In June I was determined to find a lounge or tearoom that would provide me with the ultimate afternoon tea experience. After hours of research, I choose The Ritz-Carlton because of its legacy and pride. When I called to make a reservation the concierge inquired if I had a favorite dessert so they may try to create a dish closely inspired to it for the celebration. To be honest, I found it to be considerably kind, since it was the first lounge/tearoom to query such question. It was impeccable to receive such exceptional service through a phone reservation.
I could hear the harmonies of the harpist as I made my way to The Lounge, and I was stunned by the entire set up of the space – from the elegant furniture down to their signature blue glasses. Each of the tables were parted far enough to hold your own private conversation without having to whisper. It was the perfect lounge to catch up with loved ones over afternoon tea. After being seated, I was presented with a menu to choose from either of the three (3) experiences: Traditional Tea ~$80/person, Premier Tea ~$90/person or Royal Tea ~$98/person.
Premier Tea included a complimentary glass of Schramsberg California Sparkling Wine, while the Royal Tea comes with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut ‘Yellow Label,’ accompanied by strawberries and cream. Additional beverages were available for purchase by glass, half and/or bottle. The drink list was quite impressive as it consisted of Schramsberg ‘Blanc de Blancs,’ California 2013; Veuve Clicquot, Brut “Yellow Label,” Champagne, France, NV; Veuve Clicquot, Brut Rosé Champagne, France, NV; Dom Pérignon, Brut, Champagne, France, NV; Ruinart, Brut Rosé, Champagne, France, NV, and; Perrier-Jouët, Brut, “Belle Époque,” Champagne, France 2007.
Once the tea arrived, I was presented with a three tiered stand along with a platter of four (4) canapés and one (1) ribbon sandwich. For the first course, the savoriness of the canapés and finger sandwich were exceptional. I was truly impressed with the cucumber canapé because it went against its tradition in regards to its recipe and design. That’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be able to see, taste and feel the passion that’s being put into the savories. The presentation of the other canapés and finger sandwich were wonderful, but I believe there could have been more when comparing them to the cucumber canapé.
The second course was comprised of mini scones, madeleine cakes and palmier cookies – all of which were delicious. The third course was separated into the second and third tier and it contained an apple mignardise, lavender macaron, strawberries & crème parfait and a cherry confiserie – that of which was my absolute favorite. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the third course was spectacular and it was the highlight of the visit.
If I had to make one comment, it would be the fact that the three tiered stand couldn’t fit all of the courses on it. However, they were still presented in the correct order, and for that, I can’t deduct any points.
As with the many rules that comes with afternoon tea, there are many exceptions that are played within those rules. This of which The Ritz-Carlton has made, and this discussion can be saved for another time.
I will leave you with this, The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco has lived up to its Hotel Company name, and provided me with the finest afternoon tea experience that I have come across thus far.