recommendations for High Tea in London

May 14th, 2004, 12:50 PM
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recommendations for High Tea in London

Does anybody have any recommendations for HIGH TEA in London? And yes, I do mean high tea and not a fancy afternoon tea. Thanks.
ingrid is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Any restaurant that serves food at around 5pm, try McDonalds.

High tea is a very working class affair, quite why you want it I'm not sure. Have a late lunch or pre-theatre dinner instead.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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The Ritz. Look at their website. I think it begins about 4pm. Jacket required (can't remember about tie). You will not need dinner. Maybe this is not HIGH TEA but I thought it was. It might be what you consider a fancy tea.
mimipam is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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We went to the Dorchester a few years back for afternoon tea. It was lovely. If they have High Tea it is a beautiful setting with lovely service.
risab is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Ingrid, you should explain to baffled readers the difference between high tea and afternoon tea.

I know it, you know it and we both know you will never get high tea at the Dorchester or the Ritz. Please illuminate the others, so they can avoid the embarrassment of asking for the working-class meal when they want the posh snack
tedgale is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 04:30 AM
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High tea is an early evening meal, usually served around 6 p.m. and consists of, obviously, tea, bread, butter, jam, meat or fish dishes, pastries, cheese, cake ... [things like welsh rarebit, shepherd's pie, etc.] I've had it in people's houses, and no, they weren't "working class" ---- though I don't get why McDonalds would be preferable to a "working class affair", m_kingdom.
Now, why do I want it? Because I'm (a) looking for an early dinner that I thought would be an interesting experience for my kids; (b) nobody will invite me to their house (where this type of meal is eaten); and (c) because I thought there might be place that serves a set "high tea" rather than me trying to recreate this type of meal in a pub/restaurant.
ingrid is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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I was a little baffled by your request for a high tea. Your description of the contents of the meal are accurate but it's most definitely associated with the working class. It became known as that in the 1700's and was the main or "high" meal of the day for the common folks. Given that, it seems unlikely a restaurant would advertise having a set version of high tea unless it was for a novelty like one of those medieval banquets.

obxgirl is online now  
May 15th, 2004, 05:09 AM
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I thought what we had at the Ritz WAS high tea- but I guess not. At any was wonderful and fancy and so so British! We reserved months in advance. I would not however - take any children there -unless they are over 8 years old. My personal pet peeve - - children and babies in places where adults pay alot to be treated special - only to be ruined by parents who think their noisy children are "cute".
Dorgal is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 06:30 AM
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Ingrid, you do not have high tea in a restaurant. When I first moved to London a girl in my office always talked about what she was going to have for tea; took me a while to realise she meant what I would call dinner. It's true that so-called 'upper classes' would not call their dinner 'tea'.
Tulips is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Ingrid is right about "high tea" being a meal
served instead of dinner at around 6 p.m.
Historically, it was the substitute for dinner
in working class families, e.g. when the father typically came home from his job
(often an industrial job). It was eaten relatively early since the dad had been gone
since early a.m. and would go to bed early.
Very popular in Ireland. Various references
to it in literature of Joyce and others. An interesting aside, and perhaps support for
the proposition that high tea was the working class's substitute for dinner: On the Titanic (as evidenced from menu records),
while first and second class passengers were served "dinner", the 3rd class (steerage) passengers were served "high tea" as their evening meal.
Boonie is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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The Lanesborough Hotel is quite nice. Doesn't get as much tourist traffic, and the sitting area is very plush.
Suisse is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Someone told me this afternoon that the Dorchester Hotel offers a high tea (at 32 GBP a head!) which is apparently popular as a pre-theatre meal. I did a google search on dorchester and high tea and, sure enough, there are a number of entries.

The irony of pricey high tea at a hotel like the Dorchester is rich but at least ingrid will not have to kludge something together.
obxgirl is online now  
May 15th, 2004, 12:16 PM
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Thanks, Boonie. I appreciated that tidbit of history. Very interesting!
Iregeo is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Many people think a fancy afternoon tea is "so so English", it originated in places such as Vienna, where they were much more into patisserie. Traditional English food is very plain consisting mainly of roasted meats, with vegetables. It was only when chefs from Paris were employed that haute cusine was born in Britain.

The Dorchester do not offer high tea, the web-sites are mistaken, they either mean an afternoon tea of a pre-theatre dinner, nothing else. If you want an early dinner, try asking for help with pre-theatre meals.

People who live in London do not take "high tea", it's a much more up north affair.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 12:31 PM
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m_k2, The person who shared the information is a Londoner. A number of the websites referring to tea at the Dorchester (of the afternoon, high and champagne varieties) are British.

Stuff it, would you?
obxgirl is online now  
May 15th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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M-Kingdom is right-high tea is a meal of some sorts -(and for the Americans, maybe Mickey D's is the place to steer them for that!(smile). If someone is looking for a nice "fancy" tea- they should perhaps ask who serves a nice "cream tea" as they say in England (although once, when I was a student in Edinburgh- I asked for a cream tea- and the server had no idea what I was talking about- when I explained that's what the English called it, with scones and clotted cream and the like, he snickered and said that it was just called "tea" here in Scotland- and then added some choice expletives about the English and their ways!
May 15th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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The Dorchester is not a working class establishment, they offer an high tea for children, adults taking such a meal are most misguided.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Although it is simply a menu item and not called 'high tea' you can have a delicious, if expensive welsh rarebit at Fortnum and Masons' Fountain restaurant anytime up until 7 p.m., at least on Thursdays. There were other savoury dishes available as well, including a risotto which I don't think is considered typical British working class fare. : - ) The tea itself is, needless to say, fabulous, steeped from loose leaves and served piping hot with a side flask of hot water.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
May 16th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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My kids are 12 and 14 so they're not crying (at least not in public) but I don't think I'm ready to spend 90 GBP for the fancy tea experience. Rather than taking them to London (for the first time to England) and feeding them food that they can have here, too, I was looking for a more "typical" early dining experience. Yes, we'll have a nice afternoon tea, probably in the Orangerie or any other place that serves good "cream tea." They also asked for "fish and chips", so I'll read up on that thread. The solution will probably be to get some good pub food rather than trying to get a "working class dinner." (I thought the comment that it might be a novelty experience like the medieval dinners, was hilarious --- maybe sometime in the future?). Thanks for all the comments.
ingrid is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Ingrid You may want to try Browns not the Hotel but Browns on St Martin's Lane, near Leicester Square, is a low cost bistro style lunch and dinner place that also has a bar and does tea and coffee etc and has a number of simple dishes.
Italiano is offline  

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