October 13, 2008
So finally, after nearly a year of the gift certificate lying around the house, we made it to the Berkeley for Prêt-a-portea. I had been a few years ago with a friend, but this time it was just me and the husband for a romantic afternoon of champagne and cakes. The Caramel room is done up in muted shades of brown and beige with lovely comfortable chairs, and overall the atmosphere oozes elegance and wealth. We started off with a selection of savouries which were continually replenished. Delights included a delicate nibblet of smoked salmon, some of the tiniest asparagus skewers I have ever seen balanced upon a crumb size piece of rye bread, a crisp cone filled with spiced crème fraiche and pomegranate, and a dainty slither of courgette rolled around some mozzarella and olive tapenade. Everything was fantastic and we polished off three rounds. This was also accompanied by a selection of finger sandwiches including crayfish, cheese, tuna and the obligatory cucumber. Finally it was on to the cakes - a stunning selection of miniature mouthfuls bursting with colour and flavour. Particularly memorable was the lime green Chanel handbag, the Lanvin purple macaroon and the Balenciaga vanilla and blueberry chequered bararois. Amazingly all the sweets felt light and dainty, though I am sure we racked up enough calories for a small crowd that afternoon. Finally when we were literally about to pop all over the table, the waiter brought us a goodie bag with yet more cakes to take home. You definitely get your money’s worth here! Service was great but expensive: Although we had a certificate for two teas, we decided to splash out on a bottle of champagne, and this came with a hefty service charge added on. Overall though, this is definitely worth a try for a special occasion. My one comment would be that it's definitely a younger crowd that flocks here, and it's probably more fun if you're into fashion so that you appreciate all the references to the seasonal frocks.