The last time I had high tea in London I was with a group of mothers and daughters. We went to Harrod’s and had a grand time. We ate a bazillion cute little pastries and drank so much tea that it led to Kristin’s famous bed-time utterance “My little heart is beating very fast.” This time Kristin booked us for tea at the Kensington Hotel in Princess Di’s old neighborhood. The Kensington is a gorgeous five star hotel that I can only afford to have tea in. It reminds me of my grandmother Noona. My sister Theresa would love it. My cousin Denise would love it. We loved it. We only had four cups of tea and a glass of champagne but Kristin’s face turned a really cute pink and I’m pretty darn sure it was not from the champagne. She seems to be caffeine impaired.
But I’m still searching for London. The tea sandwiches were quite British and the gin & tonic sorbet was quintessentially British, but the waiter was French. He served us Moet champagne and concombre sandwiches with a very French accent. At the table to my right a couple conversed in French. Then two women were seated directly to my left and they were conversing in French. I had a hard time eavesdropping while still maintaining an intelligent conversation with Kristin, but an awful lot of things were apparently jolie. At the end of our delightful tea I asked Gregoire for directions to the ladies room.
“????????? said he. (I don’t know what he said, but it was unintelligible English.)
“Les toilettes?” said I.
“Ah oui, les toilettes!” said he.
“Le français, c’est plus pratique!” said I.
“Bonne journée, Madame.”
On our way home via the Tube, we stopped at a pasty store to pick up dinner. Pasties are not things ladies wear at the Folies Bergères in Paris. They are individual meat pies that you can eat like a sandwich or taco, but they are wrapped in pastry like a pie. We got four: a traditional Cornish meat and potato, a lamb and mint, a cheese and veggie, and an onion cheese. Yum. They were just the right kind of savory for after a sweet high tea.
So Kristin and I are now scheming on how to make a gin & tonic sorbet. The waiter consulted the chef for us, who said it was just a simple sorbet with gin & tonic added and processed in an ice cream maker. Methinks there will be some experimentation going on when I get home. The sorbet was topped with a garnish of sweet crunchy mint leaves. After a long analytical discussion over the mint leaves (That’s part of why we were at tea for four hours, Mario), we think the leaves were dipped in a simple syrup and then frozen and crumbled over the sorbet. More experimentation to do at home. Ah, ah, those mint leaves would be great on so many things…vanilla ice cream, starters.
By now daughter Shelley is drooling and saying, “Mom, come home quick!” Ok, ok, but right now I have to dash out the door to see the Greek Orthodox Good Friday procession across the street. Tomorrow we’re off to Notting Hill in the ongoing search for London.
2 thoughts on “In Search of London: Gin &Tonic Sorbet and Pasties”
The thing about London is, most people here aren’t born Londoners. You will hear a crazy variety of accents and languages even in the suburbs. But people become Londoners once they get here. That’s one of my favourite things about the place – no-one is really an outsider, because we’re all outsiders. At least I’d optimistically like to hope so. Glad you’re having a good time!
We’re having a grand time!