Welcome back to our teatime series where we’re testing out the best afternoon teas at many of the top Parisian Palace hotels.
Whether it’s a typically all-sweet French occasion or, in this case, a slightly British-inspired teatime with savories, you’ll surely be tempted to book a table at one of our favorite 5-star hotels for your next Paris visit, as each have their own sumptuous specialities.
Following the 100% Vegan teatime at the Shangri-La Palace we’re now heading for an art-inspired afternoon tea.
Just walking into Le Dali restaurant from the main entrance of the busy rue de Rivoli is a revelation: the Philippe Stark décor is strikingly surreal, yet the atmosphere is very welcoming and feels like an oasis of calm. With super comfortable sofas to sink into and staff who are very attentive but not hurried, it’s tempting to just sit and imagine previous regulars like Salvador Dali or Andy Warhol walk through the door.
Looking discretly around for celebrities, it seems fitting to opt for the “Tea Time au Champagne:” a flute of champagne Pommery, Apanage Rosé, followed by an array of 5 types of utterly delicious finger sandwiches (some toasted to order) served on three-tier plates, with a distinctly British flavour and appearance yet somehow still very French! There’s also a mouth-watering scone, complete with jam and clotted cream, reminiscent of Fortnum & Mason’s in London – but the cakes and pastries are all 100% French. A choice of truly gourmandise offerings are crafted by head pastry chef, Cédric Grolet, such as his artistic re-interpretations of the Paris-Brest, Mont Blanc, Saint-Honoré and éclairs. You can see why he was awarded Best Pastry Chef 2016 by Relais Desserts, a prestigious French group of über-talented pastry chefs.
An extensive tea selection has you perusing the menu, including Fleur de Thé, topped up at will. The hot chocolate would no doubt be a great alternative during the wintry months.
As with the Camelia, the highlights are having savory as well as sweet offerings on the table. As if all this isn’t enough, wait for one of the pastry chefs to come round with Madeleine or Financier teacakes just out the oven! As with the other teatimes, it is rather impossible to finish everything on the table, and you could happily spend a couple of hours here and either skip lunch or dinner either side, or have a snack instead. It was a truly fabulous experience – not as cozy at the Ritz; I did like the smaller space there better and the central table and all those heavenly flowers, but this comes a pretty close second!
If you wanted to go all out, it would be a heavenly plan to opt for the “Cocooning Tea Time Champagne,” which includes a 60 minute face or body spa treatment, as well as access to the Hammam (steam room), sauna and relaxation room. I'll have to do that next time!
Teatime au Dali €50
Teatime au Champagne Selection Alain Ducasse €68; Pommery €76
Cocooning Tea Time Champagne €227
Every day: 3.30pm-6pm
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Metro Tuileries (Line 1) or Concorde (Lines 1, 8 and 12)
(All images courtesy of The Dorchester Collection and Le Meurice Paris.)