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loves_to_travel Mar 19th, 2006 02:17 PM

Tea at Fortnum & Mason
I can purchase vouchers for tea at the Patio Restaurant rather than at the St. James Restaurant. The menu is not as extensive but the cost is a lot less. We have never done afternoon tea before. Do you think doing it in the Patio Restaurant will not be as nice? Do you think we should pay the extra money for St. James?

Underhill Mar 19th, 2006 02:49 PM

Afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason remains one of our fondest memories of London.

Neopolitan Mar 19th, 2006 03:07 PM

If the Patio Restaurant is a name for their "coffee shop" like room at the back on the ground floor, it is nothing special. Not terribly unlike sitting in a Denny's (OK, a bit of exaggeration). If doing a tea at Fortnum and Mason, I'd sure go for the full deal -- in the St. James, unless someone can give a better description of what this Patio restaurant is.

Neopolitan Mar 19th, 2006 03:10 PM

Never mind. I googled and found that the Patio restaurant is on the mezzanine. I'm not sure I even remember what that is like. And the newer pictures of the Fountain Restaurant (the ground floor one I was thinking of) look terribly elegant now. Has it changed that much in the past two years?

m_kingdom2 Mar 19th, 2006 03:19 PM

The Fountain hasn't changed for years, I believe it's to become a brasserie or something like that.

As for afternoon tea, it won't be bad there, but it won't be the supposedly grand affair it is in the fine hotels. Londoners don't do afternoon tea though, it's purely (well amost) for the tourists who think it's English. It's far more continental to eat patisserie really. Cucumber sandwiches are the English thing.

I frequently lunch at The Patio as it serves the sort of food one used to find in hotels before they went trendy. The ingredients are all good quality, and the overall dish offers nothing spectacular, but is wholesome and nostalgic too. Try their Welsh rarebit with tomato chutney or the current special of green pea rissotto with sautéed foie gros and sauternes jelly is very good too (and again a very "hotel dish"). For store food it's very good, and far better than anything Harrods or Selfridges offers. Their pudding and milkshakes are superb too. You go there for nostalgia, and that step back in time, not snappy service nor highly innovative cuisine. The St James's restaurant offers similarly hotel food, but instead of something that might be serve in the lobby, you move into the dining room....but just have lunch, forget the afternoon tea!

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