I am always looking for an excuse to pop open some Champagne, and on a quick trip to London a few weeks ago, the impending coronation of King Charles III made it as good a time as any, so my companions and I headed to The Rosebery for a special afternoon tea.
Tucked inside the Mandarin Oriental at Hyde Park in London, The Rosebery offers a majestic and comfortable setting for traditional Afternoon Tea service. Ahead of the coronation, they spruced up their tea service, tailoring it to the occasion by featuring benchmark bites as would be served at the Royal Table. With Hyde and Kensington Park in full bloom, this was a fantastic way to enjoy a decadent and leisurely afternoon after a long walk through the gardens. At the top of the marble staircase entrance, the restaurant space is open and airy, and I was seated by the window on the felt-upholstered banquettes facing into the dining room and efficiently designed bar. In an adjacent room, a string trio performed classicized versions of pop songs such as “Hotel California” and Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” which was fun and well-suited for the room, but I couldn’t help being reminded of similar renditions I heard in “Westworld.”
In addition to a bevy of high-quality teas, they have a concise wine list that is well-suited to the menu, with an emphasis on Champagne and Sake. (It only occurred to me later that I didn’t ask to see if there was a more complete wine list, so I can’t say if one exists.) We were greeted with a glass of NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvee, reliably opulent, full-bodied, and supple. It was accompanied by a small glass of a First Flush Darjeeling tea, which we were told is the favorite of King Charles III, sourced from the plant’s first young leaves harvested in the spring and regarded as “the Champagne of teas.” A delicate black tea, it is floral, medium-bodied, and sweet with notes of cardamom spice. To carry through the rest of the meal, I ordered a bottle of NV Louis Roederer Champagne Collection 243. This was my first chance to enjoy this since visiting the Roederer estate last September, and it did not disappoint. It was a perfect match for the afternoon, as it was more refreshing and linear coming off the richness of Bollinger. I am even more impressed now with the value and refinement this wine has to offer and would highly recommend it.
With the first course of finger sandwiches, we began with Silver Needle White Tea and Jasmine Pearls Green Tea. Silver Needle is a personal favorite, with a hint of apple-like sweetness, herbaceousness, and a silky texture. Each of the teas was expertly steeped behind the scenes at the perfect temperatures suited for each style before being presented. The sandwiches were fresh and flavorful, highlighted by the King’s Coronation Chicken and the Sussex Wagyu Roast Beef.
The second course of scones was fresh and served warm, with a substantial helping of clotted cream and various jams. These are elegantly presented on a tower hung from a slender cast-iron branch that arches over the table, leaving precious table space for the intricate pastries and glassware below. I am not typically a fan of fondant and brightly colored edible designs and have to admit I expected them to be stiff and overly saccharine. I was very pleasantly surprised that the flavors of the sweets were poppy and expressive, and the texture of the cakes remained soft and tender. The sweets require teas with a bit more structure and depth, so we moved into two black teas of Darjeeling Second Flush and the Assam Second Flush. Both provided a bit of nuttiness and roasted flavors to complement and cut through the decadence of the pastries beautifully.
Although my companions and I were encouraged to avail ourselves of the additional tea sandwiches and pastries included in the service, we declined and left feeling more than sufficiently stuffed and buzzing from the wine and caffeine.
Many thanks to The Rosebery for their generosity in sharing the recipe for their King’s Coronation Chicken.
The King’s Coronation Chicken – Recipe Courtesy of the Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental – Hyde Park
For the chicken filling
2kg of cooked (18-17breast)
corn-fed chicken breasts.
600grs of diced pineapple (slightly green)
8 grams Fine salt
100 grams of Water
100 grs red onion brunoise
3 long red chillis (slightly spicy ones)
3 Garlic cloves puree or finely chopped
10 grams of finely chopped ginger
60grs brown sugar
20 grams lime juice
10 grams of oil
1 kg Button mushrooms 0.5mm
100 grs Extra Virgin Olive
600grs Pineapple Chutney
30 grams of chopped coriander
9grs Madras curry powder
15 grs Salt
4 grs Pepper
(32 g of mix x Slice)
50 slices brown hovis
340g Mayonnaise to spread
For the chicken
Season and cook the chicken in a combi-oven at 160* until 72c. When it is ready chill it down, take the skin out and cut into small dice, about 0.5cm. Reserve, make sure is cold down properly before dicing.
Peel the pineapple and remove the core, dice into 1cm and reserve.
In a pot, add a bit of oil and cook the garlic, gin, and onion on very low heat, making sure this gets cooked properly after a few minutes. Add the chili , pineapple, and the rest of the ingredients (except the lime juice), let it cook for around 1.5 hrs. covered low heat, after that open reduce to texture, chill and add the lime juice to taste once cold, please check seasoning.
For the mushrooms
Dice the mushrooms in a pot with very hot oil sauté them for around a minute and reserve in a tray, and cold down.
Mix the chicken diced with all the ingredients and reserve.
For making the sandwiches
Cut the side edges of the bread, spread the mayonnaise, pipe the egg mix in the center of the bread and roll the bread. Trim the edges and cut in half.