Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


February 12, 2015

Gluten Free Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

I never need a reason to head into London to eat Afternoon Tea but last Friday was Waitangi Day (a New Zealand Public Holiday) so the Gin Monster and I decided to book afternoon tea to get all colonial by eating some scones.  I’d heard very mixed reviews about the gluten free afternoon tea at The Ritz but I was still very excited to see what they were going to offer.  Never did I think I was about to embark on one of my most disappointing afternoon teas in London!


I’m going to be straight up with you and say that The Ritz removed the cost of the gluten free afternoon tea from our bill after the issues that I encountered – I was more than happy to pay for the afternoon tea but our waiter wanted to remove the cost from our bill.



Let’s start with the gluten free sandwiches – on first impressions they looked great and the bread wasn’t that horrible spongey stuff BUT….

…when I took my first bite I found the bread to be very powdery?! At first I thought it might be the chicken filling but after eating the egg sandwich I definitely knew it was the bread.  How can bread be powdery?!


Then after chatting for a bit with Rebecca as you do while enjoying afternoon tea, I grabbed a cheese sandwich only to realise that the bread felt really dry, almost stale like!  By the end of our afternoon tea the bread was so dry it was hard; I wasn’t impressed.

What can I say that is nice – I liked the traditional fillings.


Oh the gluten free scones; if you follow me on twitter you know what the highlight was for me from the afternoon tea – yip the frozen gluten free scones!

Our scones came out and Rebecca said oh yum warm scones but my gluten free creations weren’t.  So after a bit more chatting (Kiwi girls can talk till the cows come home) I tried to cut into the scone and realised that I was struggling to cut it open; to the point where I thought I needed a blooming chain saw to cut into it – the reason why I was struggling was that the scone was extremely cold and very hard in the middle – shall we say frozen in the middle!


So in true Kelly fashion I complained, first you have to get the attention of a waiter – when I did, I explained that my scone was frozen – he said okay and left but not with the scone.

Waiting again, I grabbed the next waiter I saw – (I suffer from a total lack of patience; I can tell you’re shocked by that statement!) and this waiter actually took the plate away from the table with the offending scones.

My next set of scones came out rather quickly and they were hot!  And I mean piping HOT, burn your little fingers hot!  I’m guessing these didn’t come out of the oven as it was gone after 8pm at night (we had a 7.30pm sitting) so you tell me how these got pipping hot – I’ve got an idea but you can draw your own conclusions!

Did the scones pass my gluten free scone test – the first set would have failed and the second set passed once they had cooled down slightly.  I may start calling myself Goldilocks going forward as I like my scones just right…not too hot and not too cold.

What can I say that is nice – I liked the jam.


Ohh the gluten free pastries – I had so much hope but……

The macaron was bland, the small bite of the spiced cake that I tried was super dry on the outside and the chocolate pastry was the best of them all (and I’m not a fan of chocolate infused cakes so you know I must have been hungry at this point).


What can I say that is nice – the plates are pretty


Rebecca and I both went for the Passionfruit Tea and then changed to the Mint Tea.  Both were refreshing.


What can I say that is nice – The Ritz have lovely silver tea pots.


The atmosphere is pretty enough and it has the wow factor.  I will be totally honest and say that I’m not a fan of the Palm Court; I just find it all a bit over the top for my liking but that’s The Ritz for you!



I expected a lot from The Ritz when it came to the service – it’s a 5 star hotel and I expected 5 star service everywhere within the hotel regardless if you’re staying at the hotel, visiting for a drink in the bar or having afternoon tea.

A dirty plate that I used when I ate my sandwiches at the very beginning sat on our table throughout our whole afternoon tea experience – it wasn’t cleared.  The little things that you expect just weren’t there.  (the said dirty plate below still sitting on our table just as we were leaving) and Rebecca’s pastries that she wasn’t fussed with plus our left over sarnies!


When it came to the “frozen scone” incident I expected someone to come over and apologise and take the time to understand the complaint as it was quite an unusual complaint to have but nobody visited our table!  Why I had to ask twice for a replacement of the scones is bad especially when it’s The Ritz and I’m paying £50 for the afternoon tea.

And the thing that really annoyed me is that you can’t take your left overs home, yep no doggy bag as apparently after a few hours the bacteria from the dairy products could become dangerous to your health.  Health and Safety gone mad!

I would like to say that the member of staff that provided us the bill asked if we had enjoyed the experience and I said not really and explained about the “frozen scone” incident and he removed the cost of the gluten free afternoon without quibbling as a way of an apology.


Would I recommend – not on your life!  Go to Claridge’s or Brown’s if you’re looking for a beautiful iconic London hotel to have Afternoon Tea in – avoid The Ritz like the plague.  You know those touristy restaurants that we all try and avoid; well the afternoon tea at The Ritz is one of those places.

If you want to live dangerously then you can book the afternoon tea which starts at £50pp via their website.

Did I have a bad experience – yes I did and I do believe it had a lot to do with us having the last sitting of the day but I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to offer afternoon tea at this time in the evening then the food still needs to be fresh and up to standard along with fabulous service.   I do question how long my gluten free afternoon tea had been sitting around for before it was served as it didn’t feel fresh at all.

Love to hear your thoughts on The Ritz especially if you’re gluten free.  I’ve read very mixed reviews on this afternoon tea and am wondering if it relates to the time of the day that you visit for afternoon tea.

Square Meal


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