We decided to stay in London at Montegue on the Gardens, partly because it is close to the British Museum and also because they have a highly recommended high tea. We had a lovely stay, the hotel strikes a nice balance between being very British in it's furnishings and very friendly with regards to service and staff. Aside from that, it is located on a beautiful street in Bloomsbury, a block away from the British Museum and close to Covent Garden, the Theatre District and Oxford Street. In addition the private gardens in the back are really beautiful.
The lobby is very traditional British and I loved the window boxes with red geraniums, boxwood and ivy.
The small tea room overlooks the beautiful gardens in the rear. You cannot enter the private garden but it is a lovely setting for tea.
As for the tea itself, it was delicious. The Montague is a member of The Tea Guild (I bet you did not know there was a Tea Guild), which is a prestigious and unique organization that represents outlets dedicated to brewing and serving tea to the high standards desired by the United Kingdom Tea Council. They received a special “Award of Excellence” from the UK Tea Council in recognition of outstanding quality and consistently high standards of tea service for 2013. It came with the requisite finger sandwiches; Egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, Smoked Scottish salmon, Free-range corn-fed chicken with celery and almonds and Cucumber cream cheese and chives. All without crust and deliciously consumed in no time.
Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English had two main meals, breakfast and dinner. It was no wonder that Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) experienced a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon. Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at four o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a 'walking the fields'.” The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.
Of course it would not be tea without fresh warm scones, clotted creme and strawberry jam. The scones were served wrapped in linen to keep them warm, a nice touch. The clotted creme was a little different, sort of like very soft butter but with a different taste than butter. They were really good, maybe the best I have had. They tasted like they were fresh from the oven. The service was very friendly, we asked the waitress about the area and she was very helpful. Altogether we loved the hotel and the tea. The reviews on TripAdvisor pretty much agreed with us, they received a Certificate of Excellence in 2013. It is a European hotel, the rooms are a little small but that is more than made up for by the location, service and quality. We would have no hesitation recommending this hotel and the tea.