I love chocolate so much that I’ve previously professed I could eat an entire M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake. When I read about afternoon tea at Belgravia’s new chocolatier R Chocolate Ldn, set up by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, I knew this be the perfect excuse to eat, drink, and indulge in the name of ‘work’.
With six days to go until Christmas, the place was wonderfully festive. Their brand colour is a bright red, and the boutique was decorated with wooden nutcracker soldiers, handcrafted chocolate elephants and figurines, and red boxes of chocolatey gifts. Copper shelves, apothecary dressers with tins of chilli hot chocolate powder and background piano music added to the cozy vibe.
We arrived for an early afternoon tea—2:30pm on a Saturday. Unfortunately, so had plenty of passers-by with their wailing, screaming, sugar-high children. This eventually calmed down towards the end of our tea, but the onslaught of shoppers coming and going, each one bringing in a sharp gust of cold air, continued. In my opinion and past experience, afternoon tea should be a luxurious, lazy, relaxed affair.
The ‘Classic Afternoon Tea’ stand (£35 per person, or £45 with a glass of champagne) was brought out soon after we sat down, and we were treated to a mountain of mini patisserie bites, including two chocolate loaves, lemon drizzle cakes, cacao nib scones, strawberry mousse, and cherry and marzipan Battenbergs.
There weren’t as many chocolate things on the tea stand as I’d hoped; instead there were more strawberries-and-cream type items (raspberry trifle, Victoria sponge), which is great if you’re trying to offset the richness of the chocolate items. The sponges were beautiful and not too dense, and scones were warm, fresh and not too crumbly. My favourites were the mini chocolate loaf—unbelievably rich and dense, just the way I like it—and the lemon drizzle, which was sticky and tangy.
Being a self-confessed hot chocolate addict, I opted for a milk hot chocolate, which was pretty damn good and was inhaled before the food appeared. My partner sipped delicate Earl Grey in between each cake, brewed with loose leaves in a pot.
In a nutshell
The mixed clientele made the experience very un-relaxing, and ideally there should be a room separate from the shop for diners to retreat to and enjoy a more peaceful experience. The Classic Afternoon Tea seemed lacking in chocolatey touches for this particular chocoholic, but the hot chocolate was divine. I’d definitely return with some girlfriends for a catch up over a hot drink, or to pick up some chocolate gifts.
198 Ebury St, Belgravia, London, SW1W; www.rchocolatelondon.co.uk; 020 7730 5522