Lonely Planet Writer

High tea and high fashion collide at the Berkeley London’s Prêt-à-Portea

Get a taste of high fashion without the high prices at The Berkeley Hotel in London, where couture designs straight from the runways of London Fashion Week are transformed into edible treats for the hotel’s afternoon Prêt-à-Portea.

The Knightsbridge neighbourhood luxury hotel has been serving the whimsical tea since 2006, updating the “collection” every six months to reflect the season. Spring/Summer 2017 includes a colorful mix of sweets inspired by the designs of some of the world’s most notable fashion labels, including a chocolate and vanilla Battenberg cake reminiscent of Stella McCartney’s checkerboard pumps, biscuits in the shape of a lime green Mui Mui bikini and a playful banana stiletto from Charlotte Olympia, and a berry sable with rhubarb mousse topped with a gold sugar bow — a nod to a Gucci’s bright pink Breton jumper.

High tea at The Berkley. Image courtesy of The Berkeley
High tea without the high prices at The Berkley. Image courtesy of The Berkeley

Known for its luxury leather handbags, Mulberry is represented with a Valrhona ivoire chocolate-glazed cake version of its striped Pembroke bag, while Dolce & Gabbana’s pasta-print midi dress is reimagined as a hazelnut dacquoise with praline and Gianduja chocolate mousse, topped with a tiny farfalle pasta. In addition to fashion-forward goodies, the spread also includes an array of savoury bites like canapés, taster spoons, and tea sandwiches.

Experience fashion on a plate at The Berkeley. Image courtesy of The Berkeley
A taste of the catwalk on a plate at The Berkeley. Image courtesy of The Berkeley

“This SS17 collection is so full of colour, texture and graphic prints that the diversity to choose from made for the vibrant selection that you see on our current cake stand,” pastry chef Mourad Khiat tells Lonely Planet. “I particularly loved the playful nature that designers are using this year with Charlotte Olympia’s fruit characters (As you can see with our recreation of her cheeky banana stilettos) and D&G bringing Italy’s favourite food off the plate and onto the catwalk with their pasta print collection – not dissimilar to what we try to do in reverse, taking inspiration from the catwalk to the cake stand. Who new fashion and food were such a match!” Past collections have included an iconic Burberry trench coat, Diane Von Furstenberg dress, and Prada bag.

Prêt-à-Portea is served daily from 1:30-5:30pm, and is priced at £52 per person, or £62 with a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne. (A true steal compared to the Mulberry bag that retails for $1950 or the $1180 Stella McCartney pumps.)