28 July 2014 at 1.51pm | Comment on this article
Almost-nightly, nearly 2,500 opera and ballet fans flock to the Royal Opera House to see some of the world's top classical music and dance stars on the Covent Garden stage. Many of them make a night of it and choose to dine in our restaurants.
Wonderful dining experiences aren't just for evenings however, and from the start of the 2014/15 Season, we'll be offering afternoon tea in the Royal Opera House's beautiful Paul Hamlyn Hall, a stunning space that was once home to the Covent Garden Flower Market. In homage to this heritage, the space will be decorated for afternoon tea with screens collaged with exotic plants, flowers and birds.
In keeping with the Paul Hamlyn Hall's architectural mix of historic and contemporary design, teas are modern yet elegant, with a selection of luxurious pastries based on familiar flavours, designed by world-renowned master pastry chef Claire Clark. Banoffee macarons for example, reflect Britain’s enduring love for the combination of banana and toffee caramel, traditionally enjoyed in Banoffee pie.
‘A lot of things go into making special mouthfuls of goodness,’ says Claire, ‘and this is particularly true of the dramatic mandarin and kumquat amandine – a buttery almond cake with a surprise centre and vivid orange cocoa butter dome of citrus curd.’
Eclairs are simple and globally-recognized, but our use of pistachio filling and crunchy praline grains takes these popular fingers of choux pastry to a new level. We're also serving our signature Opéra Gâteau– a recognizable treat, executed to perfection.
‘We have just the right balance of sponge, buttercream, chocolate and coffee,’ says Claire, ‘and use the same artisan-roasted espresso that is served at the Royal Opera House’.
Savory options are also available, with a range of sandwiches including cucumber and cream cheese, and salt beef with cornichon and sweet mustard on offer; as well as Severn and Wye smoked salmon blinis.
It's not just the food that's appetite-whetting, either. A wide range of loose leaf teas, tisanes, tea-themed cocktails and Ruinart champagnes will also be available.
Of course, afternoon tea wouldn't be afternoon tea without traditional scones with jam and clotted cream and, as the seasons change, our homemade strawberry jam will give way to other flavours such as plum and damson, with heritage fruits sourced from RHS GardenWisley in Surrey.
Heaven for foodies, it seems, is about to arrive at Covent Garden.
Booking is now open for Tea at the Royal Opera House.
Advance booking is required, but you do not need performance tickets in order to attend. Find out more about Afternoon Tea.
Gift vouchers for Tea are also available, both online and via the Royal Opera House Shop.