Did you know there’s a Harrods in Beijing? I had absolutely no clue. Probably to do with the fact that it’s not technically called Harrods but rather “The British House”. The celebration of all that is upper-class British can be found just a two-minute walk from Qianmen, in the same neighbourhood as Capital M used to be.
Maybe there’s something about the Qianmen location that makes for particularly outstanding scone production. To this date, the scones you can find at TBH are the best I’ve had in Beijing. They’re sizeable for one, and you get one each of classic and raisin. They’re fresh, they’re fluffy and they come with delicious cream and strawberry jam, that the efficient and courteous staff will refill upon request and without hesitation.
They have a fine selection of loose leaf British teas, as well as some special options for the more adventurous. Sadly, the rose tea I was most excited about was not available on the day. Small disappointment, but the fresh peppermint is definitely a reliable choice for someone like myself who isn’t the biggest fan of black teas.
Sanis & Cakes
The Sanis turned out to be tiny bites, that were gone in one quick swoop. Egg salad, salmon, ham and cucumber are definitely very traditional choices. Indeed, the overall afternoon tea experience was probably one of the most “genuine” in the British sense. No weird Matcha flavours or crazy concepts here, just good old fashioned high tea as it was meant to be. My only complaint re the sani bites is that they were indeed a bit minuscule. Granted, the big scones will fill you up, though I personally wouldn’t’ have minded swapping the trifle for larger savoury options. The trifle was the only item that I wasn’t that impressed by, just a bit bland and boring, but the red velvet cake and the mille feuille made up for it by being simply delicious.
The tea set and crockery was simple and elegant, with the unmistakable Harrods H, and was an indication of the overall décor. Very light and tasteful, it was a great place to just sit an entire afternoon and relax. Which we did. In fact, I managed to reach a level of relaxation, I have failed to replicate at any of the other locations we’ve been to for tea. I think it was just the right amount of food to fill you up but not make you feel like a stuffed duck plus the lovely environment and the friendly staff, who were helpful, on the ball and never pushed us to vacate the exceedingly comfy sofas we were parked on.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for the Downton Abbey experience, look no further. This is definitely the place to relax traditional British style. And once you’re done you can go downstairs and buy all kinds of overpriced Best of British items in an attempt to feel really regal.
Costs: 168 rmb for 2 scones, 4 sanis, 2 sweet treats, a strawberry trifle + refillable tea