190 Queen’s Gate
There are few more civilised things in this world than good conversation over an indulgent afternoon tea. A friend and I were treated to the ‘Rock 'n' Roll’ version of this British institution at the theatrically-inspired Gore Hotel in Kensington. Nestled in the heart of Queen’s Gate, in amongst the neighbouring embassies and columned terrace houses, sits The Gore. It's minutes from the grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall, and I am told it has been and remains a favoured venue of those in the entertainment industry. With exclusive rooms, themed after theatrical notables in history (including Judy Garland), it’s clear the hotel is making the most of its reputation.
Afternoon tea is taken in the plush surroundings of the gothic Bar 190 - a grand dark wood room with lot of nooks and crannies, perfect for having private, low-lit conversations. It’s a lovely warm room with a colourful bar, sporting every bottle of liquor you could possibly want or need. Unfortunately we weren’t here to imbibe the alcohol and stuck to reassuring Earl Grey tea instead (afternoon tea offers the choice of a Jack Daniel’s and coke if you fancy a stiffer drink).
Rock 'n' Roll afternoon tea at The Gore was primarily inspired by the rediscovered story of the Rolling Stones’ debauched destruction of a banquet room for the Beggars Banquet album cover in 1968. Although the images weren’t actually used, they adorn the room as evidence. You do feel part of the secret elite in a boutique bar like this, even if you are devouring warm scones with jam and clotted Devonshire cream rather, than one of the long list of cocktails on the menu. Afternoon tea nibbles were balanced carefully and satisfyingly on a three-tier cake stand, and included chocolate éclairs, Jack Daniel’s cupcakes, biscuits and mince pies; all of which were plentiful and decadent. The bottom layer of the stand included spicy chicken and cheddar cheese & ham sandwich fingers. These were filling but a little bland and dry unfortunately. I guess cucumber sandwiches just aren’t rock and roll enough - mind you, if you were rock 'n' roll royalty, you might be too pre-occupied with finding a TV to throw out of the window to be eating in any case. Lifestyle tendencies aside, Rock 'n' Roll Afternoon Tea at The Gore Hotel is a great mix of boutique, rock-style chic.
(Afternoon tea must be a booked in advance, priced at £22.50 per person).
**Bar 190 at The Gore Hotel: **190 Queen's Gate, London, SW7 5EX, firstname.lastname@example.org** **
**Reviewer: **Anne Giacomantonio