Afternoon Tea At Fenwick’s Bond & Brook
What could be better than a spot of retail therapy along one of the world’s most famous shopping streets? A spot of shopping broken up with a glamorous afternoon tea, of course.
Fenwick department stores have become an iconic piece of British history since John James Fenwick opened the first store in 1846, selling silk goods, fabrics and trimmings to the wealthy and well to do. Not much has changed, I noted, as I wandered around on my first visit there last week, spotting the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Jaeger, Mui Mui and Gucci on display.
I was on my way to afternoon tea with my mother on the store’s second floor, at the airy and modern Bond & Brook restaurant. Distinguishable by a huge pewter cocktail bar manned by impeccably dressed staff, the light and airy space beckoned me from the hubbub of the shop to relax in a pleasant, all white haven of comfort and (crucially, in London’s busy epicentre) quiet.
A library (albeit a sparse one) of fashion books adorns the back wall of the convivial space, with pretty pastel menus adding a splash of colour to the plain decor. After deciding the restaurant’s atmosphere was casual yet still decidedly proper, I perused the Afternoon Tea menu, choosing a glass of champagne and the establishment’s signature B&B tea. The blend of English Breakfast infused with a little vanilla was sweet but not too much so – a combination just right for my tastes but perhaps not for those without a notable sweet tooth.
A three-tiered platter of cutesy snacks soon appeared at the table, comprising the usual finger sandwiches (cucumber, ham, egg mayonnaise and tuna) which I have to admit left me a little disappointed. Slightly stale bread and boring fillings got things off to a slighty rocky start but impeccable service from our overwhelmingly sweet waitress soon made up for it, as she hastened to pour me a second glass of champagne. I’m pleased to report that the sweet treats on offer were much better, including mini fondant fancies, biscuits in the shape of shoes and handbags (a nice touch considering Bond & Brook’s location) and sharp, zingy tarts.
Warm scones and delightfully fresh jam elevated the afternoon tea as a whole from average to pretty good. Having sampled an adorable afternoon tea created by Rhubarb catering at the Saatchi Gallery’s restaurant Gallery Mess at Easter, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed with the quality of this one (also by Rhubarb), which paled in comparison to the painstakingly hand-painted chocolate eggs and delectable pastries served up by the chefs over on the King’s Road.
That said, my experience of Bond & Brook was thoroughly enjoyable and the service cannot be faulted – nothing is too much trouble for the enthusiastic staff and their dedication to their customer’s enjoyment of their visit is highly commendable. At £14.95 per person, this modern take on afternoon tea is very good value and creates a great excuse to rest tired feet during a day of summer wardrobe shopping.
If you’re after the traditional afternoon tea experience, try the Ritz or The Milestone hotels, who offer the whole shebang in all it’s splendour for a hefty price tag.
Amy @ FashionBite xx
Bond & Brook, Fenwick, 63 New Bond St, London, W1A 3BS
020 7629 0273