80 Days Around The World at The Kensington
A trip to The Kensington this spring will reward you with a globe-trotting afternoon tea experience, inspired by Jules Verne’s 1872 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Following the travels of protagonist Phileas Fogg on his explorations of the world, The Kensington’s new menu is the second instalment in the adventure series – and this time, we’re taking a trip to Asia.
This leg of the afternoon tea adventure will see diners led from the Middle East across Asia, stopping at Yemen, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. Take a seat in the pretty pastel tea lounge – a maximalist dream dressed up for spring with soft, sage green, couches, swirling floral wallpaper and pink wood panelling – and get ready for your journey with some bubbles, a cocktail (centred around Asian flavours) or a spot of tea. The team recommend starting with the Cloud Tea (a fragrant black tea harvested in the cloudy hills between Assam and Darjeeling – hence the name – with notes of rich caramel, malty note and apricot) as a savoury pairing, before moving on to the Jasmine Silver Tip Tea (a delicate white tea made using spring buds, which was originally intended for the Chinese Imperial family) for dessert. Both go down a treat while tucking into the international spread.
Savouries come in the form of amuse bouche and teatime sandwiches, starting in Yemen and ending in Singapore. Get your fill of Yemeni pitta breads lathered in hummus, an Indian twist on the classic cucumber sandwich, crispy bite-sized onion bhajis, miso and sweet potato tapioca balls from Hong Kong and Singaporean chicken satay. These set the tone with a burst of regional flavours that you wouldn’t first place in an afternoon tea, but soon after couldn’t do without.
Now for the sweets: a mixture of cakes, puddings and pastries. Kick off the selection with the kheer pudding, which makes an excellent palette cleanser with the addition of raspberry compote and pistachio cream, before tucking into the cakes. You’ll be treated to traditional basbousa soaked in orange and rose water, a zingy pandan and mango delice (our personal favourite) and a black sesame and mandarin choux whose black exterior gives way to a vibrant orange inside.
We’re finally brough back to the Royal Borough of Kensington with a classic: scones. Served warm from the kitchen with lashings of homemade jam and clotted cream, the experience feels a little bit like coming back home. While the experience comes to an end here, it leaves us excited for what the next chapter entails. This is one story we’re not ready to put down just yet.
Review by Charlie Colville
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