August 27th, 2009

A backstage visit to Browns Hotel Tea Room


In many occasions I feel blessed that I run a Market stall. It is because, not only is it a special time when I get to do a “me-thing” away from the house chores, it is also a time when I get to meet all sorts of people. Come Saturdays, I get to meet fellow stall-holders to whom I love chatting to, meet dear friends that come visit me, & then there are customers who drop by my stall who I love engaging in a bit of chat with.
One such lovable customer I love talking to is E who is a regular face at my stall. After several visits & chats, we found out more about each other. She is a doctor, & bless her she would ask about how my children are doing every time, & if I tell her that ‘oh, baby S has a cold’ or something, she would always give me proper advice.
Two weeks ago, on another of those across-the-table chats, she mentioned that her friend is the Chef Patissier of Browns Hotel. Browns Hotel?! Isn’t that where the reaaally famous Tea Room is?! When I expressed “Ooooh!” sounds amongst other words of excitement, E promised to get me in contact with the Chef.

Cut the fore-story short, Chef Patissier F kindly allowed me to visit him at the hotel. So last Monday off I went to Mayfair London, donning on nice pair of heeled shoes so that I don’t look out of place in the posh hotel.
Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(Browns Hotel is London’s first ever hotel) 
Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(A blurry picture of the tea room that I took extra quick because I didn’t want to disturb any of their customers! It was 1pm, 2 hours before the tea service so it wasn’t crowded yet. On the left there’s a baby grand piano.)

As I briefly wait in the reception for F, I see how grand the place is aswell as their clientele affluent & feel glad that I wore nice shoes. As I thumb through their leaflet I read that Queen Victoria & Winston Churchill often took tea here, Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Jungle Book’, & Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful UK telephone call from the hotel.


Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(F is on the right)

F turned out to be very friendly, & very generous. And we clicked right away. As we talked ingredients, merits of Italian meringue over French meringue for macarons, shelf-life of handmade truffles, he would hand out things for me to taste. Truffles made with single origin Varlhona & Amedei was truly divine. I couldn’t remember when I last ate a Criollo. I learnt that truffles shouldn’t be stored in a fridge as it’ll change the texture of the ganache.

As he explains the ratio of fruit to sugar for jams (100 fruit: 80 sugar), I got given a table-spoon of homemade strawberry jam that was delightlful. Then on to tasting a chocolate macaron which had whipped ganache middle & I listen intently as possible to his recipe whilst I gorge on it. Hmm. I love chocolate macarons…

This year Browns Hotel English Tea Room won The Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea Award & I can easily see why. F’s pastries are all made expertly, with the best ingredients & it tastes amazing. The tea room decor has original wood paneling, cosy fire places & it oozes sophistication & history. The location of the hotel is a stone’s throw away from Piccadilly Circus & it’s perfect for stopping by after shopping. Now, I don’t think I’ll ever get to stay there since it costs something like half-a-grand per night, but on hearing that F had already made the Christmas fruit cakes earlier this Spring & has been topping it up with brandy regularly ever since, well, my curiosity will likely take me back to the hotel this Christmas just for that…!


It was super nice of F to meet me just before he gets very busy with the tea service. What also made me happy about all of this is how my stall customer have cared for me enough to think better for me & connect me to him. I feel blessed. And what’s more, now I have F to telephone when I have pastry questions!

Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(Mass amount of plain & fruit scones)
Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(More pastries that I tried in the kitchen)
Coco&Me - Browns Hotel Tea Room -

(Here’s even more that I took home! And yes, I skipped dinner that night.)



  1. This is a very sweet post – not only of the confections – but your customer E who was very thoughtful, chef patissier F who was generous in sharing and you too because you really appreciated the experience.

    Comment by tommy - August 27, 2009 6:30 pm

  2. Thank you tommy! Y’know, maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but the last couple of years I really realised how I have lovely & supportive people around me…

    Comment by tamami - August 27, 2009 10:38 pm

  3. What a lovely experience – thanks so much for sharing it! xx

    Comment by Rachel - August 27, 2009 11:01 pm

  4. I think it all leads up to that you’re an agreeable person too … !

    Comment by rita - August 27, 2009 11:33 pm

  5. oh,myyy…well worth skipping supper. as for being blessed, remember–like attracts like!

    Comment by petoskystone - August 28, 2009 12:06 pm

  6. Hi Rachel。I hope you’re doing well in the U.S of A!
    Ooh that’s a nice thing to say! Thank you Rita!!!
    Petoskystone, kind words! thank you!!!

    Comment by tamami - August 28, 2009 7:03 pm

  7. tamami!

    this is connie (the recent college grad from the states) who had come to visit you a couple weeks ago! alas, i am writing to you, now from lajaron, spain. it was so nice to meet you finally and delight in your flourless chocolate cake!!

    wow, what a treat to go behind the scenes of one of one of the most famous tea rooms to meet with chef patissier F. eating some of the finest foods and sweets has certainly been a highlight of my travels, and there is much, much more to come.

    also, i told you i’d be blogging and you can check out my photos and writings at (in the link to my photos on picasa is a lovely photo of you at your stall!)

    Comment by connie - August 28, 2009 8:25 pm

  8. p.s. i just tried your luxury brownies for the first time..they’re sitting in the oven, awaiting my host’s return (they’re a surprise!). i’ll let you know how it goes!

    Comment by connie - August 28, 2009 8:50 pm

  9. Hi Connie!!!!! I just finished preparing for tomorrow and am caput, so sorry for short message – I’ll write again another time , but I just wanted to quickly let you knowcthat the brownies taste a hundred times better eaten the next day , or even better the day after that.

    Comment by tamami - August 29, 2009 1:30 am

  10. Wonderful story and description! One point left me in suspense though: what is F’s favorite, French or Italian meringue for macarons? Or is that top secret?

    Comment by Astrid - August 29, 2009 9:20 pm

  11. Hello again Connie! Hope the brownies went down well! Thank you for visiting my stall the other week – and also cheers for uploading a photo of me! I am very impressed that you are travelling like that – I so wish I did the same when I was still single… Wishing you the very best for the rest of your travels, T xx
    How are you doing Astrid! No no, it’s not a secret – and F’s preference was Italian! It was because it is easier to control, especially when making mass amounts. Apparently he also doesn’t let the piped discs to dry on surface, just bung it in the oven straight after piping! This was a bit of a revelation for me!

    Comment by tamami - August 30, 2009 7:33 pm

  12. The story and the pastries are not the only lovely things. I also love the pictures hanging on your wall :->

    Comment by cocopuff1212 - August 31, 2009 6:20 pm

  13. Thanks cocopuff1212! You mean the black poster in the wooden frame? We bought it in a shop where there’s the Columbia Flower market is. Check out this link to see the poster!

    As for the narrow poster on the pillar – it’s an Anpanman reward chart…!!! LOL!

    Comment by tamami - August 31, 2009 9:12 pm

  14. Dear Tamami. What a wonderful time you must of had at BROWNE’S andwhat a lovely experience for you. I am so happy for you. It is always good to see how the great work! I hope your truffle company is going from strength to strength you have put so much effort into it. Anway, I just wanted to say well done! Take Care love Janie.

    Comment by Janie - September 2, 2009 12:14 pm

  15. Cheers Janie! Yes, it was a wonderful experience! I’m due to restart selling truffles again soon after not making it whole Summer – can’t wait!

    Comment by tamami - September 2, 2009 2:44 pm

  16. たまみちゃん★

    Comment by ikuko - September 5, 2009 1:04 am

  17. Cool experience, bet there’s not many people who get to see the inside workings of those legendary tea rooms…

    Have heard great things about Broadway Market, so hope to check out the amazing cakes soon!

    Comment by Ronny - September 5, 2009 4:53 pm

  18. Ikukoさん
    コメントエントリーありがとう。it makes me happy! 引越しはスムーズにいけましたか?ブラウンズ、冬あたりに私もいこうかと思ってます!
    Ronny, hope to see you down the Market soon then! xx

    Comment by tamami - September 7, 2009 3:54 pm


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