It’s not every day that a London hotel’s pastry chefs win a major TV competition – but that’s exactly what has happened over at the five-star luxury The Landmark Hotel in Marylebone.
Their Head Pastry Chef Mauro Di Lieto, and Pastry Sous Chef Daniel Schevenels, won this year’s Bake Off: The Professionals on Channel 4, the competition that puts professional bakers to the test.
Sensibly, The Landmark is not letting the pastry duo rest on their glory for long, and have launched a special Bake Off inspired Afternoon Tea, devised, of course by Mauro and Daniel.
And that is one Afternoon Tea we had to follow up on!
The Landmark London is situated in Marylebone and has, since its debut 120 years ago, remained an icon of elegant London charm. Mauro has worked as Head Pastry Chef for over four years at The Landmark London, and has worked alongside Pastry Sous Chef, Daniel, since September 2021. Together they hold upwards of 60 years’ experience in pastry curation and design. Clearly an award-winning combination!
The setting for the Afternoon Tea is The Landmark’s extremely impressive Winter Garden, under the soaring eight-storey-high glass atrium, and the tea is Inspired by pastry creations that earned the pair the Bake Off prize.
First up is an expansive choice of teas, with their two Landmark blends particularly complimentary for Afternoon Tea: their Winter Garden blend with both Indian and China black teas; and the Landmark blend, with Assam and Ceylon tea and a hint of Bourbon vanilla. Perhaps more than a hint.
There is also the choice of adding a glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve NV, or Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV, if you want to pimp up your already-special experience to dizzier heights!
The first serving is a selection of freshly made classic sandwiches, gently reinvented with some very imaginative flavours and fillings. They include a Lapsang Souchong smoked Scottish salmon, and a lightly-spiced coronation chicken served on walnut bread. The egg sandwich with black truffle, and classic cucumber sandwiches were also delicious. My favourite was the smoked salmon sandwich, with just the right amount of gently flavoured salmon in there.
Not only that, but the hotel is very generous with topping you up! – so sandwich refills were plenty. Just don’t overdo it, because much more awaits.
The sweet round was the main event, and did not disappoint. At all.
If you are even casually interested in baking and desserts, you will be impressed by their four stunning creations: a Chocolate and salted caramel Swiss roll with banana cremaux and peanut butter, with the most moist of sponges; a Raspberry and lemon pavlova with crème fraiche, shaking up the traditional pav; a White chocolate and ginger cheesecake, served with pears and exotic yuzu; and a Vanilla custard, almond choux, with passion fruit and coriander – the vanilla custard with an almond praline, balanced with a gel of passion fruit and coriander.
I was especially impressed with the White chocolate and ginger cheesecake, with all of the flavours working together like mad and delivering something unexpected and delightful.
All of the four desserts were beautifully designed and presented, mini works of art that seemed a shame to destroy, but once in there, there’s no stopping you.
If all that wasn’t enough (spoiler: it was!), then alongside the desserts, you get numerous classic, and candied apricot and marzipan, scones. These were some of the lightest scones we have ever eaten, and we have eaten a lot of scones. They are served with lashings of jam (a number of varieties, including, of course, strawberry) and clotted cream. Plus some more exotic choices including chocolate cream.
The service we received throughout the Afternoon Tea was perfect – efficient, knowledgeable, but unstuffy and relaxed.
Overall, the new Afternoon Tea at The Landmark proves to be an entertaining and sophisticated treat, in a beautiful setting. Most importantly, it delivers on both style and flavour, taking the traditional Afternoon Tea to a new level of taste and creativity, without messing with the elements that make an Afternoon Tea work so well.
Clearly Mauro and Daniel deserved that Bake Off prize, and it’s lucky for us that we get to share in the glory.
By PAUL RAVEN
The new Afternoon Tea is priced at £70 per person, or £83 with a chilled glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve NV, and £93 with a glass of Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV.
Sittings: Monday to Friday: From 3:00pm till 5:00pm (last seating at 4:30pm); Saturday to Sunday: From 1:00pm till 5:00pm (last seating at 4:30pm)