Not too long ago, I posted the first part of my adventure at Harrods, with particular emphasis on my lunch at The Steakhouse. While Mamanie and I both agreed that we’ve been more impressed with other steakhouses, we weren’t quite ready to give up on Harrods yet. So, after getting ourselves together and making our way out of the main dining area, we moved onto other sections, which obviously included more of their food-friendly rooms as well. As we peeked between the hordes of people purchasing food to check out pork pies and wine-infused cheeses, we knew that our food experience wasn’t quite over yet. This point was brought home when my broke, post-college kid ears perked up to two magic words: Free. Samples.
I’m almost positive that I’ve been slowly developing Spidey senses for free samples since birth, and once I hit college, the powers came out in full force. If the hundreds of resumes I’ve sent out this month don’t turn into at least one job, I think I’ll do some Ph.D. research on this phenomenon. Of course, Pecorino with Truffle Honey was a little more intense than the frozen chicken bites they hand out at Sam’s Club, but it was twice as appreciated for this reason. The honey stung your taste buds right away, and if you’re still with me after that shameful joke, I will let you know that it made me think about pecorino in a completely different way. Normally, I just grate my pecorino over some arugula or experience it when I’m fortunate enough to come across cacio e pepe, but pairing it with honey and eating it on its own was pretty new to me. These hard, salty cheeses aren’t something I seek out outside of toppings for salads, pastas, etc., but I think that I’ll be experimenting with them a bit more now.
Realizing that I needed to get out of that room before I dropped some significant money on something I probably couldn’t even bring back into the U.S., I dragged my grandma through the store and up to the second floor to explore The Tea Room. I’ve never taken to coffee because I just don’t understand why people would willingly spend money on something that tastes so nasty, but I’ve pretty much always enjoyed black teas. This might just be because I grew up in a Persian household where chai is served at all hours of the day, but whatever the reason, I jumped at the opportunity to try out some legit English teas.
We were seated immediately, and I quickly opened up to the list of options for tea to give myself plenty of time to decide. Since my grandma is more of a coffee person and quickly chose the Cappuccino, I knew that I needed just enough tea for one. A fair warning to anyone who ever decides to stop by The Tea Room though, the Pot of Tea for One actually equals four solid cups that will have you running through the nearby gift store to find the restroom.
The tea I opted for in this fairly large portion was the Afternoon Special Blend. It was just the right balance between being robust and sweet. I was pretty happy and didn’t need to add anything else to it, which is what I always look for as a black tea drinker. However, that didn’t mean that I was going to turn extra goodies down.
What I really was looking forward to was the Sticky Toffee Pudding that I begged Mamanie for. When I was in the U.K. last summer, I ate this treat everywhere I could find it, but this one was, I’m sorry to say, pretty gross. In case you’ve never read my blog, I am a devoted dessert girl. When I hear people like Anthony Bourdain say they have no love of dessert, my chocolate heart melts a little bit. While I love all my hearts, and tongues, and pork belly, I think that sweets are essential for life on earth. However, if I was given ones like this pudding as a child, I, too, would probably not know the joy that sweet treats can bring into one’s life. This was overloaded with ginger and filled with dates which seemed to both make the dry cake even drier and add an odd flavor to the dessert. This was a far cry from the sticky toffee pudding I had in Kilarney that had led to me begging my friend Emily for a second one. I was pretty upset that it was the only time I got to experience it this go around since it was so bad.
Although the sticky toffee pudding was one huge dessert fail, the small Forest Fruit Eton Mess was incredibly pleasing. This fruit compote was perfectly tart with raspberry, but was also balanced out well by the rich Chantilly cream. It was much smaller than the sticky toffee pudding, but I would have gladly had more of this choice. Raspberries are my favorite fruit, but I’d imagine this dessert would taste good with pretty much any kind of compote in it. It was a great summery dessert, and considering how toasty London was when I visited, it was perfect to refresh my grandma and I a bit, too.
Overall, I have less to complain about with The Tea Room than to The Steakhouse, but since I was born to eat stick toffee pudding, I was a bit more disappointed with my meal here. I enjoy a good meal and definitely don’t mind dropping a nice portion of a paycheck down for a fantastic treat, but the food here just didn’t match up with their prices. I guess most people come for the experience and Harrods can easily get away with the prices they charge from the clientele they attract, but I had better food at Pret than I did here. Harrods will never be my first choice for a meal, but with the prices they’re charging, I don’t think one customer means all that much to them anyway.