First off, I’d like to point out that this sort of thing is not my scene. We were going for my boyfriend’s mum – it was her birthday present.
Initially, I was absolutely terrified at the idea of going. I pictured rich men and women all whispering to each other, judging every single person who walked through the door. Glitz and glamour everywhere while I stand out like a sore thumb. In my head, I imagined the whole experience of afternoon tea to be done in complete silence, with any loud vocals or laughter to be shunned from someone across the room. I didn’t think I was ever good enough to visit such a place, to sit and eat sandwiches and drink tea, pretending I was rich and successful. The Ritz was never on my to-do list, and I doubt it will be again. I can explain though…
As soon as I arrived, I quickly realised that the array of people I’d pictured staring at me in my £17 New Look shoes and £20 dress from Asos didn’t exist. I looked nice, I made the effort, nobody took any notice of me, it was great. My plan was simple, sit down, drink tea, make as little small talk as possible with the waiters, and enjoy the food. I sound like I really enjoyed it right? Well, my initial anxiety fizzled away after about 5 minutes. I actually felt comfortable. I actually felt like I fitted in. To tell you the truth, there was a complete absence of rich people with posh accents small taking over tea. I realised that this experience is for people exactly like me. People who will go as a treat, a once in a life time thing in actual fact. The place where people put on their best dress and get the expensive perfume out, to enjoy a luxurious and hella expensive cup of tea and adopt a persona, where for an hour and a half, they are important, they are special. That’s not of course to say that you have to be rich to be special, I just mean that it’s a chance to feel like you lead a completely different life for the afternoon. The reason why I probably won’t go back isn’t because I didn’t enjoy it, I actually had a really nice time. But have you ever been somewhere and just thought, ‘yep, that was a great experience’, and felt satisfied knowing that you don’t need to go again? I took my heels off and put my Primark dolly shoes back on as soon as I left, and I went back to my own life. Using the tube to get around London for the rest of the day, with smudged lipstick and black shit in my nose from the London smog, and I’m sure a lot of others did the exact same.
The champagne was nice, but the tea was out of this world. I had The Ritz Chai Tea, and pretty much had a caffeine high for the rest of the afternoon. Who seriously needs an entire pot of tea to themselves? I know I certainly don’t, but you gotta get your money’s worth, right? Seriously though, it was the best cup of tea I’ve ever had.
You see that middle section of sandwiches? They were all mine. I told the waiter I was vegetarian so he gave me an entire section to myself, which was really nice. They didn’t last long, and they were all incredible. I don’t know what they put in their egg mayonnaise, but again, it was the best I’ve ever tasted. The cakes! Where do I even begin? There was a coconut jelly mousse, and it was so light with a real natural flavour, and the lemon macaroons were outstanding. The sweets were the best part of the whole afternoon.
Me, swapping between tea and champagne, getting drunk and buzzed from caffeine at the same time.
My boyfriend looked absolutely gorgeous in his jacket, shirt and tie. He didn’t have all this weird anxiety about going, because he’s middle class (I’m joking, but he does scrub up well).
The interior made me feel like I was living during the Renaissance era. Everything was beautiful down to the finest of detail. The table was busy but elegant, beautiful but efficient. The whole experience has actually inspired me to do my own afternoon tea for mothers day or another special occasion. Tea, cupcakes and finger sandwiches – easy.
My boyfriend and I. Excluding the gorgeous blue Dune London bag he bought me for Christmas, my outfit cost about £45, which is half the price of the afternoon tea.
Have you ever been to the Ritz? If so, did you have a panic attack before going in like me? Probably not, but let me know what your experience was like.
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