Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is designed to add a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea with cakes and pastries inspired by the latest fashion season's catwalk designs for the style conscious. It may not be the quintessential English afternoon tea but who cares? It's fabulous darling!
Afternoon Tea Information
The Caramel Room, The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL
Days and Times: Daily: 1 pm to 6 pm
Cost: From £60 per person.
Dress Code: Smart casual.
Reservations: Reservations should be pre-booked by calling 020 7201 1619 or book online.
Music: Contemporary background music can be heard.
Prêt Vespa - Delivery Option
In 2008, The Berkeley launched Prêt Vespa, the ultimate fashionista biscuit delivery service. If your fashionista friends don't have time to come to The Berkeley then they can bring the Prêt-à-Portea delights to you! A Vespa adorned in the famous Prêt colors of Pistachio green and pale pink deliver the fashion delectables in bespoke handbag take away boxes.
What a Great Idea! Tell Me More
Prêt-à-Portea started in about 2004 when The Berkeley's pastry team had the brilliant idea of linking afternoon tea and fashion; especially given The Berkeley's location in the heart of Knightsbridge - just around the corner from Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The Berkeley has long been a favorite of the fashion crowd so this has become a perfect combination.
The Berkeley's head pastry chef, Mourad Khiat, is now invited to fashion shows to generate ideas for his new collections. Editors from the leading fashion magazines also advise the pastry team to help them identify the key trends, colors, textures, and 'must have' pieces each season. The Berkeley now has fashion designers contacting them asking how they can get onto the cake stands.
Speaking about his inspiration for new collections, Mourad Khiat said:
"Fashion and cakes have always been the perfect match for me. We can count on our insider fashion contacts to brief us on the latest must-haves of the season. Of course I have my favorite designers but I could never reveal who they are! Mostly, I look for vibrant colors and unusual designs and textures in the latest fashion collections and visualize how they would translate onto our tea stand."
Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea Pros and Cons
- The cake stand looks stunning - the detail is outstanding.
- The cake stand delights are fully explained by your waiting staff who show you the fashion catwalk inspiration for each tasty treat.
- Cakes, biscuits, fancies, and sandwiches are all replenished so feel free to try everything.
- Any cakes left at the end are given to you to take home in a bespoke handbag take away box.
- For those who prefer the savory options, sandwiches are included and they are replenished too. Special dietary options also available.
- The cake stand includes savory canapés - as well as the gorgeous cakes, biscuits, and mousses.
- You feel like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City or Edina in Absolutely Fabulous.
- The Caramel Room is a relaxed, contemporary setting, but not overly modern; intimate and not fussy.
- Everyone takes photos so don't be shy.
- More mousse desserts than cakes.
- No scones, but that's not what you come for.
Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea Review
The Berkeley's Prêt-à-Portea is not the quintessential afternoon tea but I hope that's clear before you book. This is afternoon tea for fashionistas! Prêt-à-Portea is best for those who love shopping and following the fashion seasons, and delight in meeting with friends. The Berkeley is in Knightsbridge, close to Harvey Nichols, the shopping mecca, so can easily be combined with a shopping trip.
Even before the cakes arrive you can feel the excitement in the room. There's a real buzz and it feels like the 'place to be seen'.
The tables are closer than at other afternoon tea venues but you don't feel overheard and it feels less formal and 'stuffy'. We actually had a chat with the girls next to us, one who had been before and had brought her sister to try this season's cakes and treats. And that's what you'll find if you talk to people there. Once they've tried it they're booking again for the next season, if not before. You'll be planning how many business meetings you can have here instead of at boring restaurants. And as Prêt-à-Portea is available from 1 pm to 6 pm daily there are many options on how to fit in a visit.
Prêt-à-Portea is certainly more popular with the ladies there are a few men to be found. What was clear was the wide age range this appeals to.
Even The China is Designer
Don't expect a silver tea service. Instead, Thomas Goode of Mayfair have produced a bespoke collection of Paul Smith fine bone china. The teapots are sizable and you can try more than one tea. Coffee is also available, which was a pleasant surprise. The Pear Caramel tea is as delicious as it sounds.
As you would expect, high-end fashion and cakes in a 5-star luxury London hotel attract fashion icons so look out for the celebs when you visit. Previously spotted include Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Day Out Suggestions
Of course, Prêt-à-Portea combines fabulously with a shopping day.
- Option 1 Knightsbridge: Harvey Nichols and Harrods
See: London Department Stores
- Option 2 Oxford Street: The main shopping street in London with all the High Street shops.
Then get a no. 10 or 137 bus to Knightsbridge.
- Option 3 Fashion and Textiles Museum
It's a center for contemporary fashion, textiles, and jewelry in London. Founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum houses permanent and changing exhibitions.
Then get the tube from London Bridge (Jubilee Line), change at Green Park to Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line).