 00187
Aunty Annie’s Afternoon Tea €17*
+39 06 678 6027
 https://www.babingtons.com/it

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Located at the foot of the Spanish steps Babingtons was founded in 1893 as a stop off for homesick English travelers craving a nice cup of tea and “none of this foreign muck”. The result is a charming relic of Victorian splendour. Waitresses attend the tables in outfits last seen on Downton Abbey serving traditional British fare at untraditional British prices. However, the Aunty Annie tea includes a satisfying array of mignon cakes and biscuits, along and a pot of Babington’s unique blend tea. I opted for the Babingtons Blue Lady scented tea, a subtle green tea lightly flavoured with cherry, strawberries and figs. As this tea on its own is €11 per pot it is definitely worth investing a little extra to have a proper tea experience.

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If you would like to add a little vitamin C to your diet, freshly squeezed orange juice is available at Babington’s at an eyewatering €9, though as this was amongst the nicest juices I have ever tasted I will recommend a glass with a couple of straws to go around.

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Verdict: Expensive but a tea stop in Rome not to be missed. 4/5 teacups

*Prices/information correct as of 28/11/18

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx