The Colonnade – Little Venice

Reviewed on January 24th, 2015 by Dina

It was ideal to go for Afternoon Tea with my friend who had first introduced me to the special indulgent world of this British ritual many years ago. Since that day, Afternoon Tea has been one of my favourite things to do!

The Afternoon Tea was served in the restaurant of the Colonnade Hotel. Despite it being on the lower level, it had plenty of light flooding in from the glass roof. There was a floral feature wall and orange gerbera decorated the tables.

The Darjeeling tea was served by the pot and it was teabags not loose tea. The flavour of the tea was still good though.

The floral theme continued when the Afternoon Tea was served on cute pink rose plates. As soon as the three tiered selection was brought out, the cakes had a wonderful freshly baked aroma.

The Colonnade Afternoon TeaThe Colonnade Finger SandwichesThe Colonnade CakesThe Colonnade SconesThe Colonnade TeaThe Colonnade Interior

The traditional savoury finger sandwiches were had first. These were egg mayonnaise on white bread; cucumber and cream cheese on white bread; ham, cheese and mustard on brown bread. All of them tasted lovely and the bread and fillings were fresh.

The plain scones had a subtle vanilla taste to them. They were served with a good proportion of Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.

The sweet treats were a great selection of mini eclairs, carrot cake, lemon macarons, chocolate brownies and berry fruit tarts. It’s hard to pick any favourites but the mini eclair filled with fresh cream, the berry tart and the carrot cake did make a memorable mark!

The chocolate brownie was rich and would not disappoint fans of chocolate. The macaron had the right balance of the sweet meringue biscuit and sharp lemon filling.

The staff were welcoming and friendly. They kept asking throughout our time at The Colonnade if we wanted our teapot refilled. The staff did not rush us at all and hence we felt that we could relax and take our time.

The Afternoon Tea at The Colonnade was a real delight! The food was all tasty and fresh and what’s not to love about Afternoon Tea when it is done well!

The Colonnade, 2 Warrington Crescent, Little Venice, London, W9 1ER

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Royal China – Bayswater

Reviewed on December 4th, 2014 by Dina

Sundays are a great time to see friends over a spot of brunch. This time it was brunch with a difference – a dim sum one!

Royal China is a popular place and luckily as we had got there before noon, we didn’t have to queue. But by the time we left, there was a long line of people waiting for a table.

A dark interior with decorated marble walls, coloured soft lighting and many round tables made up the restaurant area. There was a bar adjacent to the waiting area at the front of the restaurant.

It was nice not to have to decide which dishes to order as friends placed the order for the food selection. Bamboo baskets of steamed dumplings, buns, noodle dishes and dipping sauces graced our table.

Royal China EntranceRoyal ChinaRoyal China InteriorRoyal China DumplingsRoyal China Cheung FunRoyal China Roast Pork BunsRoyal China Braised NoodlesRoyal China Turnip CakeRoyal China Egg Tarts

Fluffy white buns were filled with the sweet char sui roast pork. The fried dough cheung fun were topped with sesame seeds. The crispy interior of the fried dough was encased by the soft white outer layer. It was not until after the meal that we realised that the sauce that had come with it had not been tried.

Big flat black Chinese mushrooms topped the braised thin noodles. The sauce was flavoursome. The noodles came with some cooked greens on the side. Other dishes were turnip cake and also tasty prawn and chive dumplings.

The staff and service were wonderful at Royal China. They were professional and efficient, swiftly cleaning away empty plates throughout the meal.

It had to be tea to go with the dim sum brunch. It was served by the pot and was refilled when asked.

To end the meal on a sweet note, baked egg tarts were had. A creamy egg custard filling in a soft light pastry was delightful.

Royal China had a wonderful buzz about the place and a great atmosphere. The dim sum was absolutely perfect, all fresh and tasty. A good start to the Sunday with lovely chats amongst friends and all set for an afternoon at the park!

Royal China, 13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ

Rating: ★★★★★

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Down To Earth – Kensington High Street

Reviewed on August 29th, 2013 by Dina

Away from the busy shopping end of High Street Kensington and just after Holland Park is where Down To Earth is located. Down To Earth is an organic vegan and vegetarian cafe serving organic food, fairtrade coffees, speciality teas and ice cream. There are a lot of cakes including cheesecakes in the counter fridge. The only thing is that the bread is on open display along the window wall. My preference is always for covered displays.

The main decor and theme of Down To Earth is black and white which extends to the artwork on the walls. There are high seats by the window. The seating area is surrounded by shelves and the open fridges of the shop section of Down To Earth.

Down To EarthDown To Earth AmericanoDown To Earth Interior

Down To Earth has a lot of drinks on offer including fresh juices and smoothies. But this time, I decided to have an Americano coffee with hot soy milk. The coffee was nice with the milk served in a small jug.

The staff were friendly and were mostly busy tidying and clearing up the cafe area. One thing to note is that if you have a baby or toddler, then Down To Earth offers complimentary freshly made baby food!

Down To Earth, 240-242 High Street Kensington, London, W8 6ND

Rating: ★★★★☆

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