As Britain celebrates its monarch in 2016, the year marking HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, The Rubens at the Palace rises to the occasion, too, with the launch of its special Royal Afternoon Tea. Guests can now savour this great British tradition while taking in the view of Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews afforded by the hotel’s lavish Palace Lounge, making them feel like royalty themselves.
But it’s more than the hotel’s regal setting that has given this Afternoon Tea its royal flair. Inspiration for each individual taste has been taken from firm culinary favourites of the Royal Family and the food served at royal events.
Inspired by the 1953 Coronation banquet of Queen Elizabeth II, Coronation chicken is among the savoury items on the menu. And Arbroath Smokie, a smoked haddock from Angus in Scotland, was a known favourite of Queen Mary I, Queen of Scots, giving the Scottish specialty a place on the menu, too. The fillet of beef, meanwhile, is featured in honour of the Queen Mother, who for many years was a joint patron of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society.
The Rubens’ newly appointed pastry chef Veronika Csontos is behind the menu’s sweet elements. In line with the royal theme, a chocolate biscuit cake with mousse (the favourite dessert of Prince William and Prince Harry, even being served up at Prince William’s wedding) is one of the decadent desserts included. This chocolate treat will be served alongside orange scented scones in honour of The Orangery at Kensington Palace, an elaborate greenhouse built for Queen Ann in 1704 to house her citrus trees.
Then there are the ever-popular red velvet cupcakes, which have long been served at The Tower of London. “Queen Elizabeth II was also the inspiration for serving jam pennies,” Veronika tells us, “These miniature raspberry jam sandwiches, cut into circles the size of an old English penny, have been one of the Queen’s favourites since childhood.”
Rather than being overshadowed by this culinary offering, the tea menu compliments the savoury and sweet specialties on offer. Traditional blends include fine Twinings traditional, oriental and herbal teas, and classics like The Earl and the Full English, as well as blends such as Emerald Dragon Oolong, Moroccan Mint and Rosewater, and Nutty Chocolate.
Alternatively, guests can opt for a glass of Lanson Black Label Champagne, or a suitably regal Afternoon Tea cocktail, like the Rubens Royale Tea, Martini Royale, or Ruby Royale with Wyborowa and grapefruit.
With the little ones in mind, the hotel has created a Little Prince and Princess Tea, too, with a child-friendly sized Afternoon Tea serving that can be tailored to their specific taste, ensuring guests of all ages are made to feel like royalty.
“Our aim was to provide an unforgettable Afternoon Tea offering, with dishes heavily influenced by royal events and dining trends throughout the centuries,” Veronika explains. While savouring Royal Afternoon Tea at The Rubens, served with the hotel’s legendary exemplary service, they certainly seem to have succeeded in delivering what they’d set out to create. And on a Live Like Royalty stay, this Afternoon Tea is paired with a Royal carriage ride – in a carriage that has carried members of the Royal Family – to some of London’s most iconic sites.
Image credits: Cover photo of an Afternoon Tea at The Rubens © Red Carnation Hotels. Buckingham Palace © iStock / oversnap. The Palace Lounge at The Rubens © Red Carnation Hotels. Afternoon Tea at The Rubens © Red Carnation Hotels. A carriage ride from the hotel © Red Carnation Hotels.