If you ask me, birthdays are to be celebrated over at least a week. Maybe two if you can get away with it! With that in mind I grabbed one of my best girlfriends, Carrie, and headed over to Belgravia to afternoon tea at Ametsa at COMO The Halkin.
Having stayed at COMO Metropolitan Bangkok very recently (okay, not so recently anymore – I need to book a holiday ASAP!) I was excited to see one of the London COMO hotels.
COMO The Halkin is home to Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, a one Michelin star Basque restaurant that I’ve had my eye on for a while (and still do!). Being a Basque restaurant, it’s not surprising that the afternoon tea is Spanish themed and not a traditional British afternoon tea. Instead of the traditional glass of champagne, we started with a signature cocktail, The Ametsa Royale, made with Sipsmith Sloe gin and rosé cava.
As Carrie and I caught up and said cheers to birthday, our lovely waitress brought us tea (mint tea for Carrie and white peony tea for me) and explained that tea here was a little different…
Instead of one tea serving, the savoury delights are brought on a silver service to start.
A duck skewer served with beetroot infused shallot to start… Before tucking into delicious, light ham and cheese croquettes, served with crispy potato thins.
I really liked that not only is the tea different to the usual scones and tea (I’m sorry scone lovers, this time, the scones are sitting out!), but that this tea is perfectly light.
Next along the plate was my favourite savoury of the day: a red onion chutney and cheese mini toastie, served on a light sourdough bread.
As someone who loves tapas, I loved the unique take on such a British classic. The last dish on the savoury plate was a very creative twist: named broken eggs, this dish was a mini waffle served with a quail’s egg on top. Carrie’s egg was perfectly cooked and was perfectly runny over her soft, fluffy waffle. Sadly mine was a little overdone so I didn’t get that satisfying runny yolk.
Beside the main plate, a side slate plate holds the last two savoury gems. A pea purée topped with parmesan shavings was a wonderful palette cleanser after all the delicious flavours from our various tapas dishes. Lastly, we had a crab meat velouté; I loved the crab meat but wasn’t quite so sure about the soup on top.
Carrie and I had lots to catch up, so enjoyed another pot of tea as we talked Sri Lanka, Mexico, Thailand and Madagascar – there’s a lot of the world for these two ladies to see!
Always being one with a sweet tooth, I was excited to see that the sweet plate was just as large as the savoury had been! A pistachio topped cone filled with soft, luxurious cream which we both agreed was a perfect Sunday indulgence.
A sweet-corn (all puns intended!) sponge, topped with white chocolate and served with honeycomb that was a little sugary slice of heaven. Followed by banana and chocolate ball, which were perfect for the banana-addict that Carrie is!
And then just as I thought I had picked my favourites, there was the little slice of French toast which quite literally melted in our mouths. Served with a crisp thin of spinach, it was as beautiful as it was delicious.
In a similar style to earlier, a sweet slate is brought out and well, this is one you don’t want to miss. Hot, crisp churros with a fluffy centre and already dipped in dark chocolate and with a side of your best friend? Now that’s how to celebrate your pre-birthday!
After even more tea and even more birthday talk, we soon realised it was getting quite late on a Sunday, and being a school night, it was time to head home. I couldn’t resist one last view of the Georgian brick building, feeling a slight pang of envy towards those cosying up in the beautiful COMO suites on a sleepy Sunday evening.
Next time I think I have my eye on The Ametsa Experience and one of those suites!
We were guests of COMO The Halkin.