Belgravia in Bloom is the sign that summer has arrived in this corner of London. Running in tandem with Chelsea in Bloom, Belgravia seems a little bit more understated.
This year’s theme celebrates Frida Kahlo, her art and but not so much her activism. Some outlets around Belgravia have put up floral installations in the colourful Mexican theme and some with Frida as the object in the piece. Frida is Mexico’s greatest female artist and if you don’t know much about her, this film with Salma Hayek is just superb.
Nearby, the Mexican embassy have a couple of collages in their windows with quotes from Frida. You’d have to be looking for these to see them as they are not quite eye level from the street.
The Halkin is celebrating this year’s Belgravia in Bloom with an afternoon tea paired with the opportunity to try one of the specially created Mexican flower head dresses, much favoured by Frida. The Halkin is pretty design boutique hotel tucked away in one of the streets off Belgrave Square. Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is the Michelin Starred London outpost for their 2 star San Sebastian restaurant. You’d expect them to tackle this very English institution with their own Basque style.
The Halkin worked with Belgravia based milliner, Jane Taylor, to create this hat etiquette guide as well as a list of English summer hat inspired cocktails. Jane has made hats for the Royal and family throughout the summer, she can visit you at the hotel for bespoke consultations and personalised hat fittings.
I’d recommend starting with one of the floral cocktails. Then move on to one of the many splendid Jing teas on offer. We especially liked the Keemun with whole rose buds, perfumed with a mingling of a tea and rose scent. The other choice to consider is the silver needle if you prefer something a little bit lighter.
Afternoon Tea at the Halkin is not your regular English Afternoon tea with neat cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream. Instead, on this Spanish inspired menu, you get a selection of savoury tapas done in the signature Ametsa with Arzak Instruction style. This is followed by a selection of desserts, fit for a michelin restaurant.
The first savoury plate we have a savoury waffle with a little quails egg. Next the Txangurro spider crab, a pink shell that is meant to represent a crab, filled with crab meat. Then there is a Garlic Pintxo and a tangy tomato and raspberry soup, their summer version of a gazpacho. The second plate delivered the most delicious ham croquette and a “Txistorra Granary Sandwich” which is actually 2 crispy granay wafers enclosing a hidden fast cured sausage from the Basque country.
The drama kicks up a gear with the desserts. The showstopper is a piece of charcoal chocolate covered pineapple, on a bed of “ash” served in a smokey cloche. It is quite the most unique pineapple dessert I have ever had.
A glass of chocolate with one churro is just so the ultimate indulgence although we could have done with another churro to scoop up that delicious chocolate.
More desserts followed with Mango torrija, a stunning Ametsa with Arzak Instruction Cheesecake, a zingy Passion Fruit Cake and a luscious Catalan Cream. All these delicate sweet delights might not seem like much but with so many flavours and textures, your tastebuds will be fully sated.
Afternoon tea is served in the lounge off the lobby of the Halkin. The service is knowledgeable and attentive. As you have a choice of teas, you can try a couple of the fragrant choices from the menu. Being a short walk from Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon indulging in a leisurely tea.
This Frida themed afternoon tea is on until the end of June, prices from £34 or $=£48 for a glass of Taittinger Brut.
EatCookExplore was a guest of Ametsa with Arzak Instruction and como The Halkin Hotel