Melissa and I always leave it way too long to have our catch-ups. She is fascinating and brilliant company, as a fellow expat blogger usually is – plus, she’s Canadian and Canadians always have a unique bond with us Kiwis given that they also frequently get mistaken for their louder neighbours. Anyway, we had planned to meet up over the bank holiday weekend – that one where it rained non-stop.
Thankfully, I’d been invited to do a High Tea Society review at the Marylebone Hotel meaning the only rain that cursed us was the short walk there and getting drenched while struggling against the crowds on Oxford Street after (but that was my fault for suddenly deciding that I had to buy a yellow bag~).
It really was the perfect day to head inside for several hours. The friendly staff and the daylight that they’d managed to naturally build into the hotel actually made it seem like it was nicer outside than it was.
I arrived early and thankfully was sat in ridiculously comfy furniture with a convenient magazine rack beside me. I enjoyed a healthy juice while reading Red. Then lovely Melissa turned up and we enjoyed Pantry at 108’s fantastic gluten free afternoon tea which they’d asked me to review. Below is an amended version of what I wrote for the High Tea Society.
“High Tea Society had a lovely afternoon enjoying afternoon tea at Pantry at 108 in the Marylebone Hotel. This is a friendly establishment not far from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and the perfect anecdote from a day’s shopping.
We were there to sample Pantry 108’s latest gluten free and healthy afternoon tea. Recently created by Executive Chef, Russell Ford, this is a healthy menu which begins with a selection of sandwiches and salads served on light and fluffy gluten free bread, some of the softest and freshest bread of its type that we have tried in London.
Along with sandwiches that included cucumber with cream cheese, smoked salmon, egg, and ham, we were also served buffalo mozzarella with spiced lentils and rocket salad along with a delicious quinoa salad. These went well with the Rare Tea Company Darjeeling and fragrant Earl Grey teas which were refilled when needed.
Feeling virtuous, we moved onto the gluten free scones with clotted cream and fresh home-made strawberry jam. For us, these were the highlights of the afternoon tea – their lightness made them indistinguishable from normal scones, a rare feat. The jam, delicious.
For our final course, we were treated to a selection of gluten free cakes which included coconut and date, pomegranate and banana along with blueberry and coco, a flapjack and a delicious elderflower trifle. These were also served with seasonal berries which went down nicely.
To complement what was a relatively healthy afternoon tea, we were able to choose from a selection of juices and smoothies from The Juicery, many made with superfoods and well needed given London’s recent daily forecasts of four-seasons-in-one-day.
Taking design inspiration from the Edwardian history of The Marylebone Hotel, the light-filled interiors at Pantry at 108 convey a welcoming and sophisticated feel through the use of 19th century inspired furnishings, contemporary fabrics in vibrant colours and traditional materials such as painted panels, timber flooring and marble. One of our party arrived early and enjoyed a selection of magazines in comfortable surroundings sipping on a juice made with rose water and berries.
Pantry at 108’s service was fantastic. Our waiter friendly and knowledgeable. We appreciated his enthusiasm for the menu and stories behind each of the teas we were served.
All in all, we had a great time at Pantry at 108 and will definitely return. We liked the enthusiasm of the staff for their menus, the light and airy décor and the effort that they have put into their gluten free offerings – the scones to go back for more of. We would recommend this venue for gatherings of the girls (perfect for a classy hen party or baby shower) or just a quiet break after a shopping spree in nearby Oxford Street.”
Not much more to say really! I enjoyed this afternoon tea a lot but I must admit, I will likely go for the non-gluten-free option next time as I do like my pastries and did miss them a bit. However, if I was gluten free, I would have been delighted with this as the sandwiches and scones rocked my world. Also, I think Pantry at 108 would be a great place just to pop in for a pot of tea and slice of cake – they had a great range of cakes and slices and Marylebone is such a great area to have a stroll then something to eat.
Pantry at 108 can be found 108 Marylebone Lane London W1U 2QE. Nearest tubes are Bond and Baker Street stations. We were guests of the Marylebone Hotel.