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Taking tea is so soigné, a revived ritual that is being re-experienced by natives as well as tourists, and an elegant and more original alternative to the pub or wine bar meeting place.

The Ritz, Browns, the Atheneaum and Harrods teatable.jpghave tourists booking up months in advance, eager to sample what they perceive to be our traditional fare, some prompted by such TV exports as Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs.

And as increasing numbers of English are taking tea again, this renewed popularity for a meal that had largely disappeared from the average English home has prompted a new wave of elegant tea shops to open up. These may be more properly described as tea salons, serving other meals as well as tea, but offering the sort of genteel surroundings that Bertie Wooster's aunts would have found acceptable.

Today’s teas, as served up in the exclusive establishments, are a somewhat refined version of the feasts of old. Sunday teas especially were a banquet, ranging from salmon and prawns and winkles through sandwiches, sausage rolls, trifle, jellies and cakes - all the more tearitz.jpgremarkable coming but a few short hours after the traditional Sunday roast.

Now, the fare is somewhat lighter - but not on the pocket. Taking Tea is certainly not a cheap option.

The Ritz, for good example, charges £40 per person, or £52 with a glass of champagne. But it does have quite the prettiest setting in London. www.theritzlondon.com

At top, teatime at The Athenaeum; above, the splendid tea room at the Ritz; below, al fresco tea setting at the Four Seasons; and bottom, the more masculine ambience of Browns, www.browns.com

The Athenaeum has been judged the top London tea spot of 2012 by the Tea Guild, and serves it daily from 12.30 to 7pm - which shows how tea time has changed. It starts at £28.50 up to £39 with a glass of honey fizz. www.athenaeumhotel.com

The Four Seasons on Park Lane has a lovely terrace for teatime. It charges £32, or £42 with a glass of Louis Roderer champagne – but for just an extra £1.50 or £7.50, you can indulge in their special Coronation Tea in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee.

teabrowns.jpgThis may seem a lot for a tea, but consider: It starts with a selection of suitably moist sandwiches, followed by scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Queen Elizabeth Cake comes next, a date and nut cake named after the Queen Mother, or a  Marie Biscuit Cheese Cake. Then comes Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth of ice cream and strawberries, as served at the Queen’s wedding breakfast, and of course the now ubiquitous Cup Cakes.

It is not mandatory, of course, to eat all of this. www.thefourseason.com/london



SUMMER 2012 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





contact Home - Contents in brief
contact Style 1 - Savile Row's Royal connections
contact Style 2 -Original styling from 60s style leader
contact Style 3 - World's oldest tailor makes robes for all ceremonies
contact Style 4 - Champagne party after open-house
contact Style 5 - Royal Mail includes bespoke images
contact Style 6 - Colour goes to the head and other parts
contact Textiles - Brighter future for menswear
contact Travel - Swiss pilgrimage by Sherlock Holmes followers
contact Gifts - Christopher Coles selects Royal treasures
contact Entertainment - Tea salons the latest meeting place
contact Boats - Rare Thames pleasure boat up for sale
contact Antiques - London's fairs add to Summer celebrations
contact Compendium - Links to the best brands and services
contact Contact - Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row - listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive - Back Issues



THOSE fine champagne houses, Mumm and Perrier Jouet hosted a seminar at London's swanky St Pancras hotel earlier this year to explore the world of luxury.

And the important finding was that it is in our anticipation of champagne or any other luxury treat that we derive the most pleasure - more than in the actual experience.

This was the message from Karen Pine, Professor of Developmental Psychology at Hertfordshire University.

Her research found that  “Delayed reward brings more pleasure than an instant reward,” she told her audience.

“It’s the difference between the primitive part of brain which compels us towards instant gratification and impulse purchases, but it’s the more recently developed frontal part of the brain which gives us self control and differentiates us from our caveman predecessors.

“Instant gratifiers are more likely to have behavioural problems and achieve less... whereas those who wait tend to be more successful and have better quality of life."

So waiting for that bespoke suit is a sign of civilised development. Maybe an instant sip of champagne though...