Cake. That’s what this blog post is about. And lot’s of it. Because that is what what Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is all about.
I’d been looking forward to this occasion so much. I’d been to afternoon tea at other fancy pants hotels in London, but Prêt-à-Portea is THE one that had been on my list forever.
I decided to wear a very bright, very floral dress, that had never been worn and was waiting patiently in the back of my wardrobe to be taken on its first outing.
I slapped on my make up, curled my hair, and reluctantly slipped high heels on my feet, hopelessly thinking IF ONLY trainers were appropriate afternoon tea attire.
I was ready to go. (With trainers tucked safely inside my bag!).
My friend Cath turned up at my place. She was the reason we were heading to The Berkeley Hotel, as it was her birthday, and there’s no better place to enjoy a girls day out.
Arriving at The Berkeley, we snapped a couple of obligatory posey shots at the front of the hotel, before sashaying through the main entrance to The Caramel Room.
The table was laid out beautifully, and we spent a few moments eyeing up the neighbours delicious treats, that we were about to indulge in.
The most amazing part of Prêt-à-Portea is that it’s a designer afternoon tea, with cakes and desserts inspired by the current fashion season’s collections.
Our cakes and treats were inspired by Alexander McQueen, Anya Hindmarch and Elie Saab, amongst other big fashion names.
But first, we had to read the neverending tea menu and try our best to narrow down our decision to one flavour. Which is not easy, when they all sound so good!
I opted for Funky Fruits, and Cath went for Gorgeous Ginger.
I’m not a big tea drinker, so it has to be really good for me to like it. And both flavours were divine!
We sipped at our tea, acting like the classy ladies we are. (Just not that often).
And then the food started to arrive. Hello!
We’d both opted for the Gluten Free option, and when our platters of food arrived it was proof that this option does NOT need to be boring. You just need really good chefs!
We were treated to all sorts of delicious bites, from sandwiches to beetroot gazpacho and cherry tomatoes stuffed with avocado mousse.
We tucked into our afternoon tea, and what I love about Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley, is the ‘all-you-can-eat’ mentality. Which is kind of a dangerous thing, as I have zero willpower around food. But still, we devoured everything, and opted for a few more sandwiches, because we could.
No sooner had we taken the last bite of our sandwiches, and the three-tiered cake stand appeared between us, and oh it was just so beautiful! All those pretty little cakes that looked too amazing to eat. That thought lasted, ooh about 10 seconds, before I was drooling and couldn’t wait to stuff my face with them.
Our waitress diligently went through each and every cake, describing it and telling us which designer it was inspired by.
We started off with the Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen butterfly hat with chocolate glazed gianduja mousse. I’d recently seen this hat up close and personal at the V&A’s Alexander McQueen exhibition. It was beautiful both in wearable AND edible form!
Chilling out on the top tier of the cake platter was Lisa Marie Fernandez’s chocolate shortbread ‘Alexa’ bikini with green icing and trimmed cream ribbon. So cute!
The Jean Paul Gaultier Crème de Menthe cremeux with dark chocolate ribbon and mint jelly finished with white orchid meringue and rhubarb crisp was A-MAZ-ING! In fact I think I can safely say it was my favourite.
Elie Saab’s Red Degrade Silk Georgette dress duo of blended strawberry and mango bavarois with mango compote, topped with flame like sugar frill was so pretty, almost too pretty to eat. But I managed to shut off my emotions and just dive in with my spoon!
I love stuff that is cute. Hate nice. Love cute. So Anya Hindmarch’s Big Eye Collection handbag of blueberry victoria sponge wrapped in light blue chocolate with candied cartoon eyes, was my favourite cake on the stand. I mean look at that little face! Soooo Cute!
By this stage, I was starting to reach my quota of sugar intake, but I pushed through! It would have been rude not to. Oscar de la Renta’s princess gown of coconut and lime mousse set on a sablé Breton with green leaf icing was another beautiful piece of edible artwork, and also delicious in my belly.
I reached for my last treat, with my stomach screaming ‘PLEASE ANNMAREE, NO MORE SUGAR!’, but I couldn’t leave this last little treat on its own. It would have felt left out. And I’m glad I didn’t leave it, because those fruit jellies meant that when I purchase the cheaper, chemically enhanced versions at Tesco, they will never match up to just how unbelievably good these ones were.
We were done. Sweetened up to the eyeballs. Dinner was definitely not on the cards. Or was it? Because at that very moment, our waitress popped over with these adorable handbag shaped goodie bags full of MORE cakes to take home for later.
We waddled out of The Caramel Room on huge sugar high’s, making our way back to Knightsbridge Station, and deciding to go for drinks in lieu of dinner, because quite frankly I could not look at another edible item at that point.
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is such a fun afternoon out, if you love cake, opulence, or fashion, you’ll love this experience.
*confession: After drinks I went home, opened the handbag and devoured all of the cakes inside. Needless to say, I went for a very long run the next morning!