Review: Afternoon Tea at The Aubrey at the Kensington Hotel

I’m always a sucker for a cup of tea, croissants, sandwiches – you name it. It’s very likely you’ll catch me in a coffee shop either in Chelsea or Notting Hill, sipping my fifth or sixth cup of Earl Grey tea or trying to decide between an almond croissant or a vegetarian panini.

So it’s only natural that I pounced on local Kingsroadrocks’ Twitter competition which included afternoon tea at the Aubrey in the swanky Kensington Hotel. She simply asked ‘why does the King’s Road rock?’ My answer?

“@_Nielsen: @kingsroadrocks #kingsroad rocks because it is the only Road in London (or maybe the UK) where it housed a tame lion known as Christian!”

I didn’t realise until later that today (Wednesday) was the fortieth anniversary of Christian the Lion’s story: the lion who from roamed the King’s Road with his owners before roaming Africa to become king of his pride. Lucky coincidence!

Me and my friend – who like me, has a sweet tooth – swooped into The Aubrey and briefly surveyed the exquisite English decor before being greeted by our fine waiter, Avinash, who then showed us to our table.

To start off, we chose Earl Grey and Indian tea with their selection of finger sandwiches. Not a particular fan of finger sandwiches but it certainly went down well – in particular, the smoked salmon with its smooth texture and rich taste.

In came the scones which were accompanied by with a variety of dips: Cornish clotted cream, lemon and passionfruit curd and strawberry rose petal jam. I don’t normally dip my scones with anything – a coat of butter usually does the trick so this was a new thing for me. Not sure about the lemon but the cornish cream hit the right buttons and tasted great when combined with the strawberry.

Avinsham checked in on us and I mentioned we’re university students (or about to be in my case) and he kindly recounted his experiences in the hotel industry, which was exceptionally helpful since my friend is doing a degree in Events Management. Love it when staff engage with their customers.

We rounded things up with a few desserts: chocolate créme brule, macaroons, walnut cake, berry crumble and other treats. The walnut cake instantly caught my eye, so that was gone after a few seconds; my friend went for the berry crumble in-a-cup as she recalled her attempt to make one at home (“it tasted bad!”). Thankfully, it didn’t imitate my friend’s crumble.

However, I did flinch at the créme brule despite its inviting look; normally I wouldn’t have a problem eating this sort of thing but I had to reach for my tea to balance out my taste buds due to its strong sweet flavour.

As we finished and sat there waiting for time to fly by, it was hard not to notice my friend sinking into her chair with a smile on her face and cheekily trying to get some shut-eye. I asked how much the rooms in the Kensington Hotel were to which Kristin, the Restaurant and Bar Manager, replied: “About £300 to £1000.”

If only we had the spare change. Would have been a nice way to say thanks to both The Aubrey and the Kensington Hotel for the lovely meal.

And of course, a special ta to Kingsroadrocks for giving the opportunity!

NC

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