Valentine’s Day is one of my favourite of the year.
Until 2015 I enjoyed ‘Galentine’s’ with my girlfriends and it involved a lot of fizz, a Chinese takeaway and a hot tub. We definitely didn’t let being single ruin the 14th Feb, it was a pretty perfect set up I’d say!
However, it must be said that going to uni and finding G did make this day of love that little bit more special. Not only do I get treated like an absolute princess every year, but it is full of love, flowers and prosecco – all the best things combined.
This year has definitely topped all previous V days.
I met G outside work on Oxford Street and after being told to dress up I was as curious as ever to where I was being whisked off to. What’s more I usually do have an idea of our plans regardless of whether G has tried to keep things a secret.
I really had no clue this year, until I arrived…
Afternoon Tea at the Ritz?! Every girl’s dream, right?
I’ve walked past The Ritz a number of times and always wondered what it was like on the inside. When the taxi pulled up to the entrance, to say I was excited is an understatement. At the front of the hotel was a large heart-shaped balloon which was a part of Anya Hindmarch’s “passion project” installation and alongside the Hollywood lights illuminating ‘The Ritz’, I was really quite giddy!
From the moment we walked in I was transported back 100 years to the 20’s. Everyone was glammed up from men in suits, women in ball gowns and hotel staff in tails, with a 5-piece band playing music in the background. The grandeur of the building was also breath taking, with a pink hue so that wherever you turned your head it looked as though you were gazing through an Instagram filter!
The whole building had a buzz with the bars and restaurants full of people and couples celebrating their love. There were magnificent ceilings and carpets with elegant patterns, jewellery cases lining the hallway and a cloakroom that handed out the fanciest ticket I’ve ever had (a metal number with a sapphire coloured curtain tassel on the end!)
We walked past the Rivoli Bar and in the most gorgeous expanse was the Palm Court, where tables of two were perfectly laid out in between sparkling chandeliers, huge rose arrangements and shiny marble pillars – it was truly magical. We took our seats at a table in the middle and were poured a glass of Ritz Rosé Champagne before choosing our tea from a rather large menu, of course it was the classic Ritz English Tea. The service was unlike anywhere I’ve been before with the friendliest and most attentive waiters refreshing our teapots so they didn’t go cold, replacing our china crockery every so often so we could eat from a clean plate and new cutlery so that we didn’t have to cut sandwiches with a knife covered in clotted cream from preparing scones. I felt as though I was royalty!
I must admit, being impossible to keep my #VeganChallenge up for this surprise, I was vegetarian for the evening as I didn’t want to ruin what G had planned for us, as he had booked 3 months in advance (way before I took veganism up for Feb!)
That aside, we started with finger sandwiches which ranged from cheddar cheese with chutney on tomato bread, cucumber with cream cheese, dill and chives and the classic egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress. They were perfectly cut into edible rectangles and were so neatly arranged on the china platters that it took me a while to have my first bite.
This was followed by a variety of delicate sweet treats including the best macaron I’ve even eaten – coconut with a raspberry middle. It literally melted in my mouth and writing about it makes my mouth water! There was also a mini lemon meringue pie, a chocolate mousse and a creamy pastry. It was great to have a selection so that we could try different things and they were small enough to ensure you didn’t have to stop at one!
Afternoon tea wouldn’t be afternoon tea without scones with clotted cream and jam and with both plain and raisin on offer I could not help but indulge. They were just incredible and despite feeling quite full I managed to enjoy them to the fullest.
By this point I was quite content and was finishing off my cup of tea when a cake trolley was rolled out. Even more food! There was Chocolate Mousse Cake or an Apple Tart Slice and we got both to share – I mean, you only come to Afternoon Tea at The Ritz once and I was not going to let it go to waste!
About 5 cups of tea down we were finally finished and we sat back to soak up the atmosphere and let the treats go down – the band was playing, guests were chattering around us and everyone was pretending to act normal in this very extraordinary place. I kept having to pinch myself to make sure that it was really happening.
To top off the evening I was given a gorgeous rose and I left full of the most exquisite food and holding the hand of the man I love.
Here’s to next year!
To book your spot of Afternoon Tea at The Ritz click here – you won’t regret it!