The tradition of pouring afternoon tea continues with as much pomp and pageantry as the recently concluded celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and it doesn't get much better than at The Milestone Hotel. Where? Well, save for the knowledgeable black cab drivers, this five-star boutique hotel located at 1 Kensington Court came under our radar as a result of an extraordinary dinner party hosted by Anthony, Jean and James Watson for our recently appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Aloun N'Dombet Assamba. The globe-trotting Watsons, who were in the United Kingdom for the Summer Olympics, had chosen one of the smartest addresses in the city.
If dinner was impressive, tea at the Milestone, winner of The Tea Guild's Award of Excellence 2011, is the type of affair you want to call up all of your girlfriends and have them join you.
Take a peek...
Afternoon tea as a specific meal did not evolve until the beginning of the 19 th century, although the drink had been popular since its introduction in 1559.
Anna, Duchess of Bedford, invented the meal to fill the time between early luncheon and late dinner, which she felt proved to be the low point of many a country house party.
As time progressed, it became a meal surrounded by etiquette and very strange customs: silver teapots, delicate china, cake stands, starched napkins, whether to pour the milk before or after the tea.
The heyday of afternoon tea was in the days of the British Empire in India when the "Sahib" and his family, having taken early luncheon, would have to wait until the cool of the late evening to take dinner.
Afternoon tea once again filled the gap when they returned to England they brought the ceremony back with them.
It was at this point that the fashionable hotels took whole-heartedly to the serving of traditional afternoon and Devonshire cream teas.
Some Famous Sayings:
"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage" - Catherine Douzel.
"If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you" - Gladstone (1865) Victorian British Prime Minister
"Tea though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities...will always be the favoured beverage of the intellectual" - Thomas DeQuincy (1875-1959)
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea" - Henry James
"In nothing more is the English genius for domesticity more notably declared than in the institution of this festival — almost one may call it — of afternoon tea... the mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose" - George Gissing.
The Milestone Hotel
1 Kensington Court