Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Athenaeum Festive Afternoon Tea.

After our night at the Savile Club, the girls and I had a sleepover at A's brand spankin' new apartment, and then went for afternoon tea the next day in our beloved Mayfair. I'd seen the Festive Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum hotel advertised last month, and being a fan of the place after reviewing it months back, we decided to check it out. 

The hotel was festive and covered in gorgeous decorations! We were seated at a lovely big table in the restaurant, as the conservatory where they usually have afternoon tea was fully booked. It all went a little downhill from there. The restaurant was empty as it was 3:30pm, yet the service was shocking. It took them over half an hour to take our order, and forever to bring us each 'round' of the afternoon tea.

When the food eventually arrived, we were still without the tea, and we were half way through our sandwiches before we asked where the tea was. It arrived as we were finishing. The sandwiches were...ok. The good thing was that the supply was endless - you weren't limited to how many you were allowed. The bad thing was that the turkey in the turkey and cranberry sandwiches was full of fat and looked and tasted cheap - it definitely couldn't have been 'real' turkey.

Next were the scones and mince pies. This was the best round by far! Deliciously homemade, crumbly and gorgeous, the scones were cranberry and all-spice and came with homemade mixed berry and vanilla jam and devonshire clotted cream. The mince pies melted in your mouth and were absolutely wonderful!

The third round we had lemon and berry tartlets, chocolate strawberries, profiteroles and mulled wine jellies. We were supposed to have christmas cupcakes and homemade jammy shortbreads (what I was looking forward to the most!) with this course as well...but they didn't give them to us.

You'll have to excuse the state we're in...we all got home at 4am and were rather hungover. Showers and make-up went out the window...we just wanted food.

There was supposed to be a fourth round consisting of chocolate yule logs, malt whisky fruit cake, traditional stollen, and carrot cake...but this never arrived, and instead we were given the bill. We had already been there 3 hours and were so fed up with the service that we just paid up and left. We left feeling cheated out of £160 for the four of us.

I was so incredibly disappointed with this. I absolutely love The Athenaeum and their food, and their Evergreen Afternoon Tea is outstanding, but this was such a let down. The desserts and puddings were absolutely delicious, but for £29.50 for the standard festive afternoon tea and £36.50 for the champagne one, it wasn't worth the money at all seeing as they didn't bring us one of the courses. The service was shocking (although I think it was just because we were in the restaurant instead of the afternoon tea room, but still...), we didn't get the full amount and choice we should have done, and I still can't get over how cheap and 'processed' the turkey tasted. 

*sigh* I hate doing bad reviews, and I rarely do them because I hate doing them so much...but I had to do this. Do not make the same mistake we did!

Have you had a festive afternoon tea anywhere? Any recommendations?

Afternoon Tea at the Athenaeum on Urbanspoon Square Meal


  1. Wow, what a sad disappointment :(

  2. Oh my ... what an upsetting afternoon you must have had :( Do you mean to say that you actually had to *pay* for your food? How absolutely terrible. I hope they fix that next time, then they might get a good review! :)

    1. Oh Anon, bless you for spending so much time commenting on all of my posts! You must really love my blog to spend so much time and effort on it.

      I have to say it was rather upsetting, especially as I love The Athenaeum and previously gave them a rave review of the dinner I had there a few months back (which I also paid for myself). So yes, I was disappointed that this wasn't as good as my experience last time I was there.

      In regards to paying for things, may I just remind you that roughly 97% of the things in my 246 posts I have paid for myself. Unlike other blogs, mine is not filled with sponsored posts and pr samples. Yes, I have accepted a couple of complimentary meals in return for reviews, but if you look at these reviews, you will see that I gave critical reviews. For example, Mamounia Lounge, I actually said negative things about that restaurant, despite it being comp.

      And yes, I have accepted a couple of 'gifted' pr samples and posted reviews about them, but I will only ever accept products I will actually use and that are suited to my blog - I have rejected countless products and invitations to events because I know that I would never use them, or they aren't suited to me or my blog.

      The thing you need to understand, is the relationship between bloggers and PRs/brands. We help each other, our relationships are important. PRs and brands need bloggers. People trust us because we're just like them, a normal person, the 'average' consumer, just giving our honest opinions on a product. In fact recent studies have shown that people trust bloggers more than they trust magazine and 'real' journo reviews.

      As well as potentially influencing people to purchase products from a brand, we also give the brand fantastic SEO benefits. Writing a post about a company and linking back to their website helps them get higher up in Google search rankings. Those of us who work in SEO and Copywriting (yes, I am a content writer, despite the apparently terrible quality of writing on here), are more beneficial and attractive to brands and pr's because we know how to use things like links, keywords, meta data etc, and therefore people are more likely to see our post on the brand through searching on google than someone who doesn't know about SEO. Basically when it comes to complimentary services or products in return for reviews, it's a win win for everyone involved - the brand, pr company, and blogger. Even if the review is negative, it's still beneficial for the brand because of the linkback and SEO.

      Anyway, thank you so much for your numerous ignorant comments and your pathetic attempts to 'upset' me? - they've given me quite a laugh. Maybe you should go and troll on a blog that does actually have 97% sponsored posts rather than little old me, who has around 3% sponsored.

      Oh, and go get a life, and a job. Clearly you have so much time to spend on here you have neither, and I don't particularly enjoy paying taxes for people to sit at home trolling and living off my hard-earned money.

      Best wishes,
      Catherine x

    2. Amazing response! Perhaps tailor the ending of you work in pr and content as it quite assuming. Who's to say that trolls live of benefits? For all you know they could be at work? Content makes an impact so just keep that in mind. : )

    3. Yes, I was pausing over including the last bit, but clearly this particular troll has A LOT of time on their hands to comment on SO many of my posts, and then comment again on them questioning why I didn't approve their previous comments.

      Sorry to generalize - I was just talking about this troll, not all trolls. And the bit about bad content (if that's the bit you were talking about?) is referencing a comment 'anon' left telling me my blog is filled with terribly written content. Obviously I do everything I can to make sure my blog is filled with great content :)

      C x

  3. The place looks awfully lovely, I'm sorry it wasn't any good though! I've only recently stumbled across your blog and you live the life I wish to! Eating out in fancy restaurants and doing fancy things! I plan on moving to London soon and this is exactly what I want to be doing. Looking forward to more posts!


    1. I know, it's so beautiful! Just a shame the service was terrible :(

      Aw, you can do those things too! I'll try and do a post soon on how to live the high-life on a budget :) it is possible, I promise!

      Thank you for stopping by, and I'm so happy you like it!

      C x

    2. No problem, it's refreshing to read as I feel the "bloggersphere" is a little inundated with beauty-only blogs.

  4. Its so frustrating to see the number of bloggers and supposed SEO gurus who spread misinformation
    You are now part of my reading bookmarks, keep up the good posts


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