Daily Archives: March 20, 2007

Afternoon tea with Cheese Board scones

afternoon tea

I love the ritual of afternoon tea–scones and devon cream and little sandwiches in the lull of an afternoon and in the company of a companion. This time, I went to Brown’s, the highly regarded afternoon tea place in the Mayfair district–for many people, afternoon tea is synonymous with Brown’s.

I was honestly disappointed with Brown’s for tea, feeling rather cramped and uncomfortable in their space. While it definitely has an air of history, I was dismayed by the seating arrangements–the two of us were cramped into a seating arrangement that was clearly for four (one of us having to share a loveseat sofa with someone from another party). The sandwiches and pastries were unremarkable–so what’s the big deal?

Still, afternoon tea is quite a delight in my book. When I go to London, afternoon tea is an indulgement that I rediscover–and when I return home, a ritual that I crave for quite some time.

But why crave it? Why not indulge it?

On impulse, I decided to make some scones (the Cheese Board recipe, my favorite!), buy some devon clotted cream, and make little sandwiches. On further impulse, I invited a friend over for afternoon tea.

scones done

Click–when things come together, it is quite a wonder. This afternoon, we had an impulse tea, complete with fresh baked scones, devon cream, jam, and little egg salad finger sandwiches. Accompanied, of course, by Mariage Freres’ Marco Polo Rouge (rooibos) tea.

It was a great little break in the day, one that got two friends to sit down, if for a brief moment, to pause and share an enjoyable hour together. Genius.

Why do I not indulge myself more often? You ought to try it, too.

The Cheese Board scone recipe follows…

scone batter

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F*cking good! (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay)

2nd course seared scallop

We went to Gordon Ramsay’s 3 Michelin star flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road–one of Restaurant Magazine’s Top 50 restaurants in the world. It consistently lands in the top 20, and in 2005 and 2004, it was one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, keeping good company with El Bulli, Fat Duck, French Laundry and Pierre Gagnaire.

Gordon Ramsay has a sort of cult status in Britain–he takes up considerable real estate in the cookbook section of Foyles bookstore, and his TV show, The F Word (haha, the very obvious play on his tendency to swear–a LOT) has a brilliant following. Plus, he has at least 9 restaurants in London alone; in a sense, Ramsay is the culinary beacon of England. He burns bright and sometimes, angry.

Americans may know him from his television show, “Hell’s Kitchen” and his new restaurant in New York.

We arrived at Restarant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road nearly 45 minutes early for our seating–usually, a bit of an awkward situation at restaurants. Our plans included sitting at the bar and waiting for our seat. At Gordon Ramsay? No problem. We were seated IMMEDIATELY, to our great delight.  (Later, during our chat with the staff, we found that the restaurant normally only does one seating a night, holding that table for one party).

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