Teatime at the Waldorf Astoria

The Hilton hotel in Jerusalem takes afternoon tea to the hilt.

Tea at the Hilton hotel in Jerusalem (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tea at the Hilton hotel in Jerusalem
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Hilton group’s public relations director Motti Verses found a novel way to introduce the latest gastronomic venture at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem. He invited journalists, travel agents and assorted guests to an afternoon of scone-making, under the direction of the hotel’s pastry chef, Claude Ben-Simon. For about two hours, the guests labored in the hotel kitchen, learning the intricacies of scone baking, and managed to produce some quite edible results.
Once the work was over, we were invited to taste the wonders of afternoon tea in the hotel lounge, complete with cucumber sandwiches, scones with cream and strawberry jam and luscious cakes.
Having unfortunately broken my left arm, I was unable to actually make the scones and substituted my dear husband (and dining companion). Once the scones were whisked away to be baked, we were invited to partake of afternoon tea served in beautiful Villeroy and Bosch china in the elegant King’s Court Restaurant.
It was possible to choose from a whole menu of Ronnefeldt teas that included Darjeeling, Assam Bari, Bora Bora and many more. And these were real tea leaves, as opposed to the tea bags we all use at home. Strainers were provided, and cold milk was served on the side.
The open sandwiches were real works of art: lashings of smoked salmon on dark bread spread with cream cheese and touches of greenery, little tartlets of egg salad and guacamole. The famed cucumber sandwiches so beloved of the British aristocracy were authentic (as far as I know ) – white bread, a thin spread of butter and crunchy cucumber slices.
But because this is the Middle East, other, more pungent flavors were introduced in the form of tiny half pitot filled with braised red tuna, and mini tortillas filled with roasted aubergine and tehina. This was officially dubbed “Mediterranean Tea.”
Somehow the atmosphere was charming and intimate, not an easy task given the cavernous dimensions of the place.
All the participants were sent home with boxes of their own homemade scones and small jars of strawberry and raspberry jam.
Mediterranean Tea is served Sunday to Thursday, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. NIS 225 per couple.
For a nostalgic taste of an authentic English afternoon tea, the Waldorf Astoria will deliver the goods and satisfy that urge for a taste of home.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
King’s Court Restaurant Kosher Waldorf Astoria Hotel 26-28 Gershon Agron St., Jerusalem Tel: (02) 542-3353