One may wonder why, during the 18th century, dinner came to be served later and later in the day until, by the early 19th century, the normal time was between 7 and 8.30 pm giving way for the fashionable English afternoon tea, reportedly first served at Belvoir Castle in the 1840‘s, and subsequently Lord Rutland‘s guest on that occasion, Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, began inviting friends to join her for this delightful refreshment. Forever a source of essential information on private and public affairs alike many a tea party since then would be worth a mention.
A recent invitation to the home of afternoon tea, The Palm Court at The Ritz, is certainly that and walking in this wonderful hotel you can reminisce of prestigious guests that walked down the same opulent rooms such as the Queen mother who regularly visited for afternoon tea.
This was like tasting an English afternoon tea for the first time. As you enter the glamorous surroundings of the Ritz Hotel you are met by high walls of gleaming mirrors, golden cherubs,romantic birdcage, chandeliers, palm trees and a soaring and vibrant floral display, there really is no better place to savour this delicious slice of life.
Sitting at the exquisitely decorated tables your afternoon tea arrives, with bearing witness to the attention to detail of both chefs and waiters. All these cakes and pastries is a reminder of the beautifully crafted work that goes on behind the scenes in creating these delicious delicacies It somehow seems a pity to eat them but as you take your first bite there was no turning back, they tasted so heavenly served with a glass of champagne, words may not be able to describe the air of calm, timeless elegance a guest for afternoon tea at The Palm Court enjoys.
Not only does the staff cater for every culinary wish with the delightful assortment of teas and pastries, with vegetarian and vegan options also available but musical cravings are also fulfilled by Ian Gomes playing Porter’s Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye for us. Noted for his popular renditions of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ and the ‘Puttin' on the Ritz’ which was recorded in 1911 and was used by Irving Berlin in his 1927 song and for the musical of the same name starring Fred Astair. His musical greeting to guests is one of the reasons The Palm Court is always so popular and advance bookings are strongly recommended.
When the Ritz first opened its doors in 1906, it was considered one of the most exclusive and grand hotels in the world no expenses was spared on the opulent interiors and lavish furnishing. Conceived by the famous Swiss hotelier César Ritz who also founded the Hôtel Ritz in Paris He was known as "king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings," and it is from his name and that of his hotels that the term ritzy derives.
When walking out into the late afternoon autumn fresh air onto Green park we didn’t think much of time and certainly not whether it was time for dinner there was definitely a touch of magic in the air and maybe there would be a nightingale or two to entertain us on our way.