July 9, 2019
Mariage Frères Tea Emporium – elegance personified
Mariage Frères tea emporium opened with little fanfare, no need to shout from the roof tops, the five story Georgian townhouse speaks volumes, it’s the most impressive tea emporium I’ve ever seen. Located in King Street in the heart of Covent Garden, it is the most ideal location for a few hours reprieve from shopping.
Once inside this stunning listed building commitment to quality is evident in every detail and product, from the elegant retail space and restaurant, specialising in tea gastronomy, through to the two private events spaces and the tea museum.
Mariage Frères boasts the largest tea collection in the world, it’s actually quite daunting, but fear not, help is at hand to guide you through the extensive tea menu.
Did you know there are red, blue, green black, red and yellow teas, fruit teas, vintage teas and unique harvest teas. These teas all have their own unique flavour and aroma and marry perfectly with sweet or savoury dishes, to be advised by the tea specialists on hand to help, every step of the way.
The pretty shop with its vintage style tea canisters in the apothecary-style wall is just a sight to behold, but alongside the tea are lots of great tea related gifts, tea-flavoured and tea-scented items such as signature fragrances, incense and candles as well as confectionary, gift sets, distinctive teapots and teacups, books, strainers andall manner of tea paraphernalia. Once you’ve sampled the tea during afternoon tea you will never drink tea from a ‘mug’ again, bone china teapots and cups are a must.
After a tour of the shop we ventured upstairs to the Salon de Thé, this elegant white space with beautiful table linen, sparkly cutlery and fine bone china tableware was light and airy, comfortable and chic. We sat at a table for two and opened the menu, eeek! Where to start! But our white linen clad tea specialist came to our rescue and offered some recommendations, one for the savoury course and one for the sweet course.
Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, Mariage Frères’ unique Cuisine au Thé concept runs throughout the menus, using tea as a delicate ingredient, spice or flavouring in every dish. We were visiting Mariage Frères for the champagne afternoon tea. The presentation was simply amazing, artistic and beautiful. Our savoury dishes consisted of light and contemporary avocado guacamole-style with Japanese Matcha green tea and sweet potato crisps; seared Thai-style beef tartar seasoned with Lune Rouge tea, honey soy sauce, ginger, cashew and toasted sesame; veal with Jasmin Bohème tea; roasted chicken with smoky Black Léopard Tea jus; and Saumon Matcha with sautéed spinach, Siam rice and barberries.
Next came the tea-infused desserts which were as delicious as they looked and were a work of art, with the likes of Rouge in Love with Paris Over the Rainbow rooibos tea-candied strawberries with cream, bourbon vanilla shortbread and French meringue; and a decadent Carré D’Or, a 24-carat dessert of dark chocolate covered with Black Magic Teaand 24-carat gold leaves.
The champagne was a super treat, delicious and cold, an addition to the tea that created perfection.
Each and every dish has a gentle hint of tea of one variety or another, creating a subtle gentle aromatic and flavoursome experience. The afternoon was so special, we left feeling we had enjoyed an extremely elegant affair. The service was quiet, unassuming and meticulous, the cuisine different in a good way and the building awe-inspiring.
A: Mariage Frères, 38 King Street, Covent Garden
T: 020 7836 1854
W: Mariage Frères