On a recent trip to London my eldest son, Mr Tom, surprised me with a visit to the beautiful Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel. Each season the theme of the terrace changes and this Spring it’s a tribute to the honey bee and its importance to the ecosystem. Named after Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, the walls of terrace are covered in wild English flowers designed by Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart and dotted with bees. The afternoon tea menu is bee-themed too with sweet elements inspired by four key habitats for bees – Forest, Garden, Field and Mountain.
The terrace looked so pretty it was hard to concentrate on deciding which tea to drink. We chose herbal infusions – a Lemon Verbena for Mr Tom (apparently a ‘wonderful digestive’ which was useful considering all we ate) and for me a Tregothnan English Peppermint grown in Cornwall. We’d decided to forgo lunch to save some space for our afternoon tea. Our food arrived beautifully presented, so much so that a ravenous Mr Tom became a bit concerned I wouldn’t let him spoil the look by actually eating any of it. But I was hungry too…
Every bite was melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Our joint favourite in the end was not a sweet cake but the dainty Shropshire Blue and Spinach quiches. We sat and caught up with our news and put the world to rights fuelled by endless refills of our teapots and two hours went by in a flash. Our waiter, Georgi, brought the bill inside a slightly battered copy of Mrs Dalloway which was a lovely touch. He told us that the exquisite little honey bees on our cakes were hand made in Romania by the mother of the food and beverage manager. We also talked with Georgi about the risk of bees becoming extinct and some of the dangers they face from pesticides, parasites, disappearing habitats and climate change. One out of every three bites of food we eat each day relies on pollination, mostly by bees. So a big thank you little honey bees and Mr Tom for a wonderful afternoon tea.
Plant flowers, save the bees and don’t forget World Bee Day on May 20th!