Social media is incredible isn’t it? It has the power to influence millions of people, spread messages instantly across the globe and to connect communities of likeminded individuals. Yet there are so many negatives. I’ll put my hand up and say I’ve used it many a time to compare my worst parts to everyone else’s highlights. I’m regularly open about the fact that despite feeling like I have a great balance there are times when I’ll feel sick and bloated from overeating and I’ll see someone floating around in a beautiful bikini on a stunning beach with a green juice surrounded by a flock of unicorns having done a 10k run and yes, depending on my mood it may make me feel like crap!
I feel like there’s a prominent theme amongst fitness accounts of unhealthy relationships with food whether it be restriction or deprivation, unnecessary labelling of different foods or diets, obsessive exercise regimes and an underlying theme of aesthetic goals. I have thought about stopping using social media in the past – I think sometimes it can be too easy to get wrapped up in an unrealistic world with a warped view of reality but the opportunities I’ve had, the power to spread positive messages and some of the incredible people I’ve met truly do outweigh the negatives. I know it’s a complete cliché and I’m not usually one for long soppy posts, but earlier this year I met someone who I’d probably never have crossed paths with otherwise and I feel so grateful. We bonded over our mutual love of food (of course!) but I feel like our views are so aligned on so many things.
Anyway long story short, and long ramble of an intro over – Georgie was the one who suggested going to Hotel Café Royal after brunch one day in London. She’d mentioned they previously had a dessert tasting menu and we were gutted that it was no longer there, but the range of cakes and patisseries they have on offer are incredible! Situated on the beautiful row of elegant Grade II listed buildings on Regent Street, it’s just as grand as you’d expect – serving a menu that features both British and French influences in a beautifully elegant (yet relaxed environment). The interior is so pretty – everything is set in beautiful golden marble with artwork from local galleries, loaves of bread piled up as part of their window display and of course the pastry counter – packed full of the most stunning handcrafted cakes, potted desserts, chocolates, cakes and pastries in an array of colours, shapes and designs.
We went there on an early weekend afternoon, and most of the tables are reserved for lunch service, but there were bar seats available and a lovely little table tucked away in the corner by the window (right next to all of the bread!) with a beautiful view of Regent Street. We opted for the table and then rushed back to the pastry counter to try and narrow down the extensive list of options! It was so lovely to be out with someone who like me has a bloody good appetite, and we firmly agreed that sharing food is great, but only if there is more than enough food! It was a beautifully sunny afternoon so we were both in the mood for trying some of the lighter, fruitier options, but of course chocolate had to feature in there somewhere. We eventually narrowed it down to their peach melba donut, cherry jam sandwich and banoffee slice with an iced coffee and a passion fruit earl grey iced tea.
The service was perfect – polite, friendly and efficient and our cakes were brought over on a beautiful slate. None of the desserts we ordered were anything like what we expected but they were absolutely incredibly nonetheless. I was almost glad that there hadn’t been a description as I feel like it would have put me off ordering them otherwise. The banoffee slice was a mix of coconut, banana and chocolate – a combination I’d never have thought would work (coconut and banana!?) but it was absolutely perfect.
I chose the peach melba donut because I was expecting it to have a cake-like texture inside; instead it had more of a mousse/jelly-type centre which in theory would be my worst dessert nightmare, but it was stunning – encased in a beautifully sweet white chocolate coating and the peach flavoured jelly (and an intriguing pipette of some watery white liquid, which we couldn’t for the life of us figure out the flavour of!).
Our final choice was the cherry jam sandwich – again, nothing like what I was expecting! The jam was sweet but sharp and it was surrounded by a vanilla-type biscuit. Like the donut, I was expecting cake to feature somewhere, but the biscuit was lovely and the flavour combination worked perfectly. Even the white chocolate disks were positioned perfectly!
This place is perfect for when you want something a little more special – the interior is beautiful, the atmosphere is so relaxed and their ever-changing array of patisseries taste just as beautiful as they look.. I can’t wait to go back and try some more! 🙂
Link to their website: http://www.hotelcaferoyal.com/dining