This afternoon, I was at the Shangri-La Hotel, next to Trocadero, for an afternoon of tea, champagne and sugary indulgence, organised by the lovely Milla
. The hotel itself was built in 1896 to be the private residence of Napoleon I's great nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. Fortunately, the dice of history were rolled and this luxury palace is now a five-star hotel. All decorated for Christmas, it was truly stunning and my photos don't do it justice.
There are three restaurants to choose from: L'Abeille, the Shang Palace and La Bauhinia. Of those, La Bauhinia is the one with the most lounge-y feel and it was here that we were going to spend three hours of pure gourmandise this afternoon.
It was a true feast. Starting with finger sandwiches such a far cry from traditional English triangular open sandwiches that I almost didn't know what to make of them. No, there was foie gras on sour dough, an inventive take on smoked salmon with cream cheese, and a mouth-watering cured ham sandwich. All absolutely delicious.
Those were followed by what we unanimously declared the best scones this side of the Channel. And after that, two little cakes - chocolate, caramel - a mini lemon meringue tart.
Special mention needs to be made to the wafer-thin layers of nutty chocolate sitting atop a light base of ground almond torte. Even certain friends who don't have a sweet tooth were singing their praises.
All this gluttony was off-set by the tinkling of the ivories coming from the pianist below, who was accompanying the chinking of teacups on saucers, polite chatter and occasional giggling coming from our table. (Although, a quick aside, when it comes to best hotel lounge piano, I am forever loyal to the 228 in Le Meurice
. Nothing has been able to beat that.)
Overall, it was an amazing afternoon. The hotel's ambiance was so conducive to relaxing, the staff were professional and efficient and the food was flawlessly indulgent.
Bye, Milla, Paris is going to miss you!