Imagine just for a moment drinking champagne with 24 karat edible gold flakes and eating cakes and dainty morsels decorated with tiny sparkling gold leaf. But before you raise your eyebrows, or feel disgusted with the idea of ingesting bits and pieces of the world’s third most precious metal, let me just say from the outset that gold is totally safe to eat. (Gold is inert, or inactive, it is not absorbed by the body but goes down the digestive track without any trouble, though too much consumption can cause constipation.) Lest you think that it may have costs us an arm and a leg; no, it didn’t. It was my friend’s birthday and instead of allowing me to treat her for the special occasion, she didn’t let me, and would never let me. Ever. Thank you Adiben. And no, she didn’t miss her monthly mortgage just so we could enjoy gold tea. It did cost her only an hour of sweat, or rather stress, at work. 🙂
We arrived a bit early (or so we thought), and decided to walk around the courtyard, the restaurants, the lobby and ladies room, and we practically explored this massive hotel before we informed the receptionist that we were there for tea. Only to find out that we arrived way ‘too early’ (a week earlier than scheduled as Adiben marked down on her diary the wrong date after she phoned the hotel haha) but it all worked out. She celebrated her birthday a few days before, and the duty manager was very gracious and accommodating. So we were seated shortly despite the little mishap; and were both in a jubilant mood, thrilled to eat gold for the first time! 🙂
They have a selection of white, green, black and herbal tea infusions. We ordered chocolate and mint as well as genmaicha (roasted green tea) to start with, and we also tried their house blend but genmaicha was our number one favourite.
The waiter then brought a small bottle of Luxor Pure Gold 24K Brut Champagne. It’s infused with edible 24 carat gold flakes that glitter in the bottle, and as we watched the gold specks disperse in the glass it became a talking point. And we spent a few minutes talking about it, in hushed tones of course. 😉
Now for the savouries, they are not your traditional finger sandwiches, but a different variety of delicious and freshly made hors d’oeuvre. The beetroot bread with sun dried cherry tomatoes, parma ham and ruccola millefeuille and smoked salmon pinwheels were the best.
Then the gold three-tiered cake stand filled with sweet delights was brought in, and our jaw practically dropped when we saw that all the cakes and pastries were topped with edible glitters. Even the jam and cream had dustings of gold. It truly was an indulgent affair, quite a unique experience.
The scones were moist, with golden crumb and utterly delicious.
The champagne and gold leaf jelly topped with strawberry foam was absolutely amazing. Everything was so good that it’s hard to pick a favourite but the extraordinary flavour of the white chocolate cake with gold leaf (bottom left photo) was unforgettable. It’s sweet, creamy, chocolatey and with hidden candy that pops in the mouth. The pâtissièr who made it is obviously very talented.
None of the other tea rooms we’ve been to in London can rival the variety of pastries at St. James’ — it simply is the best we have experienced. Yes, Adiben and I have had our fair share of afternoon teas — The Ritz, The Savoy, The Langham, to name but a few. Over the years, I’ve written on my diary my thoughts about each of the tea rooms we’ve been to — the ‘puddings’ and ‘tea blends’; the customer service, etc. — all 50+ tearooms, from five star hotels to obscure and off the beaten track tea places. Mind you, I’ve been living here for 17 years so that’s not much tearooms in my humble opinion. (Adiben was with me in majority of those teatime so when we say we are ‘tea aficionados’ we mean business.😂)
I must say that when it comes to tea treats, St. James’ Afternoon Tea is indeed the gold standard.
Did Adiben and I get drunk, you ask? No, certainly not. We both had more or less 100ml of gold champagne, it tasted delicious, but it wasn’t enough to even get us a tad bit tipsy. It was our first time to try it and to be perfectly honest, save for the glitter it brings, the gold leaf didn’t make much any difference in taste. It was actually a bit disappointing as we were expecting a distinct, unique flavour, or to at least feel the gold flakes in the tongue, but there was none of that.
Unlike our tea experience at The Langham or any of the five star hotels in London, it wasn’t a formal affair but rather an informal and very relaxed atmosphere at St. James’. None of those giant Venetian glass chandeliers, or a pianist, or an orchestra serenading us, but it was a classy and comfortable tea room, and we had a regal experience. It was our first time at St James’ Court Hotel and certainly won’t be the last. We are on a never-ending hunt for a new tea experience.
Every time my church mates, or Philippine Embassy friends, or health club friends, or any of my visiting family and friends from around the world would ask me for afternoon tea recommendations in London, I always put St. James’ on top of the list.
The hotel has a rich history (its origin goes back to the Elizabethan aristocracy), and located in the heart of London, just a ‘scone’ throw away to Buckingham Palace.
This may be a late post but I have to thank Sister Adiben once again for the special tea-treat. We highly recommend afternoon tea at St. James’ Court. They have seasonal tea promotions; sadly, this gold tea is no longer on offer. Currently they have Sherlock Holmes as well as Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea. You can check it here.