Tuesday 11 May 2010

A Tale of Two GF Teas: Part 2: Claridge's

I was invited to the new gluten free tea at Claridge's, using the delicious fresh baked Genius gluten free bread.

It couldn't have been more different than the truly dire Ritz situation.

Delicious, lovingly prepared sandwiches that were beautifully presented - chicken with lemon remoulade, smoked salmon with horseradish and dill, Dorrington ham, egg and watercress. Light and fluffy bread, with high end, well prepared and tasty fillings. Gluten-free delights.

Genius, the breadmakers who make the gluten free bread that Claridge's uses, have the motto "yummy.... hooray!" - the idea being that your first thought when eating something should be that it is scrumptious. The hooray bit comes because it's also gluten free. But the yum should always come first. I entirely agree with this principle.

Oh and boy was it a "yummy... hooray" situation with the gluten free scones. Scones! Pour moi? Oh, Claridge's, wiz all ze's gluten free treats you are really spoiling us (note to the Ritz: this is how you should feel). I haven't had a scone in 14 years. It was delightful. With strawberry jam and a delicate cornell of Devon's finest clotted cream. I very nearly melted at the taste.

The raspberry and rosewater macaroon was, ah, heavenly! Light, a deep raspberry flavour, with some sort of custard cream in the middle, and fresh raspberries around the edges. Weep. I finished my feast with a delicate fruit tart, and some devilish chocolate cake concoction.

Most of all I just felt delighted. And like it was really special. Everything was beautiful to look at, and beautiful to eat. You could tell it had been lovingly prepared. Someone cared.

When it comes to an occasion like Afternoon Tea, I want to be made to feel really special, and to have something any non-celiac would be jealous of.

Mission accomplished Claridge's.

Next time it's my sister's birthday I know exactly where I'm going to go to rub her gluten-eating face in it.


  1. Nancy from New Mexico17 May 2010 at 18:45

    Excellent information. I will definitely plan Afternoon Tea at Claridge's with my husband (who is Celiac) when we visit the UK this summer. And I'll search for Genius bread at Tesco.
    Thanks for lowering our anxiety about enjoying a GF London.

  2. Thanks Nancy, I'm glad I could help!

    Make sure to mention in your booking that you have one person wanting the gluten free tea - they make the scones and cakes especially - all fresh!

    Genius is also in all the other major supermarkets - let me know what you think of it.

  3. Thanks for your blog. It's a regular reference for me when I go out as a fellow gf London foodie. How about Cotto's Italian in Westminster Bridge Road? I thought their bread was great and freshly made pizzas fantastic. All gf ofcourse.

  4. Off to Cotto's tomorrow Helen - I'll post a review after!

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  6. So glad I found your blog! Pizza and Claridges here I come. You are a STAR and I am thrilled!! (gush gush gush) keep 'em coming.

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  8. So well done. Thank you. I'll be mentioning you left, right and sideways in my blog post. And I'll be doing Claridge's soon. I got a little teary when I saw they have gluten-free scones.

  9. Hopefully you will love it! It was super yummy. Not sure they always have the gf scones though - that might have been for that one occasion. You might want to check on the phone so you avoid feeling disappointed at an otherwise excellent GF tea!

  10. I've linked this post at I Must Be Off! I'm looking forward to having afternoon tea at Claridge's in July.

  11. Have you tried GF and DF afternoon tea at the Lanesborough?

  12. No not yet - have you? Is it any good? If not I shall add it to the list and go there forthwith!

  13. Hi
    Many thanks for wonderful blog just recommended to me!
    I went to the Ritz earlier this year, having prebooked a gluten free tea, and it was LOVELY! Scones, cakes and sandwiches proper! ... maybe time to revisit?
    Also, for Mothers Day in 2011, Fortnum's gluten free tea was delish.
    Shall try Claridges next

  14. If you want delicious gluten free scones go to the Tea Room at St Ives. Knockout by any standards. I'm now looking for a place for gluten free and even dairy free tea to follow a visit to the V&A. Not the full monty that we have to book ahead for - just some lovely tea and cakes..

    1. Hi Penelope, I'd recommend the Soho Hotel from gf and dairy free teas- just give them a quick call! They will have plenty of options.

      Let me know how it is!

  15. I have to say I'm a little disappointed to find out that Claridges use a standard gf loaf available in the supermarket for their gluten free tea, whereas other top 5* premises bake their own gluten free bread. I'm sure that the other standard afternoon teas are not made with a Hovis loaf from Tesco. I appreciate you are paying for more than just sandwiches in such a scenario and acknowledge that the scones & cakes are freshly baked, but it doesn't feel very special.

  16. I had the sandwiches and they were fantastic. My family has 3 who must follow the gluten free diet and everyone at the table (including 6 others) who tasted the gf offerings at Claridges found their tea amazing. In fact, those who tasted both said there was hardly a difference. I don't mind them using a packaged bread as long as they have found one that is so good. There are plenty homemade so-so breads, what made the tea special was that they got all of it right, and it fully met the standard expected for tea (whether gf or regular). I would not visit London again without booking in at Claridges again for their tea. We are all still talking about it here (home in NYC).

  17. Hi,
    So happy to have found your blog, as i'm gluten free too, but unfortunately living in Paris, where I feel like a monster ^^
    Anyway, I'm planning to come to London soon, and I wanted to try the Claridge tea like you suggest it, but sad to read "For reservations for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays it is advisable to book approximately 6 months in advance."
    So impossible for me to go :(
    And if I come to London in 3 weeks, whta would u suggest me to go, in other words, what is your top 5 GF places in London?
    Thanks a lot for your reply, and keep up your great blog!
    NB: I blogged about Helmut Newcake in Paris, if you're interested (little tricky translator on the right of my blog, as I'm French).

    I'll find others.

  18. I had a delightful and copious (could not finish!) gluten free and vegetarian afternoon tea at the Delauney (http://www.thedelaunay.com/) a few months ago. However, my dining companion did book both the table & the gluten free option in advance, but to be honest it was a Sunday afternoon so GF or not you'd need to book as the place is popular.

    Only negative thing was that they took rather a long time to bring the afternoon tea (my GF one as well as my companion's regular version). Don't know if this was due to the GF order or because they were just really busy, but it meant I drank too much (very fine) Assam tea and then had trouble dropping off to sleep that evening : (

  19. I had a fantastic Gluten Free Tea at the Milestone hotel in Kensington. I was there as part of an event having high tea and they had prepared a gluten free tea just for me. You should give that one a go. They even baked me fresh gluten free scones. They seem to be willing to adjust the tea for any dietary restrictions.