That would have to be afternoon tea at The Goring, a gluten-free and dairy-free delight near Victoria station in London.
The maître-d et al were marvellous. Even before we turned up I had a phone call checking my dietary requirements, e.g. if I could have soy milk, so the pastry chef could crack on, which put my mind at rest.
First, an amuse-bouche:
A veritable flavour medley including fish, jellied tomato, radish and caviar. Sounds strange, tasted fantastic.
The tier on the left is gf and df. Sandwiches were ham & wholegrain mustard, salt beef, smoked salmon and old Queenie’s favourite the cucumber. The gf bread was toasted (they’ve done this before, the blighters) and extras were brought out as and when requested, the ham ones being the best. On the whole, sandwiches were not quite up to the standard of The Soho Hotel, as over there off Dean Street the bread is bread not toast and fillings more varied. But still lovely.
Then scones with soya cream and raspberry jam. That’s where the filling up properly started. Note to self: only ever tackle one of these beasts and ask to take the other one home in a posh purple box.
They had the best gf and df cakes I’ve had, as usually chocolate takes a day off and the usual fruit meringue and lemon cake appear. Not at The Goring. A mini chocolate coffee cake gloopy like fudge cake. Tick. A praline chocolate and caramel mousse concoction that tasted like Ferrero Rocher – with these stunning varieties of cakes you are really spoiling me, ambassador. Double tick. Add Battenburg, raspberry-pistachio-almond choux buns and some raspberry cakey marvel and that’s meals taken care of for the next week. Plus copious amounts of tea and a glass of Bollinger. Gout, you are welcome.
A gloriously English dining room full of grandeur, politeness and smiles. Such an enjoyable experience. Next time, remember that a doggy bag means one can still move of an afternoon rather than just wanting to nap in the corner oozing lemon meringue.
Emotionally, feeling like this after that stunning afternoon tea. Physically, so laden down with scone feel able to roll myself down the King’s Road. Totally worth it.