Thursday, 19 January 2012

A real "taste" of The Gherkin

My poor waist line has taking a fair old amount of cakes, sandwiches and bubbles this side of January, so rather than deprive myself of Afternoon Tea; I found one that makes me feel less guilty.  Afternoon Tea in the City with a guided walk.  You will be relieved to know that the two things are not combined, so there’s no having to cram your cake in whilst dodging the London city workers, leaving a trail of crumbs that Dick Whittington would get stressed out about, slurping your tea from a flask.  The Tea is the treat that awaits you at the Harvey Nichols, Prism.

So, what to wear?  Well, that left me in a bit of a pickle.  Killer heels and floral dress that I would normally don for an occasion such as tea, wouldn’t really work with hiking around the City.  Panic over though as the tour meets at the Prism.  There you can drop of your bags, kick off the heels and put on the trainers (until your return of course).

Our tour guide, Rebecca, with a unique customised tour exclusive to The Prism, took us on a fascinating walk through the City.  Through alleys, to Jack the Rippers haunting grounds, to The old Tea warehouse (intended to build up our thirst) and shared with us the secrets of the City, overlooked by a glass shaped gherkin and a Richard Rogers Architectural masterpiece dwarfing the historical City below.  Of course, I’m not going to tell you all of the secrets, that part is for you to discover.

It was a wonderful to take the time out and become a tourist in the city in which live.  I was now a part of the group that stopped at the traffic lights and lingered on street corners (not in the Medieval Era way, I hasten to add) whilst the City workers dodged us as if we were actually from the Victorian era and may pass on the Plague, but I cared not.  I was for once absorbing the City that I so often pass by in a hurry (avoiding tourists).

The Secrets of The City tour lasted 1 ½ hours before being walked and talked back to The Prism.  Rain Mac off, Heels on, it was time for a much deserved tea.
It’s common knowledge that most places you go to for Afternoon tea, is echoed with the sound of ladies chatter, but not here at the Prism.  There is a rather unique, Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea”.  After all, if you can’t beat em – eat cake with them! 

I have to say, I was pretty tempted by the beef and gherkin baguette, scotch eggs and piccalilli with Apple fool and custard.  Lucky for me, my boyfriend had accompanied me and so I could share his (if I was quick).  So, I opted for the Traditional Tea and a cup of Earl Grey.

The selections of sandwiches served were really tasty, all home made from Prisms’ own recipes.  Conversation was easy – a memory jog of new discovered London and more learning to be done as on each table was a little booklet with interesting Facts about Afternoon tea!  Not to say I wouldnt normally have a good conversation with my boyfriend, but you know what men are like – they don’t’ rattle on like some of us women quite often do over tea!

The staff are all very friendly and “Citified”.  I was even given a little doggy bag for my left over’s, it looked as If I had spent a fortune in Harvey Nicks as they kindly packaged it all up for me!  I’m sure at some point in the evening I could find a spot for more cake (which I of course did) after all, I had walked for it.

So, I’d had a really good day out combining culture with Tea.  I found some great new parts to London that I will be revisiting soon and whilst my brain may not have been as sponge like as the Victoria one that had been consumed earlier in the day, I now know some of the City’s Secrets that were of course gossiped over with a nice cup of tea!  Oh, if only you knew......  Perfect X

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