1C Portland Place
London W1B 1JA
As a festive and quintessentially “London” treat, we decided to meet with friends for afternoon tea at the Palm Court in The Langham Hotel, atop bustling Regent Street. A perfect setting to rest and refuel after some Christmas shopping, one would imagine. And a perfect setting it was. Walking past the valets and porters through the revolving doors into the marbled reception area instantly makes one feel all that is wonderful and film-like of London and Christmastime. Palm Court itself, with plush armchairs and clothed tables arranged in formation around the fully lit Christmas tree centrepiece, is a welcoming and cosy space – perfect for festive dining and catching up with friends. Alas, this was all that was great, as the food, service, and price point left us feeling nauseous…
Food: 2 / 10
Duck egg and oscietra caviar blini
A classic combo that suffered from poor execution. In particular, the blini was dry and pappy.
Festive Eggnog / Panna Cotta Amuse Bouche
There seemed to be a disagreement between front and back of house on what this was, an eggnog, or a panna cotta. It came out as a cross between the two with none of the richness of either and a disagreeable texture.
Selection of finger sandwiches:
Farmhouse stilton, red onion and port relish, walnut bread
Though the stilton and relish worked well together, the walnut bread was overly dry.
Smoked turkey, marjoram stuffing, cranberry bread
Without a doubt the best thing The Palm Court had to offer. (Not to be misinterpreted as an amazing sandwich; simply a better offering than the disappointing fare thus far). The turkey was, as you would expect, dry, but was saved by some moisture from the stuffing and sweetness from the cranberries studding the bread.
Selection of warm scones from our Palm Court bakery with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve
The scones were certainly not warm, nor were they discernibly different from standard shop-bought variety, except for being frugal with the dried fruit.
Selection of French Pastries and Specialist mini cakes including:
Mini Gingerbread house
The gingerbread was missing both its primary flavour, and its expected texture. To make matters worse the icing had a synthetic aftertaste, culminating in making this nigh on inedible
Expecting a coconut treat, maybe in the shape of a snowflake, we were perplexed to be served a beetroot macaron. If you think this is a terrible idea then you are completely right, a concentrated muddy flavour with nothing to compliment or lift it.
Pistachio and cranberry slice
Though on paper this should be a winning combination, it was sweetened to death and had no textural play at all.
Essentially a dressed up white chocolate truffle. This had some welcome texture and discernible flavours. It was still only a step above the high-street though.
Rosehip and Hibiscus
A shot of overpowering sweetness, drowning out any flavour that was there, topped with supposedly edible decorations that must have been bought in 10 years ago from Hershey’s. An apt representation of the Palm Court itself, all style and no substance.
Service: 3 / 10
The waiting staff were inattentive and unaware of the ingredients used in the menu, especially concerning alcohol or allergens, and seemed to think nothing was amiss when basically full plates were returning to the kitchen. In addition to a poor command of the English language, one would certainly expect a lot more from somewhere like The Langham.
Price: Eyewateringly expensive
We haven’t felt that pain at getting out our credit cards for a long, long time. It’s bad enough when your bank account takes a hit; even worse when it feels so unjustified. We left feeling thoroughly ripped off, and will certainly not be returning.
In conclusion: Make a huge cash withdrawal from your nearest ATM. Bundle it all up and set it on fire. If you liked watching your hard-earned cash burn then, sure, you may as well do it here to the fancy and vacuous backdrop.