The bijou R Chocolate boutique and patisserie tucked away behind House of Fraser has had a refurb, and now serves afternoon teas. I popped along recently to meet up with a friend and we enjoyed their ‘Classic Afternoon Tea’ (but in order to do it justice of course, we opted for the deluxe version, with the addition of a glass of champagne!). Now I’ve said this before, afternoon tea can be more expensive than a set lunch, but if you do have a sweet tooth, and happen to be a chocoholic to boot, this particular afternoon tea is right up your street!
The charming Colin, who looked after us, started by asking which of the wonderful Tregothnan teas (amazingly grown in the UK, in Cornwall) we’d prefer. There’s a choice of Earl Grey, Green tea, Peppermint, Red Berry, Camomile, Lemon Verbena or Nettle. I’m an Earl Grey aficionado so the choice for me was simple. First of all, though, we were brought a flute of Champagne Baron de Rothschild (as the R in R Chocolate stands for Rothschild, I expected no less). It was delicious, and a promising start to our treat. We could have opted for CIAB – a French sparkling wine infused with chocolate – but knowing that the tea was unlikely to stint on the chocolate (the chocolate shop being quite a clue) we chose champagne.
A veritable tower of treats was then presented. We started with traditional and cacao nib scones, with clotted cream and strawberry jam. After that, we indulged in an assortment of tiny cakes – each a mini artwork in itself - from the patisserie side of this business. To be honest, we were both rather over-awed with the amount of rich deliciousness and ended up having much of the tea packed up to take home and enjoy later. Personally, I would have preferred some savoury sandwiches to start with – maybe a touch of smoked salmon to offset the lovely champagne – and I understand this is something that is being addressed for the future.
At £35 per person, this is an indulgence, but makes an unusual gift (vouchers are available). To include a glass of champagne you need to add another £10. But if you just fancy the cream tea element, you can have that for only £8.50 and it includes a hot drink of your choice, so chocoholics could opt for a mug of R Chocolate’s superb hot chocolate, made from a range of top single origin chocolates. (I thought the spiced Chilli and 70 per cent Cru Virunga sounded particularly appealing for a cold winter’s day).
There is another branch in Belgravia and the company has a number of seasonal products available to order, such as Bûche de Noël (Yule log).