The Kensington’s Jules Verne-Inspired Tea Takes Flight To The Middle East & Asia

The Kensington's Jules Verne-Inspired Tea Takes Flight To The Middle East & Asia

Simon Wittenberg embarks on the second leg of the “80 Days Around The World” Afternoon Tea journey at The Kensington hotel in London.

The luxury five-star Kensington hotel, which is part of The Doyle Collection, launched the first chapter of its Jules Verne novel-inspired afternoon tea in the run-up to the Christmas period last year, taking in the sights of London, Paris, Rome, and Cairo.

The latest iteration of the “80 Days Around The World” Afternoon Tea menu, which is priced at £58 per head (excluding champagne), ventures further across the Middle East to Yemen before heading to the continent of Asia. Any dietary requirements, like vegan, which my other half sampled, can be accommodated by the chefs on request.

We were stationed in the cosy library area of the Kensington Town House, an intimate space which features a small collection of tables and colourful suede and dark red leather chairs surrounded by subtly lit wooden shelves furnished with a small selection of books. Once sat down, the first task was to choose a tea, which have been tailored to complement the different delicacies listed on the à la carte.

Three images showing components of the afternoon tea

From the “Green Tea” page of the menu, we opted for a light and aromatic Dragonwell leaf tea originating from Zhejiang Province in China, and a “Single Estate English Breakfast” from the oldest tea estate in Malawi, Africa.

After a reasonable pause whilst the food was being prepared behind the scenes, we started on the top level of the elegant three-tier tea stand sporting plates decorated with a hot air balloon motif, reminiscent of the imagery that can be found on the cover of the Jules Verne novel.

The savoury bites, or “amuse bouches”, took in a whirl of hummus on circular toasted pitta bread with a dark green zhoug (a spicy green chilli sauce) centre – inspired by Yemen. This was followed by an oily but delicious deep-fried onion bhaji from India and culminated with a miso and sweet potato tapioca ball, which had an interesting rubbery texture. All in all, our “starters” were simply exquisite and were definitely one of the standout highlights of our visit to The Kensington.

A closeup view of the tea on its three tiers

With our eyes then turning towards the bottom tier, it was time to sample the array of sandwiches made with a light but slightly powdery brown and white gluten-free bread, which came with fillings, such as smoked salmon, green chutney and cucumber (from India), and tomato and grated cheese.

The non-vegan savoury offering featured a sumptuous Yemeni hot baked flatbread parcel encasing melted cheese, tomato and cumin, a sweet brioche roll from Hong Kong with egg and potato, and garnished with generous spring onion shavings, whilst there is also a chicken satay sandwich from Singapore for those who are carnivorous.

The intricate presentation of the tea was even more evident when it came to the “Sweets” on the middle tier. The dessert included “Basbousa” – a Yemenite semolina yoghurt cake soaked in orange and rose water dressed with gold leaf. It was pleasant enough, but at the same time was very dense, so it was difficult to finish in its entirety. Similarly, the kheer rice pudding-like yoghurt that sat on a raspberry coulis was far from being a firm favourite.

However, in contrast, the light and layered sponge-like Singaporean Pandan cake with a mango confit was divine, and the black sesame choux from Hong Kong was equally as tasty, but the mandarin cream, unfortunately, overpowered the decorative sesame seeds, so there was no real chance to enjoy this added subtle hint of flavour that normally come with these. With vegan alternatives available for this course, my wife enjoyed an orange jelly sweet to round off this part of the tea.

The afternoon tea's dessert tray

With another short break to leave the stomach to settle, warm quintessentially English scones, wrapped in a white cloth serviette, arrived with homemade raspberry jam, clotted cream, and dairy-free margarine. Joined with a couple of steaming cups of hot chocolate made with coconut milk – reminiscent of a Bounty chocolate bar, this was the perfect prelude to venturing back into the Spring sunshine gracing the streets of London on the day we went to The Kensington.

If we were to hazard a guess as to where the third and final chapter of the “80 Days Around The World” Afternoon Tea will be set, we would put a wager (admittedly not £20,000!) on the USA, which was amongst the last stops in Phileas Fogg’s trip, before he journeyed back to England to claim the big prize. However, only time will tell if our bet is right, and we can’t wait to see where the last leg in The Kensington’s voyage takes its visitors…

A cocktail to finish off the afternoon tea

“80 Days Around the World” Afternoon Tea at The Kensington – Where and How?

The Kensington is located at 109-113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LP, United Kingdom.

For more information on the “80 Days Around the World” Afternoon Tea, or to make a reservation, visit

See pictures from our visit to The Kensington on the Luxurious Magazine Instagram page.

Photography by Ben Carpenter.

Read more dining reviews, guides and news here.

A view of the seating area with the afternoon tea on a tableThe Kensington's Jules Verne-Inspired Tea Takes Flight To The Middle East & Asia 2

Simon Wittenberg

Senior Editorial Contributor

Born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and now based in London, Simon Wittenberg is the senior editorial contributor to Luxurious Magazine® reporting directly to Paul Godbold. A specialist in the automotive sector, he has now expanded his repertoire to encompass all aspects relating to luxury and lifestyle. Simon has worked with some of the world’s most iconic marques such as Lotus Cars, Ferrari and Tesla Motors. His passions include luxury goods, motorsport, fine dining and travel.

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