Review: Vegan afternoon tea at La Bauhinia, Shangri La, Paris

This deserved its own blog post- it was that good.

As you may know, I’ve visited Paris quite a number of times and absolutely love it- I try to go every year. With a Paris first timer in tow, this trip consisted of doing quite a lot of touristy things- not that I minded- I’m always keen for a jaunt around the Champs Élysées and taking a million photos of the Eiffel Tower. That said, I was determined to do something new, and after a bit of research I booked the two of us for afternoon tea in La Bauhinia restaurant in the Shangri La hotel.

Of course, there are loads of afternoon tea options in Paris, but I decided to choose this one as it was considerably different than the rest of the offerings- it was vegan. I must note that I am not actually vegan myself, but I do have some food intolerances so I knew that this was probably the most “me” friendly way to stuff my face. The main ingredients are flaxseeds, plant milks and various seeds and grains. Of course, I was slightly apprehensive that it wasn’t actually going to taste nice. Even more apprehensive when I considered the cost (€80 for two). Luckily, we came out wishing that we could have it every afternoon!

Firstly, the Shangri-La is one of the most prestigious hotels in Paris- it’s a five star palace hotel previously owned by a prince. We didn’t even know what to wear and admittedly were consumed with fear about being turned away. Luckily not- three friendly faces met us at the door of the stunning establishment. The interior of the hotel is absolutely stunning- I kept expecting Kate Middleton to drift out of one of the rooms in a horse and carriage.

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This is the sort of establishment where your bag gets a stool- my Penneys handbag never knew such luxury (and probably never will again).You are firstly presented with the menu with extensive beverages all included in the afternoon tea option. It’s worth mentioning that any refills are also included in the price.

Obviously you receive your drink first. I chose a peach tea (which was fabulous) and my dining partner chose a cappuccino, which also received rave reports.

Then the food arrived. Oh my.

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I must again mention my naive preconceievd fear of the concept of a vegan afternoon tea. Would the pastries taste of grass? Would the waiter lecture me on animal rights? None of this was the case.

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We received a small plate of sandwiches, but the real stars of the show were the beautiful pastries. A special mention to the scones- I have raved and raved about them since I returned home. Everything was full of flavour and impeccably presented. I can also confirm that all pastries tasted entirely “normal” with no obvious healthiness or avoidance of refined ingredients. The few things that we didn’t finished were boxed up for us to take home in a beautiful bag that I will probably cherish/ sniff forever.

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The real highlight of the experience was the staff. We were slightly apprehensive (ie: terrified) about the attitudes of staff in this obviously prestigious establishment. However, we were treated no different to the other guests who wore many more labels than us and spent considerably more than us. I was surprised about the AMOUNT of staff in the place- although it was relatively quiet it felt like a new member of staff appeared every few seconds.

Overall- vraiment  à refaire!

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