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Review: Francis Hotel Afternoon Tea
Our Lifestyle Editor Emily Griffin was invited along for afternoon tea, Regency style, at the Francis Hotel. Here's how she got on...
The Francis Hotel sits proudly on Queen Square and offers its guests a world of Regency style and sophistication with a modern twist. It’s a short walk from the buzzing shops and Charlotte Street Car Park too – which makes its location ideal for a shopping afternoon tea break.
We arrived at the hotel to a friendly receptionist and were lead through to our table. The gorgeous lobby at the Francis is adorned with elaborate chandeliers, velvet upholstery and beautiful bay windows. It’s truly a wonderful setting for afternoon tea, it’s elegant and refined. We felt very special indeed.
Once we were seated, and had taken in the gorgeous décor, we were presented with an assortment of fine teas to choose from. For my guest it was a quick decision for a coffee. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed opening the tea jars and experiencing the fragrances as I made my selection.
Shortly after our orders were taken, my earl grey tea and guest’s mocha arrived ready for us to drink. I was very pleased to have loose tea, with a strainer, and an extra pot of hot water. In my opinion, this is exactly how tea should be served.
The Francis Afternoon Tea soon followed; a traditional high tea stand decked with macarons, petit fours, finger sandwiches, and freshly baked fruit and plain scones. The stand itself was a masterpiece of colours, each layer was neatly presented and very inviting.
In the tradition of afternoon tea, we went straight to the sandwiches. We had cucumber with black pepper and cream cheese (my personal favourite), fresh smoked salmon with zesty lemon butter, tender roast chicken with watercress mayonnaise, and Somerset ham with flavoursome grain mustard. The sandwiches were made with a variety of breads that were soft and light, the crusts were removed and they were well filled. Each sandwich had been perfectly seasoned and they were simply scrumptious.
We then approached the scones, my favourite part of any afternoon tea. Generously, there were two each; one plain and one fruit. They were warm and crumbly – how any good scone should be. We had, to my relief, two mini jars of strawberry preserve and pots of rich clotted cream so no rationing was required.
As a special treat, we decided to indulge ourselves with a glass of bubbly. It seemed only fitting to enjoy a glass of chilled champagne in such beautiful Regency surroundings.
The service was impeccable. We were asked just enough times how we were without it feeling intrusive. The atmosphere in the lobby was lovely, it is the perfect place for a leisurely afternoon tea or drink with friends. Time almost seems to stand still.
After devouring the scones, with a little too much eagerness, we took a little break before finishing on the final and most spectacular tier; the sweets.
I’d been eyeing up the pretty pink macarons since the stand arrived on our table - so this was my first pick of the delicate sweet pastries and cakes. It was crisp, flavoursome and tasted just as good as it looked. We also had a lovely refreshing lemon mousse that was a perfect palate cleanser following the jam, cream and scones.
By this point, I will confess, I was struggling a little - but that didn’t stop me trying a bit of everything including the rich chocolate bonbon; a soft mousse wrapped in crisp bitter dark chocolate, a sweet lemon fondant cake, a mini moist red velvet cupcake, and the most delightful miniature raspberry eclair. There was also a slice of traditional fruit cake, but if I am honest this was overshadowed by the wonderful textures and flavours of the other items.
After we had eaten, we finished our drinks and relaxed back in our chairs. There is a very relaxing atmosphere in the lobby, and it was one we weren’t keen to leave!
The afternoon tea was as stylish as the décor, and everything you’d hope from a sophisticated Regency hotel. Even though we weren’t staying guests, we were truly welcomed and looked after. If you are looking for a special afternoon treat after a day’s shopping or for a special occasion, and you want the splendour or sitting in a grand hotel lobby, the Francis is the perfect location.
The Francis Hotel Afternoon Tea is priced at £19.50 or £29.50 to include champagne.