Let the whimsy of old railway station magic whisk you off into another world – with Afternoon Tea at The Hansom, St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.
There’s something whimsical and romantic about being inside an old, historic city train station isn’t there? Whether it’s a recent memory of a great adventure, a reunion meeting with a loved one, or vintage images of train scenes in provocative film noirs (or, perhaps, Harry Potter), the stations themselves are never without their emotional and aesthetic charm. It is therefore, somewhat befitting that London’s St. Pancras station, since 1853, been the home of one of the most exciting and aesthetically pleasing luxury St. Pancras Renaissance hotel, which is where we set our sights on enjoying their 150th anniversary afternoon tea.
The Hansom restaurant and bar, where tea is served, is named after Hansom carriages of days of yore, and is naturally lit and effortlessly stylish. Entering the atrium, we were impressed as it brings all the original features of the hotel to the fore. As well as the afternoon tea, The Hansom serves food all day, including a healthy selection of daytime fare, refreshing drinks and a playful evening menu. It’s a really inclusive environment – families sat with young babies, friends met for a birthday and couples schmoozed in corners happily. We were seated on comfy banquettes in muted shades by our wonderful hostess for the afternoon, and were delighted to discover that a live cellist was warming up for a set entertaining the hotel’s patrons.
Soon after we were seated, a glass of sparkling Veuve Cliquot was poured for us, and we raised it in toast over the cello’s melodies. A selection of rare teas befits the menu’s homage to the last 150 years, with some varieties (such as Manuka honey) giving a more modern flair, and more classic teas such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast sitting astride each other on the menu. Sandwiches appeared: four traditionally cut oblongs on white bread, which we nibbled on in accompaniment to our teas. The fillings were true to historic tradition: not surprisingly we were offered a roast beef, cucumber, smoked salmon, and truffled egg varieties.
After our sandwiches had been polished off, our basket of warm scones replaced them. For a table of two, we were offered just one plain and one fruited scone, and individual pots of jam, which wasn’t homemade. Lashings of fresh cream were offered with the scones, and we were invited to ask for more cream or jam if so we desired, so this would suit diners who wanted to fill their boots with sweet delights.
The cakes were served last, after the scones, however the staff did mention that should diners which to enjoy all three ‘courses’ of the tea at once, it would have been their pleasure to serve it that way. We were quite full by this point, but managed to find a teeny weeny space in our tummies to enjoy them; our favourite being the lemon choux filled with rhubarb curd and of course the black dark forest mousse with pink grapefruit heart. A playful take on a Victoria sponge was also served with our tea, however it is of note that this item is not on the menu so we’re not sure what it was.
Overall, we would say that by far and away, the best thing about Afternoon Tea at The Hansom, St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel was it’s incredibly unique and beautiful setting inside the old station building, which really does take your breath away and couldn’t be replicated having been opened 150 years ago. We left feeling full and very treated by the excellent staff, as well as whimsied off onto a melodic cloud of happiness thanks to the talented live musician.
The Hanson Afternoon Tea Menu:
- Plain and fruit scones
- Clotted cream, strawberry jam English cucumber, mint, crème fraîche
- Smoked trout, chive & lemon cream cheese, seeded bread
- Rare beef, horseradish cream, herb tart
- Burford Brown egg, truffle mayonnaise, mustard cress, brioche bread
- Berry mousse and red berry jelly
- Crispy red choux filled with rhubarb curd
- Strawberry tart with crème pâtissière
- Dark chocolate mousse with pink grapefruit heart