I had booked afternoon tea for me and my sister at Hotel Kempinski. This turned out to be a bit of an overkill as we were the only ones having afternoon tea. The beautiful five star hotel is behind the Palace square and close to the Heremitage. Besides having a lovely tea room, Kempinski also has an open-air champagne bar on the ninth floor!
For afternoon tea you have three options: English, Russian and Delux. We decided to try the Russian and Delux afternoon tea. For tea, we chose Pushkin and Assam.
The tea was served using white Imperial Porcelain Factory’s china.
It takes twenty minutes to prepare your tea so you have plenty of time to admire the view and catch your breath. We managed, just barely, to fit everything to our table.
The Russian afternoon tea included salmon on blini, ham and cheese sandwich, salmon caviar and egg on blini and some type of meat (?) on rye bread. I loved how the ham and cheese sandwich was put together and that the white bread was so thin. Eveything was delicious, but my favourite, on this plate, was salmon on blini. So good!
This was followed by freshly baked pirozhkies (pies) that were served with condensed milk. Russians seem to love their condensed milk with their blinis and pastries. It is a bit too sweet for my taste.
After this sweet treat, it was time for some more sweets namely blueberry and rasberry tartlet, millefeuille, almond delight, Medovic cake and pralines.
The delux afternoon tea had tiger prawn with cucumber and Philadelphia cheese, Parma ham and basil ciabatta, roast beef sandwich and cheese with strawberries. The ham was delicious and the tiger prawn was excellent.
After the delicious sandwiches, it was time for hot blinis with honey and fresh berries.
The whole blini thing was a bit confusing. At breakfast we were served, what I consider to be blinis at our the hotel, but the note said pancakes in English. When we ordered pancakes in a cafe we got crêpes. At Kempinski, the salmon and caviar were served on a proper blini, but in my books the sweet blini is actually a crêpe. What do you think? Blini or crêpe, they were all very tasty.
The sweets included a strawberry tartlet, a mini Opera cake, a puff pastry swan with cream, petit four, pralines and macarons. I tried to take photos of the pastry swan, but they didn’t turn out so well. In the photos it looked like a Loch Ness monster instead of a swan. I had a bit of trouble putting one cake on the plate. Can you guess which one? The cake was so fresh and moist that it was stuck on the paper and just fell apart when I moved it. My favourite was the mini Opera cake!
The afternoon teas were both delicious and we managed to eat almost everything.
Considering everything that is happening in the world right now, I know this next point is a bit ridiculous, but I’m going to say it anyway, because it was a part of the experience.
I had made a resevation in advance and I asked directions from the reception, so I’m pretty sure we made our presence known. Despite this, I had to go the reception twice to ask for service. First, to get us a waiter to take our order and the second time to get the bill. After bringing the tea, we were left alone. I don’t like hovering waiting staff, but their disapperance was a bit awkward. The afternoon tea includes a refill of the tea pot that we didn’t get because no one remembered that we were there. Business wise, I understand that the staff is allocated to the ninth floor bar, but a bit more presence by the waiting staff would have made a difference to us. The little service we got was very friendly.