The afternoon tea is a great British institution. Come to think of it, it’s actually a way of life. I love it, because, for me, it usually is an excuse to have a glass of champagne in the afternoon. What’s not to like? Obviously you are not supposed to say this, but as I happen to be French, well, I’ll say it as it is. And you know me by now.
OK, I hear you, and now I feel guilty (just a bit). Let’s be politically correct for a paragraph : the afternoon tea is a good time to catch up with friends, and I tend to take all my French friends to have one. It usually breaks the ice. It is said that ‘afternoon tea’ was first introduced to England by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the late 19th century to overcome “that sinking feeling” she felt in the late afternoon (wine o’clock -sorry, I did it again). So began a tradition that has endured throughout the centuries. Today, afternoon tea in some London hotels has become an art form, and sometimes you need to book it months in advance.
That said, yesterday I had an afternoon tea with a twist. I grew up on the Mediterranean, and I remain convinced that there is such a thing as a Mediterranean identity. I love Mediterranean food in general and Lebanese food in particular. I grew up on it. And guess what? Now I can combine my love of the British afternoon tea with my love of the vibrant, sunny Mediterranean cuisine. What am I talking about? Well, I am talking about having an afternoon tea at Ceru.
Yes, you will get a glass of bubbly, scones and cucumber sandwiches. But you will get a lot more than this. First of all, there will be subtle flavours of lime and nutmeg (I think!) in the British classics. And you will also get some Lebanese favourites such as the baklava and the spice roasted lamb shoulder sandwich. Everything is as fresh as can be, without any fuss and absolutely delicious. What I love about Ceru is that it is as unpretentious as it can get: you can see the kitchen, and, until recently, Ceru was all about street food. Ceru has remained true to its origins: it;s all about flavours. In fact, I go there a lot (I don’t love very far).
So, to cut a long story short, if you fancy a British afternoon tea with Lebanese classics, head to Ceru. And, obviously, it’s all happening in London. Where else?
Disclosure: I wasn’t paid for this post, but I was invited by Ceru to try their afternoon tea. All opinions remain mine.