Saturday, 26 January 2013

Afternoon Tea at The British Museum


Did you know you could have afternoon tea at the British Museum?  A couple of friends celebrated their birthdays in very civilised style here last weekend.  I was previously unaware that upstairs at the Court Restaurant between three o'clock and five thirty they serve afternoon tea daily - cream tea with scones and jam, petit fours, afternoon blend, beautiful chinaware, pretty cake caddies... the works!  Even vegans and the gluten intolerant were catered for with a fruit platter and chocolate fondue option as well as a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes.


I have to say that I was very impressed with the food and service.  The last time I went to afternoon tea in London was at the Wolsely where we were surprised to find that we were not permitted to take photographs.  No such stuffiness at the Court Restaurant! The charming waiter obliging took photos of our group and I could snap away at my food to my heart's content.

In addition when we were kept waiting too long for our scones we were given a graceful apology and free top ups of our teapots. When our chocolate fondue had become cold and solid (it was minus one degree outside!) it was replaced on request without quibbling.  While at the Wolsely I found the petit fours selection extremely sweet, the Court Restaurant got the balance of sugar in their selection just right for me, just sweet enough without being cloying.  The chocolate fondue in particular was amazing!

The tea party participants had expressed an intention that they would get dressed up for the event so I was determined to wear a dress.  It was however an extremely cold day and snowing quite heavily in London so my determination to wear a dress was briefly threatened by the sub zero temperature outside.  But wear a dress I did, albeit over some serious layers of wool in the form of a turtle neck and tights.  I just couldn't bear the thought of bare arms and legs in this kind of weather.  It was that or let the snow defeat me back into sensible but dull wool trousers!


This is a dress by Carven which I have been stalking all season and which, lucky for me, I managed to find on sale at eighty percent off!  The Carven Autumn/Winter collection was one of my favourites this season.  This dress is made out of navy lace overlaying a nude lining and the design was apparently inspired by the intricate designs of stained glass windows.  I might have the central keyhole split stitched up a little more as this detail makes the dress very revealing and far less wearable otherwise.

The pattern of the lace reminded me of the spectacular design of the glass ceiling in the British Museum entrance with it's grand spirals of triangular glass panes, so it was only fitting I wore it to tea there.  However I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can wear this dress without butchering it's aesthetics by wearing all those layers of wool underneath!  We have definite plans to return to have afternoon tea at the Court Restaurant.  Maybe in the Spring!

26 comments:

  1. The blue lace dress is so lovely and 80% off is great!! I understand about the keyhole, although I like it, if it makes the dress to risque to wear constantly then that might need to be stitched. Maybe wait until you try wearing it a bit w/o the turtleneck and access your comfort level more then? I love high tea and high tea at the British Museum sound so fun! :)

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  2. The dress is incredible! Everithing about it - the fit, the pattern, the color and thos gorgeous sparcles! Love it)

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  3. What fun. I've never been to tea. I'll put that on my due list. Stay warm!

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  4. The Carven dress is beautiful—as soon as I saw the picture, I recognized it, for that pattern is simply divine. I'm so glad you were able to find the piece on sale; it makes the perfect tea dress!

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  5. the lace work on that dress is exquisite.

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  6. I love having afternoon tea : ) Seems like a great afternoon.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  7. Tea in lovely china is the best.

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  8. That is a SPECTACULAR dress! I love it - the keyhole is an interesting detail, and I'd hesitate to stitch it up. I think it would look nice with other colours (from camisoles?) under it.

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  9. The tea looks divine, as does your dress. The keyhole would be problematic for me, but the lace is really spectacular.

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  10. The dress is gorgeous! Well worth the wait.

    When my husband and I went to London for our honeymoon we had tea at the British Museum. Actually, we had afternoon tea somewhere every single day. Sometimes at our hotel (we stayed at the Grosvenor), or anywhere else we happened to be. It was lovely, and I promptly came home and learned to make scones!

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  11. That is a gorgeous dress, V, and perfect for the setting! I am hungering for those delicious pastries right now!

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  12. Oh my goodness..the dress is breathtaking. You have such wonderful taste. I adore, ADORE that dress!

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  13. I have never been to afternoon tea! I expect there is somewhere here that does such a thing.Everything looks delicious and classy and rather pleasant! Nice that dietary specifics were catered for.
    You frock is gorgeous! Bit of a peekaboo, but I love how you've Winter-ised it! X

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  14. Glad you didn't let frigid temps deter you from wearing the dress cuz it's GORGEOUS!

    I love the idea of an afternoon tea...so proper! :)

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  15. Gorgeous dress and quelle deal, and how perfect for the occasion! The tea looks lovely. I've done tea only once and it was in a swank hotel in Ottawa - they call it high tea there, but I realized they got it wrong as their tea was held in the early afternoon so they should have called it low tea if they were looking to history as a guide (whereas high tea was traditionally served in the high part of the afternoon - I love this kind of trivia). But high tea definitely sounds more swanky, doesn't it?

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  16. That tea sounds gorgeous! My friend has a book of 100 places to have tea in London and is working her way through them. We love to do tea together so I'll have to see if it is on the list and we can go! I am all about the clotted cream scones... mmm.
    I reccommend Eat, Shop, Do which is round the corner from Kings Cross. It's not high tea but really cosy, and delicious food.

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  17. I love the whole idea of having afternoon tea! That dress is gorgeous.

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  18. What a wonderful dress. I love the lace.

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  19. What an exquisite, delicious afternoon! I can't think of too many things more enjoyable than eating and dressing up for fun. Your dress is so beautiful and I love the way you "winterized' it.

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  20. Your dress is soooooo beautiful! The cut out work rivals the delicate prints in the tea china! I've never heard of chocolate fondue being served with afternoon tea, but that sounds absolutely perfect in my book.

    I just had friends over this weekend for afternoon tea/coffee. Served very similar tea sandwich things to what you've pictured. I also added some ebelskivers (nordic pancake balls) filled with Nutella. And instead of fondue, I had made some bittersweet chocolate mousse for dessert! I guess we were eating very similarly this weekend. - J xxx

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  21. Lovely description of your tea at the museum. It was as though we were there with you.

    The dress is spectacular, and I love the way that you layered it for warmth. The stalking paid off!

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  22. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. We did high tea at the Bath pump rooms for a friend's hen weekend, not the most traditional activities but much more fun than wearing fancy dress and drinking till we fell over!
    That dress is beautiful, I love the racy keyhole, for a flat chested wonder like me much more attractive than a low neckline! x

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  23. What a gorgeous dress! I love the pattern of it. When I make my trek across the pond I will be sure to stop at this museum for tea! :)

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  24. You've hardly butchered that exquisite work of art darling!! You show it off in the most glorious fashion!! xoxoxo

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  25. I love the way you wear that beautiful dress with all the under-layers to make it snow friendly. I have also been layering with dresses constantly. It would be too sad to not wear dresses in this weather, and we're just that bit too old to be teenagers catching our death in flimsy dresses for the sake of showing some flesh aren't we! You layer the dress really prettily. As for those petit fours, the macaron in particular caught my eye, YUM! Glad you had a very happy tea party.

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  26. Taking High Tea sounds so glamorous to my cowboy ears. It all looks delicious and that dress- stunning!

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