Afternoon Tea: Rafayel on the Left Bank

Thursday, 8 December 2011

This time last week, I took my mum for her long-awaited birthday present. A birthday that happened to be in February, in fact. Her present in question was afternoon tea at Rafayel on the Left Bank in Battersea, south-west London. After a lovely walk along the southside of the River Thames from Battersea Bridge, we found ourselves outside the Hotel Rafayel, conveniently situated between a main road and a river, and with an impressive view of the London Heliport.

We were prepared to consider ourselves utterly spoilt, for neither of us had been to afternoon tea before. As if we weren't shocked enough by ice cold mineral water from a bottle on arrival (remember, we are from East London), we were guffawed by the presentation of champagne shortly afterwards - which became a running joke throughout the experience. The staff were flawless with their service and friendly and attentive, only aiding to make us feel completely comfortable throughout.

As well as water and champagne, we had a pot of tea each (of course). Food comprised of finger sandwiches in four flavours (chicken, cream cheese & onion, cream cheese & cucumber, & salmon), a mini dessert pot of blackcurrant mousse with fruit compote and a cardamon biscuit base, plain and fruit scones with clotted cream & jam, and a small selection of mini cakes and fruit. There was not a single part of the dining that we were disappointed with, and we were reluctant to let anything go to waste so we made sure every last crumb was polished off. I'm unsure whether that's poor etiquette for afternoon tea, but hey: I'm a "waste not, want not" kind of girl! And with things as delicious as mini coffee macaroons, mini lemon curd pies, and juicy fresh berries, who can blame us?

I think that afternoon tea is the perfect mother-daughter experience, and thoroughly recommend it to any pair. It doesn't have to be expensive - I bought a deal through Groupon; an offer which rendered it half price, but I would have said it was still worth every penny at full price. You can get similar cheapy deals from sites such as Buy A Gift and the like. The experience overall was one to be remembered, and we hold the Hotel Rafayel in high standards - and it's given us an insatiable taste for afternoon tea that can only be remedied by trying out more. So expect to see the Ladies of London East checking out another tearoom soon!

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