So I guess most people head straight for a club to celebrate their 18th birthdays- not me! I’m far too much of a foodie to miss an opportunity for edible celebrations, and I was excited about going for a lovely dinner with my parents on my 18th birthday (which was Sunday the 14th). However, The foodieness of my birthday weekend was completely ramped up when I got an amazing surprise on Friday night; my sister Katie and her boyfriend Chris (who live in far away Bristol) came back to surprise me- they had previously said that they couldn’t make it back! So they arrived late on Friday night and told me they were taking me to afternoon tea the next day!!! Not just any tea- the Chocolate afternoon tea at restaurant Pearl in Holborn; this isn’t just a beautiful restaurant in an exceptionally gorgeous hotel building
...but it is also where I did my work experience under Jun Tanaka 2 years ago, it is an excellent restaurant and it holds a very special place in my heart. Though Jun has now left the restaurant for a very well deserved break, it is still brilliant and home to so many lovely pearl chandeliers- and chocolaty treats!!
We were presented with this fancy box of Twinings teas to choose from, we shared a pot each of Earl Grey, Russian Caravan and the fascinatingly delicate Silver Tip.
The first “course” was a very filling selection of finger sandwiches, miniature smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise rolls and fluffy scones- we definitely thought that skipping breakfast had been the right decision at this point! Call me clichéd but I absolutely love cucumber sandwiches at tea- they make me feel all Victorian! But my favourite of this selection was the rare roast beef and very subtle horseradish- yum!
(apologies for the blurry photo!)
We were set loose on the chocolate buffet after our sandwiches, yep- a chocolate buffet, it was absolute bliss.
There were two (white and dark ) chocolate fountains with lovely ripe strawberries and pineapple, but the highlight was the beautiful selection of patisserie that was available, between the three of us we managed to try one of each!
Here’s plate of pastry goodness, a white chocolate and pistachio torte, raspberry and dark chocolate tartlet and a milk chocolate earl grey mousse, all of them were extremely yummy, the glaçage on the pistachio torte was sheer and shiny, with a cute little macaron on top, but my favourite was the earl grey mousse, the delicate perfume and airy mousse was the perfect break from the super sweet and super rich of the other pastries on my plate!
This is Katie’s first selection, layered strawberry shot and mango, lime and white chocolate mousse; both had the perfect balance of creamy chocolate with the fresh fruity flavours, and the accent of the lime was brilliant, all the fragrance with no harsh sourness or bitterness- mmm!
And finally Chris’ very chocolaty choices, a rich brownie with whole hazelnuts and a gorgeous icing sugar pattern; a layered chocolate pave and a hazelnut gateau l’opera, with perfectly even and amazingly thin layers. All of them were so rich and indulgent, with so many textures of mousses, biscuits, sponges and crisp tempered shards. The best was the opera, classic coffee and chocolate flavours.
It was a wonderful afternoon, we actually ended up spending 3 whole hours lounging and grazing and supping, it was a wonderful celebration and I would recommend the chocolate tea to anyone, the staff are lovely and wonderfully attentive, and you couldn't wish for a better setting.