Did you know you could have afternoon tea at the British Museum? A couple of friends celebrated their birthdays in very civilised style here last weekend. I was previously unaware that upstairs at the Court Restaurant between three o'clock and five thirty they serve afternoon tea daily - cream tea with scones and jam, petit fours, afternoon blend, beautiful chinaware, pretty cake caddies... the works! Even vegans and the gluten intolerant were catered for with a fruit platter and chocolate fondue option as well as a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes.
I have to say that I was very impressed with the food and service. The last time I went to afternoon tea in London was at the Wolsely where we were surprised to find that we were not permitted to take photographs. No such stuffiness at the Court Restaurant! The charming waiter obliging took photos of our group and I could snap away at my food to my heart's content.
In addition when we were kept waiting too long for our scones we were given a graceful apology and free top ups of our teapots. When our chocolate fondue had become cold and solid (it was minus one degree outside!) it was replaced on request without quibbling. While at the Wolsely I found the petit fours selection extremely sweet, the Court Restaurant got the balance of sugar in their selection just right for me, just sweet enough without being cloying. The chocolate fondue in particular was amazing!
The tea party participants had expressed an intention that they would get dressed up for the event so I was determined to wear a dress. It was however an extremely cold day and snowing quite heavily in London so my determination to wear a dress was briefly threatened by the sub zero temperature outside. But wear a dress I did, albeit over some serious layers of wool in the form of a turtle neck and tights. I just couldn't bear the thought of bare arms and legs in this kind of weather. It was that or let the snow defeat me back into sensible but dull wool trousers!
This is a dress by Carven which I have been stalking all season and which, lucky for me, I managed to find on sale at eighty percent off! The Carven Autumn/Winter collection was one of my favourites this season. This dress is made out of navy lace overlaying a nude lining and the design was apparently inspired by the intricate designs of stained glass windows. I might have the central keyhole split stitched up a little more as this detail makes the dress very revealing and far less wearable otherwise.
The pattern of the lace reminded me of the spectacular design of the glass ceiling in the British Museum entrance with it's grand spirals of triangular glass panes, so it was only fitting I wore it to tea there. However I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can wear this dress without butchering it's aesthetics by wearing all those layers of wool underneath! We have definite plans to return to have afternoon tea at the Court Restaurant. Maybe in the Spring!