The Dorchester’s tea toast to the Year of the Snake

The award-winning tearoom swaps scones for dim sum and prawns

In a deliciously unusual spin on a traditionalBritish ritual, The Dorchester is welcoming in the Chinese New Year with a three-day afternoon-teaextravaganza (fromFebruary 8 to 10)in its grand coral-marble-columned lobby, ThePromenade.

The menu switches sandwiches for pork dimsum su mei, taro dumplings, yin-yang prawns and crispyvegetable and mushroom spring rolls, while the sweet-toothed can sample mango rolls, green-tea-chocolate délice, and red bean and black sesame slices.

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The tea selection itself is an embarrassmentof riches, with 50 blends on offer. So impressive is the assortment that theBritish Tea Council has bestowed its “Top Tea Place in London” accolade on The Promenade no fewer than three times. Among the weekend’s selection ofChinese teas is a smoky, mountain-grown Wuyi Shan lapsang souchong, a “RussianCountry” blend of Chinese oolong, keemun and lapsang souchong, and the DragonPearl green jasmine, made by layering the night-flowering blossoms between tealeaves to create a subtly fragrant taste. Those of a wilder dispositioncan also order a glass of Laurent-Perrier NV Brut or Rosé.

Traditional Chinese acts will perform surprise routinesthroughout the afternoon, while peanut and pear cookies tell fortunes for themonths to come – a most elegant start to the Year of the Snake.

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