Chess inspired afternoon tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly, London

It’s no surprise I love creative hotel collaborations, especially edible ones. And last weekend I was invited to try Le Meridien Piccadilly’s chess themed afternoon tea inspired by Francesco Ridolfi’s art work currently residing in the hotel. There’s such huge afternoon tea competition in London alone meaning hotels need to offer something unique to draw the in millions, and this collaboration is spot on.

Dotted around the hotel are photographs of human chess pieces which are the basis for the tea. And how beautiful they are. The models are done in up all their splendour, and the portraits are so regal and real. Francesco Ridolfi’s ‘Chess Portraits’ series is a collection of 12 images representing the six characters from each side of the chessboard, and with the majority of the portraits in the Terrace Grill and Bar it creates a beautiful environment to settle down for an afternoon.

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, white queen, chess pieces, piece

White Queen

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, black queen, chess pieces, piece

Black Queen

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, white king, chess pieces, piece

White King

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, black bishop, chess pieces, piece

Black Bishop

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, white rook, chess pieces, piece

White Rook

We started off with a glass of Champagne and I chose blackcurrant and hibiscus as my tea. I don’t drink tea, I never have, it is just not for me. But the blackcurrant and hibiscus JING tea was phenomenal and for the first time in 28 years I could call myself a tea drinker.

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, champagne, drink, alcohol

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, champagne, drink, alcohol

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, tea, blackcurrant and hibiscus tea, drink, alcohol, JING

Blackcurrant and hibiscus tea

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, tea, blackcurrant and hibiscus tea, drink, alcohol, JING

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, tea, blackcurrant and hibiscus tea, drink, alcohol, JING

The afternoon tea of course had the usual suspects and both plain and currant scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. YUM. The chess influence made its appearance in the cakes and sweet treats with the chess board, queen, knight, and pawn represented in dessert form.

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Knights’ sable biscuit, knight

Knights’ sable biscuits

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Chequered bitter chocolate tart, chess board

Chequered bitter chocolate tart

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Chequered bitter chocolate tart, chess board

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Pawns’ coconut and pistachio frangipane, Queens Opera

Queens opera cake and pawns coconut and pistachio frangipane

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Knights’ sable biscuit, knight, Pawns’ coconut and pistachio frangipane

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, treats, sweets, cakes, dessert, Pawns’ coconut and pistachio frangipane

Pawns coconut and pistachio frangipane

There’s something so satisfying and tasty about finger sandwiches, if they were normal sized sandwiches they just wouldn’t be as delicious. The selection at Le Meridien Piccadilly included smoked salmon, roast beef, duck egg mayo (MY FAVE), and cucumber cream cheese, and staff kindly brought over a second round as the first were gone in about half a second.

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, sandwiches, Scottish Smoked salmon with dill and citrus crème fraiche on wholemeal, Roast beef & rocket with horseradish on caraway seeded bread, Free range duck egg mayo and cress on wholemeal, Cucumber cream cheese and chive on white

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, sandwiches, Scottish Smoked salmon with dill and citrus crème fraiche on wholemeal, Roast beef & rocket with horseradish on caraway seeded bread, Free range duck egg mayo and cress on wholemeal, Cucumber cream cheese and chive on white

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, scones, homemade, plain, currant, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream

Homemade plain and currant scones

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, scones, homemade, plain, currant, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream

Le Meridien Piccadilly, hotel, London, Starwood, afternoon tea, chess, portraits, photos, photographs, Francesco Ridolfi, photographer, photo, chess pieces, piece, terrace grill and bar, food, scones, homemade, plain, currant, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream

Strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream

Afternoon tea is such a treat in any form but I’ve had enough of them to know I want something a little bit more than the traditional offering. And that’s where great collaborations like this come in. The basis might be the same but the unique creations and themed idea is what makes the experience so different and much more enjoyable. Not too long ago Le Meridien Piccadilly had an Affinity themed afternoon tea based on Brad Wilson’s hauntingly beautiful wildlife photography and I wait with bated breath to see what they come up with next because I just cannot get enough of their creative collaborations and I’m in desperate need of some blackcurrant and hibiscus tea.

 www.lemeridienpiccadilly.co.uk@LM_Piccadilly / www.facebook.com/lemeridienpiccadilly

(I was a guest of Le Meridien Piccadilly)

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