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Published: 13 October 2009

TLSee at Swissôtel The HowardSwissôtel The Howard London

TLSee at Swissôtel The Howard

The new launch of TLSee (tea, London, sightseeing) at the Swissôtel
The Howard allows you to indulge in traditional
afternoon tea whilst
dunking and nibbling your way through London’s most iconic sights.

The setting of our quintessential British excuse to eat way too many
cakes during the middle of the day, is the contemporary Mauve Lounge at
the front of the Swissôtel The Howard. The décor is an eclectic mix of
classical plasterwork, aubergine silk-velvet chairs, Merano glass
lamps, marble columns and swirling purple light designs on the walls.
It’s not your typical grandiose tea room, but it serves as a more
relaxed and modern backdrop to an afternoon tea.

We opt for the traditional afternoon tea for £28, which includes a
glass of Alain Thienot champagne, a choice of Twinings teas, a mini
strawberry smoothie, savoury finger sandwiches, home-baked scones (with
the works), five patisseries and then the finale square plate, mapping
London’s sights and monuments in the form of shortbreads and
chocolates. The sandwiches are soft and delicately filled with the
customary ingredients of cream cheese, cucumbers, ham and smoked
salmon. They suitably wake up our palates in time for the lashings of
thick Devonshire clotted cream that we heap on to two types of scone;
fruit and plain. Both of them are fluffy and light rather than stodgy
and heavy, allowing us to easily finish off both. I decide there and
then that there’s no doubt about it, scones with clotted cream and jam
will have to feature in my ‘last meal’ on earth.

I decide to take a break before starting on the cakes, but of course
it’s impossible with them all beckoning me saying ‘eat me’, ‘eat me’.
So I sink my teeth into a lovely chocolate and orange jelly mousse.
Then I tackle a moist raspberry financier, strawberry macaroon and
lightly spiced fruit cake. I tentatively look over to the plate of
London sights, hoping that my gunpowder green tea will hurry up and
speed up my metabolism so I can nibble on some crown jewels, bite into
Big Ben and dunk Tower Bridge in my friend's Earl Grey. Unfortunately
it doesn’t and I only manage to break off small chunks from a few
edible sights, resulting in the delectable landscape of London looking
now like it’s been attacked by King Kong. Highlights include a dark
chocolate Big Ben filled with a thick raspberry ganache, a white
chocolate St Paul’s Cathedral filled with marzipan and a red ginger
shortbread post box. Our waitress happily places the rest of the
monuments into a box for us to take away and tells us “Most people
can’t finish everything, except for the Japanese. Because they sit here
for four or five hours and take their time eating”.

So if you want to indulge in an afternoon of tea time extravagance
and take a tour of London, devouring all the sights you see, then the
Swissôtel The Howard is for you – just remember to follow the lead of
the Japanese and try to stretch the indulgence to a good four hours at

Full afternoon tea with a glass of champagne costs £28 per person.

Reviewer: Leila Sarraôtel-howard.html

Temple Place, London, WC2R 2PR , 0207 300 1700

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