Luxury hotel Q&A between designer/presenter Nicky Summer and City & Beach Magazine at The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, London

  • Where are you and what are you doing?
  • Taking tea at The Berkeley Hotel in London – the Pret-A-Portea – the most special afternoon tea I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to recently. This must be the benchmark of all afternoon teas, anywhere in London…
  • Who’s your guest?
  • Karen Millen, founder of the fashion brand.

  • What are you wearing?
  • A two piece aquamarine outfit, from the Louise Kennedy boutique located nearby in Belgravia. It has a spaghetti tie belt with beaded tassels and the cream cashmere wrap with suede fringing is also from her collection… perfect for spring!
  • What’s the topic of conversation?
  • The new Oud fragrance pen from Fragrance Du Bois in Conduit Street, Mayfair; the state of the high street versus the convenience of online shopping; Soho House in White City…

  • What’s special about the location of the tea?
  • It’s set in the glossy Collins Room of the hotel – named after my old acquaintance, the late David Collins, who’s design team created it… it was beautifully revamped not long ago and every facet gleams and sparkles.
  • What’s the vibe?
  • Knightsbridge style meets international finance.
  • And the decor?
  • Fresh floral arrangements dotted around the room, including tiny edible pansies on each of the dishes and full bloomed roses on the table. Sugar pink sweets in tall glass candy jars, bottles of champagne chilling on ice – it’s definitely a special occasion place…

  • What are the components of the tea?
  • Artisan tea sandwiches, fairy cakes, iced biscuits with beautiful detailing, champagne… I let the staff know in advance that I was vegetarian, but would eat a little fish – so the sandwiches were made accordingly. They are just the right size of daintiness, served on Wedgewood flatware with a pretty geometric design. Other items from the menu were presented in delicate handmade ceramic bowls…
  • The Champagne?
  • Perfectly chilled Laurent Perrier Rose…
  • What’s in the teapot?
  • There’s a great tea menu – something for every taste. We chose lemongrass and ginger…

  • What’s the service like?
  • Impeccable… in fact the gorgeous hostess, Sally, was extremely helpful and appeared to be delighted to help video a few short pieces for our review… it’s always a particular pleasure when the staff live up to their reputation.
  • What was the highlight of the afternoon?
  • The Pret-A-Portea is so named because the focus of the menu is on couture fashion with biscuits, cookies and cakes inspired by designers such as Prada, Elie Saab, Victoria Beckham, Aruna Seth and Christian Dior. Whoever came up with the concept is a genius and the pastry chef has done a brilliant job of executing it. Before the Royal Wedding of Meghan and Harry they served individual biscuits in the shape of a wedding dress and slippers… currently the theme is Dior, to tie in with the current exhibition at the V&A nearby. Any leftovers can be taken home in a little lavender coloured bag designed as a mini hat box. The whole experience is exquisite… a must for the summer diary!

ACCESS THE SUMMER 2019 PRET-A-PORTEA MENU:–bars/afternoon-tea/dior-pret-a-portea-afternoon-tea-menu-22.02.19.pdf



S.G.G. RATING: 9.5 OUT OF 10

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