The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, London knows a thing or two about high tea. It created the first haute couture tea ten years ago, and in light of its upcoming milestone anniversary in October, it will launch a glossy book called Prêt-à- Portea, filled with photos of designer cakes, cookies and biscuits that have entertained guests and their imagination for a decade.
Published by London-based Laurence King Publishing, which often embraces creative titles and is known for their risk-taking, the book is filled with designer-inspired sweet treats: dazzling creations from Anya Hindmarch, Manolo Blahnik to Dolce & Gabbana.
The hotel, once a coffee house established in the 1700s, serves its tea in style in its newly-revamped Collins Room (formerly called the Caramel Room) in honor of the late interior designer David Collins. In that light-filled lavender silver space decorated with pale marble, mirrors and hand-painted chinoisserie wallpaper, tea is served every afternoon and each Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collection morphs from catwalk to tea tray in that beautiful room.
Pastry chef Mourad Khiat has made this tea a labor of love; the Prêt-à- Portea regularly costs £45 per person and you can expect everything from Stella McCartney’s popular striped dress recreated as a tower of green and white joconde sponge filled with pistachio and lime, to DVF’s silk dress, embroidered with butterfly detail that aptly transforms into a bourbon vanilla cream set on a light crème brûlée tart, sprinkled with edible gold.
A quote from the designer Jason Wu graces the beginning of the book, and the cover image was inspired by one of his designs. The official Prêt-à- Portea tenth anniversary menu debuts on September 19th; the book debuts in October.