Brummell recommends: Rodin Afternoon Tea, Rosewood London

To celebrate the Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece exhibition at The British Museum, the London hotel has launched a delicious and visually stunning experience inspired by the French sculptor’s works

Food and Drink 16 May 2018

The Rodin afternoon tea at London's Rosewood Hotel
The work of art that is the Rodin Afternoon Tea

The background

Anyone who has watched the contestants on Bake Off: The Professionals grapple with gravity-defying sugar sculptures will know, the world of pastry is one that goes far beyond just flavour profiles, and deep into the realms of art. It is a notion that Mark Perkins, executive pastry chef at the chic Rosewood London in Holborn, has taken quite literally, making a name for himself by laying on elaborate afternoon teas themed around the capital’s most important cultural highlights. The latest to get this sweet treatment is The British Museum’s Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece (until 29 July) . To coincide with the exhibition, Perkins has dreamed up a sophisticated array of sculptural pastries that pay tribute to some of the artist’s most famous creations.

The space

A refreshingly modern take on luxury when compared to some of the stalwarts of London’s traditional afternoon tea scene, the Mirror Room at the Rosewood London delivers on breathtaking glamour and Insta-worthy interiors. And just as much attention has been paid to the manner in which the food is presented. Here there are no twee multi-tiered cake stands, but instead each course is presented on a contemporary piece of table furniture conceived for the occasion by conceptual design specialists Studio Appétit.

The menu

As is customary, the only decision to be made is which teas to sample. The Rosewood London has made the choice that little bit harder by partnering with Mariage Frères, one of Paris’s most renowned suppliers, to curate an expansive selection ranging from the classic English Breakfast to rarer examples such as the Maori Blue, with its delicate, rich aroma of clover and sandalwood.

Once settled, it’s onto the sandwiches. Unlike much of the rest of the menu, these are largely traditional, although presented with a slight twist; think smoked salmon on rye, egg mayonnaise on a caramelised onion bread or, the best of all, chicken with tarragon mayonnaise on a vibrant green-hued spinach bread. Perfectly risen scones follow, served warm with lemon curd and strawberry and elderflower jam.

The main event is not one but two courses of miniature pastries. Acting almost as a sweet appetiser, the first round comprises three creations inspired by Les Fleurs du Mal, a collection of poetry by Charles Baudelaire that was illustrated by Rodin. Floral flavours, which often have the tendency to overpower, are applied with a deft touch. Lemon meringue tart comes with the slightest hint of lavender, a petite choux bun is piped with jasmine and vanilla cream, while the true highlight is the macaron, bursting with berries and undertones of violet.

This would be the culmination of the afternoon tea at many other establishments, but here it acts as mere build up to the showstopping finale of a trio of sculptural sweets. The most visually arresting is an interpretation of one of Rodin’s most iconic works, The Thinker, with the male silhouette rendered as a pillar of chocolate, hiding behind which is an Earl Grey mousse and chocolate sponge. Meanwhile, The Kiss packs the most punch, with a tart raspberry and rose jelly sitting atop a white chocolate sponge, with elegantly intertwining shards of marble chocolate representing the intertwined lovers seen in the original artwork. The Age of Bronze brings a decadent finishing touch, with a caramel crème brûlée encased in a chocolate nut coating, brushed with green-tinged bronze to represent the patina of the material favoured by the sculptor.

The bill

£55 per person. £65 with a glass of R de Ruinart Champagne, and £67 with a glass of R de Ruinart Rosé Champagne.


High-end and creative patisserie worthy of hanging in a gallery.

Read about Brummell’s visit to the superlative Pie Room at Rosewood London’s Holborn Dining Room here

Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN