Mother-in-law is in town, so this week we took her to the fancy Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills for afternoon tea.
Wonderful ambiance nice opportunity to dress sharp reasonably good service. I have a few tiny quibbles, but nothing major.
Well, take the booking process. Phoned the day before for a Wednesday seating. (NB youd have to book well in advance for the weekend, natch.) Was told party of five could be accommodated at 5.30pm. Bit too close to dinner time for my comfort. Seeing as I had only just left a message for the other couple, I then asked if they could accommodate three persons for 3pm and received a snarky comment about me dis-inviting two of the guests. Well, it was short notice and I wasnt even sure if theyd be able to join us. Turns out she managed to seat five of us at 2.30pm. When we (all) got there, the place was barely half-full.
Lovely live harp performance throughout the afternoon.
Three of us ordered the Royal Tea ($28 pp with a glass of house champagne), the other couple ordered the Imperial Tea which, in addition to the contents of the Royal Tea, has a mini cube of caviar cake and fancier champagne ($42 pp). Im sure their champers was fantastic, but ours was just great.
For the Royal Tea you get strawberries and cream accompanied by champagne, then your choice of tea plus sandwiches, pastries and scones.
Now, can someone illuminate me? I know my way around place settings, but I was mystified by the fact that we were not given any silverware for the strawberries course. We were, however, provided with a small salad fork plus a knife and fork. We all proceeded to eat our sweet, slivered strawberries with the first, small fork. Does that seem right?
Next came our tea and a three-tiered, silver serving tray with scones (one plain, one currant, served with Devonshire cream and preserves), three tiny pastries and finger sandwiches (four types each). Sandwiches are charred vegetables on wheat bread with pesto spread; curried chicken on sweet raisin bread; their own exceptional smoked salmon on dark bread with boursin spread; and cucumber, watercress, pimento and dill. Pastries were a tiny profiterole with butterscotch custard, a cube of tiramisu and a little tartlet.
The teas they have are excellent. I opted for the Earl Grey and drank three cups, even though I am really a coffee drinker. But some of the exotic ones on offer are Caramel Pear also Tahitian Vanilla, as well as Oolong and top-drawer Green Teas.
Now heres the hot tip. The others opted for double sandwiches instead of the pastries and we (except for M-I-L) followed suit. That proved to be a very good choice as you got more bang for your buck and your sweet-tooth was amply compensated for by the strawberries and the marvellous scones.
Funny incident one of our foodie companions (iwhose favourite eight letters in the world are fois gras, BTW) accidently dropped a blob of jam in my tea strainer. When the server went to refill my tea cup (I had to ask her each time, which was tiresome) she went to use it anyway so I was compelled to point out the giant foreign substance therein. She then used someone elses tea strainer, which was fine by me.
Delicious, filling and highly recommended. Two scones and three exquisite sandwiches came home with us.
Validated valet parking is $5.00
The Peninsula Beverly Hills The Belvedere Restaurant
9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, USA
Tel: (1-310) 551 2888
Fax: (1-310) 788 2319
Toll Free: (1-800) 462 7899 (USA and Canada only)