Most Indians visiting London would have visited or stayed at 51 Buckingham Gate, the Taj-owned property in the heart of the city at St James (as it was called earlier) and within sniffing distance of Buckingham Palace. Itís also close to the British Parliament. Its popular restaurant-bar had a bell which was rung to tell MPs lunching there that it was time to get back to work. Now, itís going for gold, literally. Banking on Britainís passion for traditional afternoon tea, it has recently introduced what it calls a 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea, a spread that includes edible gold, including some in a bottle of an exclusive champagne that accompanies the tea trolley. Customers who order the new afternoon offering will get a half bottle of Luxor Pure Gold 24k Brut Champagne which has been made with flakes of gold in the rare sparkling wine. The drink, which you can have before or after a cup of the high-end Taj tea, is not a novelty but produced in the champagne region in limited quantities.
However, the Taj has also commissioned its resident chef, Vikas Milhoutra, to produce a matching menu and he has come up with a number of dishes and snacks made with gold leaf, including a Gold Leaf Jelly, White Chocolate Delight with Gold leaf and a Strawberry tart with gold flakes, apart from the more traditional scones and sandwiches. The cost of the tea is close to £100 but itís not the most expensive tea in London. That can be had at the Cliveden, and itís called the Platinum Tea. The menu has the worldís most expensive ingredients, including white truffle, Beluga caviar, a rare Da Hong Pao tea, along with Dom Perignon champagne, cakes and the legendary Platinum Club sandwich which alone costs £100. The total cost of the afternoon tea trolley will set you back by £500!