Renowned for its incredible wine and french food, situated in the heart of Covent Garden is Balthazar. You’ve probably already heard of it; established first in America in 1997 by the wonderfully charming Keith McNally and the place that’s always topping the ‘best places to eat’ charts in London. I’ve wanted to eat here for so long so I jumped at the chance of visiting for the Matthew Williamson x Balthazar Afternoon Tea before it ended in February.
I often find afternoon tea a bit ‘whatever’. More often than not, behind all that grandiose is a mouthful of disappointment and a dissatisfying level of over indulgence. This was so not the case with Balthazar though. When presented with a beguiling mix of colourful cakes and delicately cut sandwiches, I was first completely taken aback by the elaborate designs and the beautiful jewel coloured palette inspired by Matthew’s most recent collection drawn from the birthstones of the 12 zodiac signs. After just one taste of the smoked salmon and lemon crème frâiche sandwich, I knew this was going to be glorious.
So naturally my bride-to-be diet went completely out of the window here. With a selection of five light and fluffy sandwiches from your typical egg mayo and watercress to cucumber, pea purée and mint, it was impossible not to try everything. The deliciously warm baked scones were inviting and intolerably mouth watering to look at so after smothering it in clotted cream and the Balthazar home made strawberry jam, I literally couldn’t care less if I put on five stone – I was loving life!
It all came to a monumental end with the delicious desserts. Balthazar’s Head Pastry Chef, Régis Beauregard and his team are responsible for creating these complicated creations, again inspired by Matthew Williamson’s AW15 collection. The intricately designed éclair, almond and hazelnut rocher and the blueberry macaron (which definitely needs to be shared) were the winners during the impressive hour and a half and it upset me to leave half of the raspberry & hibiscus baba. Portion sizes are spot on and they’re tasty enough to leave you wanting more a few hours later.
View the full Matthew Williamson Afternoon Tea at Balthazar here. Note that it is now only available until Friday 5 February 2016 and is served from 3pm to 5pm. Prices start from just £25 per person and will make a truly memorable treat. They even have a ‘Cosmic Cocktail’ option if you’re not on dry January.