Around the World in 80 Tea Rooms

The Ritz, London

No self respecting guide to tea rooms or afternoon tea could really be complete without The Ritz.  Designed by architects Charles Mewès and Arthur Davis,  It opened in May 1906, and its roll call is rather impressive… Charlie Chaplin (who needed 40 policemen to escort him through an army of fans), Anna Pavlova, the Aga Khan, Paul Getty, Tallulah Bankhead (who famously sipped Champagne from her slipper during a press conference in the 50’s), Sir Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle (who used the hotel for summit meetings during the 2nd World War), Judy Garland, Evelyn Waugh & Noel Coward.

Like its french counterpart- The Ritz Paris, the interior (including the Palm Court – above – where afternoon tea is served) was designed throughout in a neo classical style of Louis XV1 .

Royals (for whom there was a special bell to warn staff of their arrival) included, King Edward VII, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and King Alfonso of Spain and Queen Amelie of Portugal who met at the hotel.

The hotel was immortalised by Irving Berlin’s song ‘Puttin on the Ritz’ – Most famously sung by Fred Astaire,- however check out these other versions – including a very young Michael Jackson (late teens maybe?) with sister La Toya, Judy Garland, Gene Wilder & Teri Garr Clarke Gabel, Rufus Wainright and  my fave version with cool animation.

THE MENU

As you would expect – an array of traditional English sandwiches and scones.

  • Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
  • Ham Sandwiches
  • Chicken Sandwiches
  • Cucumber Sandwiches
  • Mature Cheddar Cheese Sandwiches
  • Egg Mayonnaise Bridge Roll
  • Freshly Baked Raisin and Apple Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserve
  • Assortment of Afternoon Tea Pastries
  • Ritz Chocolate Cake

The Ritz London,  150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7493 8181,

Confeitaria Colombo, Rio de Janeiro

Opened in September  1894, this was the first spectacular tea room / cafe built in Rio De Janeiro that could rival the likes of London or Paris.    Frequented by a selection of writers, composers, actresses & political figures and bohemian intellectuals including Olavo Bilac, Rui Barbosa, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Villa Lobos, Virginia Lane, Getulio Vargas

The Russian Tea Rooms, New York

A tea room of pedigree!  Founded by Members of the Russian Imperial Ballet  in 1927, according to the website “it has been a second home for boldface names and the intellectual elite—an exclusive enclave where actors, writers, politicians, and businessmen planned their next deals and feted their friends’ latest Carnegie Hall performances. The lively tradition and legacy of the Russian Tea Room is alive and well!”

Today its association with glamour and celebrity is still going strong, it has been the location for many Hollywood films including  Manhattan, When Harry Met Sally, The Turning Point, Tootsie and New York Stories, were filmed at the restaurant, as well as The Wrath of Con episode of Gossip Girl

According to Wikipedia in 1982, Madonna worked there, as a coat-check clerk.[

The Russian Tea Rooms, New York. Founded in 1927

MENU

High tea is a mix of interesting Russian Blinis and traditional sandwiches

  • Curried chicken salad with raisins and pecans;
  • Shrimp salad with rémoulade;
  • Smoked Scottish salmon with chive cream cheese and cucumber;
  • Artichoke with red pepper and a sun-dried tomato goat cheese;
  • Smoked ham and turkey with truffle croque monsieur;
  • N.Y smoked sturgeon with dill and sour cream;
  • Roquefort bleu cheese and pear with walnuts;
  • A tasting of two American caviars on Blinis

The Russian Tea Rooms,  150 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

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