Cafes

Paris 2018: Afternoon Tea at Le Meurice

3/13/2019 12:42:00 PM

Bonjour! As promised, here's my post on the magnificent afternoon tea at Le Meurice in Paris!

Restaurant Le Dali

Restaurant Le Dali
Le Meurice
228 Rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris, France
Ph: +33 1 44 58 10 44

Back when we were planning my trip to Paris, Clarice suggested that we do the afternoon tea at Le Meurice, and my answer was an immediate "Oui". I didn't know much about Le Meurice, but Clarice is a fellow foodie, has lived in Paris for ages, and has great taste (especially in friends, hah), so I was more than happy to go with her suggestion.

Leading up to the trip I did a little research on Le Meurice and the afternoon tea, and got super excited. (And by "research", I mean a basic Google search and following all the relevant accounts on Instagram). Le Meurice is one of the world's great luxury hotels, on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris; the hotel restaurant (Restaurant Le Dali) has a Philippe Starck-designed interior; and the head pastry chef is Cédric Grolet, a superstar in the pastry world who has been voted World's Best Pastry Chef numerous times. (The creations on his Instagram are breathtaking).

Restaurant Le Dali

I was worried that the restaurant might be intimidating, but I found the whole experience to be warm, relaxed, and inviting. I'm also told by people in the know that the Le Meurice team try to extend the "luxury experience" to all their customers, whether you're staying in one of their signature suites or just popping in for a coffee.

So, let's get onto the afternoon tea. At the time of our visit in December 2018, the afternoon tea cost 74€ per person, with the option of adding a glass of champagne for an extra 18-26€ depending on the type of champagne. For a mere 181€ (!) more you could add a one-hour spa treatment and access to their Hammam and sauna. Perhaps next time.

They had a wide variety of teas (green, white, black, red, aged, iced, infusions), house-made hot chocolate, and coffees. Unlimited amounts of one drink are included in the price, but if you want to switch drinks then those are charged on consumption. We both chose white teas, which were perfect against the rich and indulgent food. Mine was the thé de la longévité suprême, a tea from Fujian with fine tannins, hints of mandarin, vanilla and anise. Clarice had the rose-raspberry white tea by Kusmi Tea Paris and Alain Ducasse, which was very delicate and refined. (And coincidentally, I was given a free teabag of this rose-raspberry tea later in the trip when I bought some Kusmi teas to take home, so I'm enjoying a cup now as I write this post!)

We started with three tiers of treats, and Clarice and I worked our way from the bottom up. 

Tea Time de Noél au Dali - 74€

The savoury sandwiches were all made in-house and were very nice. Moving from left to right, we had beef on toasted pain de mie, a vegetarian hummous sandwich on roast capsicum bread, a smoked salmon and nori wrap, and an egg and lettuce sandwich on focaccia-style bread. (N.B. I may have forgotten some details - it was an epic meal and my French is not what it used to be!)

They were all good, but the standout was definitely the beef sandwich. I loved the fluffy soft white bread with the perfectly toasted edges, and the gorgeously soft meat inside.

Beef on pain de mie

Now, the scones. There were plain scones, and blueberry crumble scones. The plain ones were everything you'd want a scone to be - warm, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

House made scones

The blueberry crumble scones were also great - you know how I feel about crumble - and they were filled with a generous amount of blueberry compote.

Blueberry crumble scone

Blueberry scone

The scones came with jams and raw cream from Maison Borniambuc. (Maison Borniambuc doesn't have much of an online presence, but from what I can gather they're a small raw dairy producer in Normandy).

Tea, jams, cream from La Maison Borniambuc

On the top tier were the stars of the show, the "Gourmandises de notre Chef Pâtissier Cédric Grolet". There was a tartlette Mont Blanc, a mini mandarine, and a tartlette chocolat. Cédric is famous for his desserts that look like the fruit or nut from which they're made, so I was thrilled to be trying one of his mini mandarines!

Gourmandises de notre Chef Pâtissier Cédric Grolet - Tartlette Mont Blanc, Tartlette Chocolat, Mini Mandarine

The mini mandarine is actually made of a very thin shell of white chocolate, filled with mandarin compote and a fluffy cream. Apart from being delightfully pretty, it had a really pure mandarin flavour and was a very light dessert. Both tartlettes had lovely crisp pastry bases and the fillings were creamy and well balanced. As with the mini mandarin, they weren't overly sweetened, and the primary flavours (chestnut and chocolate respectively) really shone through. Gorgeous!

Next up we have a little marron glacé, and a hazelnut cookie. 

Cookie noisette; Marron Glacé

I'll level with you - when I first saw the cookie, I wasn't too keen. It looked like it would be too sweet, especially as it had two types of caramel on it. Well friends, I was wrong. It was incredible! The caramel was well cooked, so it was deeply flavoured rather than tasting of just sugar. The toasted hazelnuts added more depth of flavour, and there was a generous amount of salt on the cookie. The flavours were well balanced and the cookie had a wonderful chewy texture against the crunchy hazelnuts. It was perfection!

This next photo is of perhaps the least glamorous part of the tea - the "dry biscuits". Well, I say least glamorous, but biscuits are definitely always my favourite!

Biscuits secs de Noél - pain d'épice, crisp butter and chocolate biscuits, florentines, mendiants, pâte de fruits

There were slices of pain d'épice (gingerbread), crisp butter biscuits, crisp chocolate biscuits, mendiants, florentines and pâte de fruits. My favourites here were both types of biscuits and the florentine. I guess I'm a sucker for anything with a nice crunch to it!

Now, in case you're wondering - no, we didn't eat everything. We started all gung-ho, eating all of the sandwiches, most of the scones, and most of the pastries on the top tier before we started getting super full. After the pastries, we slowed down and just had tiny bites of the other items. I wanted to at least try everything because, frankly, the tea was expensive and I wanted my money's worth, but also because I could tell that so much thought and skill had gone into those creations and I didn't want it to go unappreciated. Well, it turns out the staff are happy to pack up anything you can't finish. D'oh! They were super thorough about it too, and even packed away, for example, the half scone that I'd left and the remaining half-slices of pain d'épice. No wastage, I like it. If you do go to Le Meurice for the afternoon tea - don't be a hero! Just eat what you can and have them pack up the rest for later. (It seemed that the other diners in the room were a bit more savvy than we were; most of them were eating at a more human pace than us and seemed to know they could takeaway).

And as if what you've seen already weren't enough, staff came around with trays of warm Kouglof (AKA Gugelhupf, AKA sweet yeasted bread filled with nuts and dried fruit).

Kouglof

By this stage we were so full that we could barely face any more food, but they smelled so good we had to try! We shared one piece and just took a couple of nibbles each. It was divine. (They included the half-piece of Kouglof in the takeaway container, and I ate it, stale, four days later, and it still tasted amazing).

Afternoon Tea at Le Meurice

Cédric has also opened a takeaway pastry shop at the hotel, La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet, so you can buy his wonderful creations to enjoy wherever you like! I am told that they sell out quite early though, so I'd suggest going early in the day.

It was such a lovely experience getting dressed up and treating ourselves! Thank-you Clarice for suggesting, and for enjoying the tea with me! I have no idea when I'll go back to Paris, but if anyone has any suggestions for delicious treat-yo-self culinary activities, please hit me up in the comments!

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4 comments

  1. This looks amazing.

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  2. I've been waiting with bated breath for this post! Crumble on a scone? Genius! And how lovely that the service was welcoming and that they packed stuff up for you because I can never finish my afternoon tea sweets :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I want to make crumble-topped scones now!

      I think because it was so posh I was too scared to ask for a doggy bag; I'm glad they volunteered.

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