Situated just a scone throw away from Buckingham Palace, The Goring is a London institution, and is the only hotel to get a Royal Warrant from the Queen. It’s also the very first hotel in the world to have en suite bathrooms and central heating installed back in 1910. The hotel has a strong connection with the British royal family. Queen Mary frequently came for tea with her Lady in Waiting, Violet d’Arcy, who lived at the hotel. It was Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s favourite hotel, and her bust, standing on a plinth designed by her grandson, Lord David Linley, is on display at the hotel’s reception. It has also served as an annexe to Buckingham Palace for decades hosting royal families from around the world during the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. It has been rumoured that there is a secret tunnel connecting the hotel to Buckingham Palace. The Middleton family stayed here the night before Kate married Prince William in 2011.
As soon as we got there, we were seated very quickly on a corner table at the terrace overlooking the hotel’s garden. It was the beginning of the summer season, not so warm nor windy, and it was considerably calmer.
Our server was quick and attentive, and well-versed with the tea blends and everything else on offer. They have a considerable number of tea and tisanes: black, white, green, etc., on offer to suit every palate. I went for my number one favourite – green tea, followed by the house blend – Silver Needle, a very delicate and mild blend, and lastly, oolong tea.
The menu consists of a selection of traditional classics. Like many hotels that offer afternoon tea, there is plenty available for anyone to eat, from the sandwiches, scones to the desserts. The sandwiches were excellent. There were three fillings — smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill, roast turkey and stuffing , honey glazed gammon ham and cranberry pickle and cucumber/egg mayonnaise. Each sandwich is well stocked with fillings and freshly made.
The crockery, in bright yellow, has the silhouette of the hotel’s founder, Otto Richard Goring, in the middle.
The scones, both the plain and fruit, were served with Devonshire clotted cream and two types of jams – strawberry and raspberry. Freshly baked and served warm, they were crunchy on the outer layer and fluffy inside, just the way I like my scones!
The sweets and deserts were incredible. We were presented with this two huge three tier tray and the top plate was filled with an impressive display of sweets.
The cakes were faultless. But this particular one, a type of shortcake on the bottom topped with light caramel mouse, chocolate, cream and gold leaf was full of surprises and beautiful flavours. I absolutely loved it. Wish I could replicate it at home.
The Goring certainly offers an absolutely exquisite afternoon tea. The hotel’s interior is a mixture of old fashioned sophistication and stylish modernity, and the atmosphere felt very classy but not stuffy. Overall, it’s the hotel’s friendly and efficient staff as well as the elegant surroundings that really impressed us and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough.