Off to Harvey Nichols for a Great Gatsby afternoon tea

Date:11-05-2013 07:58:03 read:8

Off to Harvey Nichols for a Great Gatsby afternoon tea

To celebrate the new Great Gatsby film, Harvey Nichols are offering a 1920s-themed afternoon spread. Olivia Parker went to channel her inner flapper.

Olivia Parker, right, and friend get into the Gatsby spirit at Harvey Nichols
Back to the Twenties: Olivia Parker, right, and friend get into the Gatsby spirit at Harvey Nichols Photo: Andrew Crowley

There must have been a moment, shortly after the announcement of the latest Great Gatsby adaptation, when the green light of forthcoming profit dawned on ten thousand different marketing teams up and down the country.

Harvey Nichols couldn’t have known that by now, still five days away from the film’s official UK launch, we’d all be sick of the various Gatsby gambits that have taken over our bars, restaurants and shop windows, let alone newspapers and magazines, in celebration of the legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book.

Still, if you choose to pay only a single homage to the theme-of-the-moment, you could do worse than Harvey Nichols’s interpretation: a Roaring Twenties Afternoon Tea.

They’ve decked out their fifth floor restaurant in delightfully arranged magnolia and pussy willow branches, and the long-suffering staff, just recovered from the Viva Forever Spice Girls theme of a few months back, have been cajoled into monochrome striped aprons and black, gangster-style braces.

The menu costs a suitably opulent £30, or £40 if you want a coupette of Harvey Nichols champagne or Prohibition cocktail. I would recommend a Pink Lady, a blend of gin, lemon juice, grenadine and cointreau with a maraschino cherry hiding at the bottom.

Pink Lady in hand and channelling your inner Clara Bow, you can then get started on the food. The pot of tea that’s included starts to seem rather redundant at this point, as once you’re half way through the lobster rolls and "Blini Gribiche" – blinis topped with scrambled eggs and capers – it's easy to feel supercilious towards anything so commonplace.

Luckily, not much else is ordinary: the scones with clotted cream and champagne jam, though slightly out of place in the theme of this spread, are afternoon tea staples done so well by Harvey Nichols that I don’t begrudge their inclusion by a crumb.

The real stars of this tea, though, are the cakes. “Inspired by decadence, glamour and wealth” they are a sight to behold, balanced on their black and gold art deco cake stand like flappers perched on the steps of a nightclub. The coconut and white chocolate macaroons are sprayed with an iridescent pearl shimmer and the pineapple upside-down cake, looking a good few social classes more elegant than its name suggests, is topped with a sparkling, ruby-coloured fruit gem. They taste pretty fabulous too, as does the bootlegger rum chocolate and coffee cake: a cunning way to disguise alcohol during the Prohibition era, I presume, though I’d bet their icing-layering techniques weren’t as polished back then.

In a vain attempt to cleanse the palate after such decadence (and to ensure the booze levels remain high), the penultimate offering is a gin rickey jelly, a slightly sickly lemon gin concoction with lime cream, served in a martini glass and sprinkled with mint jelly and another glossy maraschino. “Apparently very healthy these days”, claims the head waiter with a wink.

The meal, for a mere "tea" it certainly is not, ends with a charming touch, as we are served a "cigar" from a custom-made Gatsby cigar box. It is in fact a peanut butter filled wafer rolled in cocoa powder, and is the perfect final mouthful before I either Charleston off down Sloane Street, or collapse under the table from a surfeit of bootlegger rum cake.

Harvey Nichols Roaring Twenties Afternoon Tea is at the Fifth Floor Season restaurant until 31 July, serving tea daily from 3pm-5pm. To book, please call 02072355250

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013