Last week I lost my tea virginity. To an Earl. Until this point, I had never had a proper cup of tea, only the fruity or herbal stuff. Nothing had prepared me for the peppery, orange perfumes of Pantry at 108’s Early Grey Tea which enticed me to have a sip. It is such a delight, that there is no need to have champagne with the Afternoon Tea. As a baker myself, it is always nice to sample a professional Afternoon Tea, and the array at the newly opened chic all day dining space Pantry at 108 Marylebone Lane (at The Marylebone Hotel) does not disappoint.
The show put on at Pantry is of great variety, and they have revived the usual, somewhat limited Afternoon Tea repertoire. There are six teas to choose from, four sandwiches, two lentil based amuse-bouches, jelly, scones, macaroons, brownies, and cakes, which inject a modern flavor to the traditional afternoon tea. Make sure to request the orange macaroons.
The scones are pleasantly light, and cream not clotted enough to feel like a coronary in a mouthful. Of all the Afternoon Teas I have sampled (of which there are many) this is the first which hasn’t left me feeling unpleasantly full, though this doesn’t mean it lacks flavour or volume.
There is also a gluten free, lower sugar and low dairy menu, and Pantry will cater to any dietary requirements that you have – a feat which is disappointingly missing from the majority of Afternoon Tea outlets. Whilst we had the ‘Classic’ tea menu, there is also Deluxe, but the Classic was easily luxe enough for us.
What pleasantly surprised me about the experience was the lack of pretentiousness; the clientele are made up of hotel guests and visitors who were quiet and far from flashy, and where Pantry really wins is the ambience. The Tea Room is very spacious; there is more than enough room between the tables to give you both intimacy and privacy, and it is flooded with natural light. The staff are a delight, and unlike in Fortnum and Mason, you can’t hear every word of the Americans’ conversation next to you, nor are you made to feel as if you must rush the experience in order to get the next customers in. No request is an inconvenience to a team that are clearly proud and passionate about their work.
The afternoon tea here is a wonderful way to simply take a few hours off from the world. We left rejuvenated and with revived taste buds. Thank goodness we didn’t have lunch, but I could easily be swayed by 108 Marylebone Lane’s dinner menu, and I am going to visit The Juicery this week (open from 7a.m.) for a breakfast smoothie.
108 Marylebone Lane
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
Phone: 0207 969 3900