For hungry art addicts who have long yearned for a Mark Rothko or an Alexander Calder of their own, London’s Rosewood hotel is launching a special pastry menu next month paying homage to five of the world’s most celebrated modern artists. With designs including the “spotted” paintings of Damien Hirst and Banksy’s irreverent street art, executive chef Mark Perkins’ exquisite fancies are part of the Rosewood’s Art Afternoon Tea (from £45 per person), available from February 1.
The Banksy cake nods to the artist’s Girl With a Balloon, by melding a white chocolate cube and filling it with vanilla cream choux, cherry jelly, hazelnut caramel and chocolate crémeux, garnished with a replica of the artwork itself, while a milk chocolate mousse, passion fruit crémeux and chocolate feuillantine cloaked in a vibrant yellow glaze is inspired by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s recent work at London’s Victoria Miro gallery, and Perkins says this was the most complex of the five cakes to make. “It features many delicate elements,” he says, “from the sablé biscuit base to the mousse, and the finishing touches of Kusama’s famous dots, which we interpreted by using chocolate.”
Since it opened in 2013, the Rosewood has always been associated with the London art world: its Scarfes Bar is adorned with works by satirist Gerald Scarfe, and it is the leading hotel partner of Frieze London.“The idea of creating an Art Afternoon Tea came about three years ago,” says Perkins. “I was inspired by London’s prominent art scene and by the contemporary and traditional artworks featured throughout the hotel. We settled on referencing modern art, as it offers many interesting shapes, colours and designs for cakes.”
As well as cakes, the menu begins with sandwiches featuring fillings such as Le Madru ham, Comté cheese and wholegrain mustard, or avocado, tomato and basil, and has the option of ending with scones, clotted cream and lemon curd. An intriguing range of teas will be served, including Keemun Gongfu, considered to be one of the finest black teas in the world. It is prepared in the village of Keemun in China, where whole leaves are rolled into thin strips, with great care taken that they do not crumble or break. A glass of brut or rosé Ruinart champagne is also on the menu.