Since it was first served in London in 1865 The Langham has been synonymous with tiffin and the Auckland location offers the delicacy, decadence and delight that The Langham is renowned for.
On a gloriously sunny Auckland afternoon High Tea Society had the pleasure of taking tiffin (afternoon tea) at the Langham Hotel. Since it was first served in London in 1865 The Langham has been synonymous with tiffin and the Auckland location offers the delicacy, decadence and delight that The Langham is renowned for.
Tiffin begins with a delightful amuse bouche and tea selection. For special occasions there is also the option to add a glass of Louis Roederer champagne – we chose a lovely sweet rose to start our afternoon, a perfect match for either the savoury selection or scones on offer. With the possibility of a second choice of tea to accompany the sweet course, guests are serenaded by the sounds of a live harp player as they experience this most elegant of pastimes.
Led by Executive Chef Volker Marecek, The Langham offers a magical array of cuisines across its numerous restaurants and the bite-sized morsels at Tiffin are an excellent showcase of the kitchen’s talent. An amuse bouche of chicken and pineapple curry in a savoury cone sets the scene for an explosion of flavour within delicately prepared mouthfuls. Scones with cream and jam and a selection of small sandwiches play to the traditional nature of tiffin, but it was the slightly more inventive goat’s cheese and truffle tartlet with sun-dried tomato that stole our hearts. From its flaky and light pastry crust to the rich, creamy centre and then perfectly balanced by the tang of the tomato and truffle, this was an item we were fighting over and would definitely be the first to go next time!
Wooed by the bright colours of the pistachio raspberry slice we moved onto the sweet tier of the tea tray, delighting in the grand marnier chocolate cupcake and the chocolate and peanut mousse, two rich and decadent desserts that were perfect in miniature form. However it was the strawberry and lemon tart that really stole the show – light, fresh, zesty and oh so symbolic of the sunny weather that is hopefully coming our way, the first bite of early summer strawberries instantly conjures up the feeling of sun on the face and sand underfoot.
The Langham offers a wide array of Dilmah teas from traditional black and green teas through to exotic white teas, tisanes and iced teas for those hot summer afternoons. We tasted two teas on this occasion, expertly advised by the Langham’s own tea sommelier, Benjamin McManus Personally selected by Dilmah’s Merrill J Fernando, the private estate tea we sipped on transported us away to distant lands. The Rilhena estate was a rich, earthy tea and envoked images of rolling mountains covered in tea bushes and embraced by cloud. Paired perfectly with the rum and raisin scone this was a tea that was equally enjoyable neat, or with milk and sugar. Expertly blended by The Langham London’s Master Tea Blender Alex Probyn, the Palm Court Exotic blend transported us to China with notes of hibiscus, rose hip and rose petal, a lighter, sweeter tea that was a great accompaniment to the tier of sweet treats on offer.
Elegant and simple, tea was served from stark white teapots and poured into unadorned white cups. Far from basic, the white allowed the focus to be on the tea and food, their colours and flavours easily appreciated against a simple backdrop.
First developed as a bakery by Charles Partington in 1851 the site on which The Langham stands today passed down through generations until 1950 when the original windmill was demolished. Following a twenty-year existence as the Sheraton hotel, a $12million dollar refurbishment and renovation was initiated in 2005, modelled on the original Langham hotel in London. Entering either from the street or other areas of the hotel one crosses the expansive lobby with its most impressive chandelier. This elegance and opulence continues in the rich fabrics used in the Winery from the drapery to the floral-patterned high back chairs that one sinks back into for a relaxing afternoon tea.
A live harp player adds to the atmosphere in the winery, further adding to the idea of an escape; a few moments of celebration and sophistication amidst the bustling city. With a chorus line of soft conversation and the tinkle of teaspoons, tiffin at The Langham is a wonderful way to while away an hour or two.
As well as regular menu updates The Langham offers inventive menus for special occasions and events. Their Mother’s Day Tiffin is well known and we’re already counting down to December and the festive-themed treats on offer in the lead up to Christmas – what better way to take a moment out from all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and decorating! Whether visiting from out of town or seeking a short escape from the daily grind, Tiffin at the Langham Auckland is a most delicious and decadent way to spend and afternoon.