Review: Tuck into north London's best value afternoon tea at Paddington's Roba restaurant
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:35 21 June 2016
There are a few hidden gems in Paddington, but other than that, the area doesn't offer much in the way of choice for hungry diners.
There’s even less on offer for those who want to take an afternoon break from the heaving hustle and bustle of Edgware Road with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Thank heavens then for Roba, an upmarket restaurant which opened in April at the four-star Norfolk Towers Hotel in Norfolk Place, a five-minute walk from Paddington Station.
The head chef has worked with Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, and he serves up modern British food with an Italian twist for lunch and dinner. But the restaurant also offers that grand English staple: afternoon tea – a particular favourite of mine.
So after a morning of heavy duty shopping, my friend and I sunk into Roba’s comfortable blue leather chairs, gasping for a cuppa and something sweet.
We ordered two of their full afternoon teas.
For just £14.95, it’s great value compared to some of the capital’s high-end hotels, where afternoon tea can often cost in the region of £30-£50. Arriving on an elegant three-tiered silver structure, we stick to tradition and start with savoury.
The classic sandwich fillings of ham and mustard, cheese and tomato, egg and watercress are moreish but the smoked salmon and cucumber is our pick for the salmon’s subtle woody flavour.
The only small negative is that the bread is turning stale – a curse of cutting crusts off and leaving them in the open for slightly too long.
We munch through them quickly, but our attentive waitress kindly refills our favourites.
We don’t want to get too full too quickly, so we next try the scones.
They’re warm, soft and just as they should be. With a spoonful of clotted cream and a homemade jam smacking of strawberries, it’s heaven.
The dainty pastries meanwhile look like they’ve come straight from a patisserie window.
The nut-free yellow and pink macarons are almost too pretty to eat, and a gooey, sugary mouthful.
The lemon drizzle’s sugary topping contrasts nicely with the zesty flavour of the moist cake, while the chocolate and butterscotch brownie is rich and intoxicating.
We swig it all down with pots of old fashioned Breakfast tea, but for an extra charge, you can tuck into yours with a glass of Bouche Pere et Fils Grande champagne.
Coeliacs fear not, because there’s a gluten-free option, while the very hungry can opt for high tea (£18.50) – the full afternoon tea with additional crumpets and savoury pies.
Families are also welcome, with a children’s afternoon tea priced at £7.50.
Roba surely offers the best value afternoon tea of any upmarket hotel in north London, and one to add to my list of Paddington’s hidden gems.