If my sister was ever to give up her day job, I have no doubt that the world would quite rapidly gain a shiny new cake-maker, jewellery-curator or make-up artist extraordinaire. She may not be a blogger or writer but her list of artistic talents far extends mine. For her loved ones, this means slab upon slab of home-baked loaf cakes and sumptuous fresh lunches and for me, specifically, it means a free makeover every time she and I go anywhere together.
Cut from the same cloth, she too hates to waste her annual leave but she’s less for the foreign escapades and more for the London foodie ones. So it was no surprise that she was the first of us to hear of the creative, new make-up inspired afternoon tea hitting London this summer – the highly anticipated Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea at Balthazar London.
Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea, London
I am rarely one to talk or care much for beauty chit-chat but I must admit, at least half of my (rather small) make up bag is filled with Bobbi Brown cosmetics and in her quarter century of trading, her cosmetic empire has amassed cult status among millions of loyal customers around the globe. It was in honour of 25 years of the brand that the Bobbi Brown afternoon tea was launched at the London branch of her favourite New York brunch spot, Balthazar.
For my sister and I, it was a return to Balthazar London, as we had dined there for brunch once before and, as is the best way with any afternoon tea, we arrived starving to waiting staff, who seemed genuinely proud and excited about this limited edition tea on offer.
My sister nudged me two or three times to take more photographs and blog about the tea but I politely declined. After a run of afternoon tea experiences on the blog ranging from the gold afternoon tea to the Spanish afternoon tea, the London bus afternoon tea to the summer-scented afternoon tea, this was one afternoon where I was planning to retire, eat and enjoy.
But then I heard it was Afternoon Tea Week this week and…well….if the world is kind enough to oblige this tasty tradition with an entire dedicated week, then it’s only right I do my part to contribute and share the scone love 😀
After a brief run through of the menu and enquiry from the staff regarding dietary requirements, we got perusing the tea choices and our hungry mouths were salivating from the outset when the waiter told us that if we wanted more sandwiches or scones after completing our servings, all we had to do was ask and they would happily top us up.
Most afternoon tea aficionados will know that second rounds of scones and sarnies, whilst highly tempting, are often a challenge to conquer. I for one am always surprised at how quickly I start to feel full during afternoon tea. Nevertheless, there is something so hospitable about the generosity of venues so willing to keep dishing out the goods until all customers leave content.
The sandwiches came in thick chunky fingers so are perhaps not suitable for those of you easily prone to developing carb babies but for bread lovers like us, this was only too welcome in our ravenous state.
And after a brief taster of the wholesome plain and raisin scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, we proceeded to demolish the upper deck of the 3 tier cake stand before our appetites could betray us any further.
However, given that Bobbi Brown herself paired up with Balthazar’s head pastry chef to help design indulgent, patisserie versions of some of her most popular items, it would have been rude of us not to spend a moment or two guessing which Bobbi Brown products the desserts had been inspired by. It is a most surreal moment when the same black eyeliner you are wearing at the afternoon tea is dished up on your plate in the form of a chocolate and blackberry Sachertorte eyeliner!
Those of you who use Bobbi Brown products may recognise some of these cakes from the contents of your own cosmetic bags but I can assure you that this shimmer brick is a much tastier alternative, built of champagne-infused rhubarb. And the praline, mango and passion foundation stick is far better placed on your taste buds than your cheeks.
Bobbi Brown Make Up Lesson
As part of this limited edition afternoon tea experience and with the tea being held strategically, just around the corner from Balthazar, all Bobbi Brown afternoon tea guests are entitled to a complimentary make up lesson at the Bobbi Brown store. Unfortunately, the two-minute or so walk from Balthazar to the store was barely enough to burn off the tea we had drunk nevermind the carbs and cakes consumed.
Book ahead for your make up lesson rather than just rocking up and taking a chance like we did but despite our cheeky last-minute antics, I was met by a highly enthused make-up artist, who put me under no pressure to purchase anything (and indeed I didn’t) but she did give me some really valuable pointers as to the colours and styles that could potentially suit me better and when I have a good excuse to refill my make up bag, I know who I’ll be returning to for a fuller make up lesson so I can finally relieve my sister!
The Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea is only running until the end of September so hurry along there to sample this photogenic tea experience; if you happen to have a make-up pro in your tribe or know a bride-to-be looking to enjoy an afternoon of decadence and some make up pointers before her big day, this might be just the experience!
Have you been to any unusual theme afternoon teas before and are you celebrating Afternoon Tea Week?!