The Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel’s tea time sets the standard for Lima.
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Last but not least never rang so true.
After experiencing the many buffet spreads, miniature sandwiches, and numerous refills of tea, and attentively served by a revolving door of impeccably trained staff, I was not expecting anything different from my last stop among places to enjoy “la hora de té” in Lima.
And frankly, I was a bit over eating tiny food.
The tea service at the Belmond Miraflores Park hotel, however, was memorable, the quality on par with the afternoon tea service at some of the grand hotels of London and New York.
While it does not give you many choices (no buffets here), the Belmond’s tea hour is worth the expense. It’s generous in a multitude of ways – filling portions, the quality of the food, in both variety and flavor, and attentiveness. Service was polite but left you in peace. And yes there was the magical appearance of scones, a rarity in Peru, but I’ll get to those in a moment.
(Photo: Monique Loayza/Living in Peru)
First, a note on the fine beverages.
We started off our meal with a refreshing mimosa, although you have the choice of sparkling wine if you wish. This is followed by a generous personal pot of tea, with enough to refill your cup throughout your meal.
And how about the food? Unlike other tea services I attended, I thought everything served was delicious.
Thought was put into arranging the sandwich platter. On one end, the chef deliberately added light touches: thick layers of smoked salmon and paper thin slices of prosciutto sat atop crisp crackers, while miniature rounds of milky mozzarella were paired with cherry tomatoes and basil. This was balanced by a more robust offering of mayonnaise-based crustless sandwiches, including a well-seasoned chicken salad (a classic that never gets old) as well as the more Peruvian pairing of ham and avocado.
(Photo: Monique Loayza/Living in Peru)
These were topped however by the impressive triple, the Peruvian take on the club sandwich that goes one step further. As if three layers of bread, bacon, lettuce, and chicken weren’t enough, how about adding: one more slice of toast, a fried egg, slices of ham, cheese, and avocado to the mix? There’s nothing restrained about this, but this isn’t the time to care; it was easily one of the best versions of the triple I’ve had in Peru so far.
Feeling gluttonous? Don’t worry, you’ll only be served a portion of the rich layered sandwich.
The desserts came on a traditional porcelain three-tiered tray and featured some delightful classics, including delicate macarons, raspberry tarts, chocolate truffles, and scones. The macarons, although not quite on the same level as Ladurée, were deliciously chewy. The chocolate truffles, one sprinkled with crushed pistachios, actually seemed to have cocoa in them, rather than overladen with sugar and cream. They were worth every rich bite.
And then there were the scones. I had almost forgotten about scones. The wonderful biscuit-like treat that is a necessity for any proper English tea time. Like macarons, scones haven’t really made any sort of a mark here in Peru, but something makes me think they’d be a big hit in a country that adores its sweets. The scones were generously apportioned at 2 per person and served with a raspberry jam and custard-like filling that while good enough, wasn’t exactly clotted cream (I can forgive them for this slight).
You may not get much choice in terms of selection or size, but when everything is this well-made and served so generously (there was a pair of each savory and sweet item for me and my dining partner), you won’t care really.
Belo Bar (Photo: Monique Loayza/Living in Peru)
Frankly, I had my initial doubts about the Belmond, a brand synonymous with luxury here in Peru.
Would it be a bit over the top, too fancy, and perhaps too cold? Yes, the hotel is grand – you pass through the glass doors and are immediately swallowed up by an immense ceiling in the lobby entrance. However, the tea is served in the Belo Bar, a space tucked away in a niche towards the back of the lobby, with an atmosphere that is suggestive of a private library. The gray blue walls, soft lighting, polished wood floors, and an arrangement of small tables and couches add a great deal of warmth to this modern 5-star compound. Everything, of course, is nice, but more relaxing than say, fussy or regal. You might come here to enjoy a spirit or glass of wine, but it works just as well for their tea service.
As I was happily tucking into my scone with my warm tea and in the company of a good friend, I became distinctly aware of how peaceful the setting was.
There was maybe one other table occupied the weekday evening I attended, with a middle-aged man helping himself to the generous cocktail list. I can’t understand for the life of me why the Belmond’s tea hour wasn’t as popular as it deserves to be. Dare I say it’s one of Lima’s better-kept secrets?
Belmond Miraflores Park
Av. Malecón de la Reserva, 1035 Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru
Belo Bar @ Belmond Miraflores Park
Daily service from 16:00-20:00
Price: S/ 61.00 per person, including cocktail (Bellini or Mimosa), juice, tea or coffee, and savory and sweet platters.