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One Normal Day
Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Monday, 5th June, 2006  - Alice Normal

My lovely friend Hillary from NY was in town for a few short days, and as a treat I took her to afternoon tea at the Berkeley Hotel. It is pronounced tha Barkley by the way just so no one confuses it with the university, OK. Donít mispronounce it or people will look at you in silence for like, 20 seconds and then say "Oh, tha Barkley."

Try not to make those mistakes. I would never make a faux pas like that or thinking Ascot was a racecourse rather than just one single horse race (The English like steeplechase, which is ghastly, so even if you do get to wear a special hat and gloves, I would never go to Ascot because I donít want to see horses break their legs).

Back on the subject, Hillary and I put on our afternoon tea frocks; incidentally mine had a lovely equine print on it, and headed off to Knightsbridge. We walked through Belgravia because we were a little early. That is how efficient the Piccadilly Line is. I could not get over how you can just park your Porsche on the street there and no one tries to steal it or scratch it because they hate you for spending as much money on a spare tyre as the deposit on their flat was.

Anyways, The Berkeley is a lovely modern hotel, with friendly doormen. The boys, who wait on you in the Caramel room, are not that bright, although handsome and fun to flirt with.

Now, I warned Hillary not to look at the price of this cup of tea and I would advise anyone else attending the prÍt-a-portea to do the same, just put it on you Visa and donít ever look at the bill. The pret-a-portea is special, itís a tad expensive but kind of like Sizzler or Smorgies, in that you can eat as much cake and as many biscuits inspired by the designer collections as you can. My favourite was the raspberry Yves Saint Laurent evening dress I ate two. I would steer you away from the Anya Hindmarsh handbags- yucko I couldnít even eat half.

You can choose from all these crazy teas, if you chose something like blue lapsong and then donít like it, because it tastes a little like thing air, they will bring English Breakfast or whatever in a lovely stripy Paul Smith teapot.

There were lots of business people in the Caramel room having power lunches and they looked a little jealous of us. We were pretty loud because of all the sugar. The rainbow striped Paul Smith, plates and saucers and teacups really make the sugar rush feel more like a strange mushroom trip (Not that I would no anything about anything like that, but I have listened to a Grateful Dead record once, Never Again!). When we were full, and could no longer stand the crockery, we went to the bathroom and used all the fancy products they leave out for you. Thatís value for money kids.

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