The Halkin by como
TEL: 020 7333 1000
Nestling within the smart set and with Diplomatic Embassies for company in Halkin Street the eponymous Halkin by COMO it’s a new addition to the hotel world. Even more impressive the fact that just after I had an excellent afternoon tea there it was awarded its first Michelin Star. Not bad after only being open for a few months.
Belgravia, that lush part of London where the birds sing and the wide streets are empty except for droning taxis and the odd diplomatic car. It’s like Pimlico was thirty years ago. Yes, this where to come for a bit peace and quiet and get your visas stamped. Well that was the case until recently when The Halkin opened. The new autumn afternoon tea served in the super cool bar area is worth taking notice of.
Firstly, and by no means should this be underestimated, they serve proper sized sandwiches, about three times the size of a normal afternoon tea. Secondly, the cakes are tip-top and thirdly, they serve Jing Teas, Jing Teas is one of those rare companies that are in business to provide pleasure and quality to the discerning public.
The sandwiches as mentioned were large, fresh and had tradition with addition. Scottish smoked salmon with salmon caviar had a hint of spiced peppers. The king prawns were swimming in watercress and a cocktail dressing. The baby cucumber had cream cheese to bed down with as well as chives. The cornfed chicken breast sparkled with a dash of turmeric and spring onion, giving a ‘Coronation light’ feeling to the taste, it was my favourite.
I was having tea with a group of food writers who without exception (like myself) all enjoy afternoon tea. There’s a kind of knowing stability to the whole procedure. You know where you are with an afternoon tea whether it is in Hong Kong or Houston the format will be along the same lines. Of course personality will pervade and that’s what makes it so much fun, guessing what might come next but within those parameters of safety.
The cakes and scones are also good. A pistachio brownie covered in Madagascan vanilla was a big hit of chocolate that worked. The raspberry and passion fruit macaroon was one of the best I have tasted, packed with fresh fruit and crunchy and gooey at the same time. A little cocktail of marscarpone, mango and strawberry called a ‘brew’ was inventive and a good cleanser. The cream that came with the scones had beautiful flowers sitting on top. A gold leaf topped lemon meringue pie particularly took my fancy.
We all chatted away and before I knew it two hours had passed and it was time to leave. I had made some new friends, caught up with some old ones and had a splendid afternoon tea. It is also worth remembering that unlike the old days where afternoon tea was to ‘tide you over’ before a late dinner, I think nowadays it is worth planning this as a major meal. I didn’t eat anything else the day I went.
So if you are visiting Buckingham Palace or having a stroll in Hyde Park, or even if you just need to renew your passport don’t go to Pimlico head for Belgravia where there will be a warm welcome, excellent tea plus some peace and quiet.