Shameless confession: sometimes I like to get fancy. Like, hotel lobbies and pretty shoes fancy. Luckily, I’m friends with a few like-minded lady ‘grammers who love foodie meetups in photogenic locations. So we agreed to meet up at The Duchess Amsterdam, to swap our regular brunch for a fancy high tea.
First impressions certainly matter, and The Duchess had me at hello. Check out this highly Instagrammable interior.
The best thing about going to such a stunning location with fellow Instagrammers is that everyone gives each other generous amounts of space and understanding to whip out their phones and snap photos. We’re not being antisocial, we’re being social. Just… in our own way.
High Tea in Amsterdam
For high tea, The Duchess offers a set spread of savory and sweet bites, and an extensive menu of Mariage Freres teas from France. Oooh, fancy. For €35 per person, you get one pot of tea and the full spread. We ended up going for the next option, which was unlimited pots of tea for €42. That way, we each got to sample one tea for savories and switch to a different tea for sweets. It works out even better if you’re in a group.
This is the best way to try as many of the teas as possible. Trust me, they all look so good that you’ll want to!
If you’re arriving full, or don’t think you can handle all that, you can simply opt to order a coffee and pick a few goodies from the beautifully arranged sweet buffet, like our friend Oana did.
And if you’re feeling really fancy, level up with a glass of champagne for €59.
Foie Gras Donuts
My favorite savory bite was the foie gras donuts, which are just divine. The steak tartare on mustard toast and chicken and duxelle Wellington were also delicious.
By the way, we had one vegetarian and one breastfeeding mom in our group, and we were all impressed with how easily The Duchess accommodated our different dietary requests. Nobody felt like they missed out on anything. Well done.
In between savory and sweet, we cleansed our palates with a refreshing yuzu shooter, cleverly served in test tubes. Very cute.
For me, though, the savory bites were eclipsed by the sweets. The little slices of cake—hazelnut Opera gateaux, raspberry cheesecake—were perfect accompaniments to tea, not too sweet and suitably moist. Like a bunch of drunks, we somehow ended up dropping all the little melon balls on top of our panna cottas. Only the macarons were a disappointment, more crumbly and brittle than you’d expect.
Scones and Cotton Candy
Not pictured here are the scones with clotted cream, orange marmalade and raspberry marmalade. What’s a proper high tea without scones, right? They were so good they disappeared without being immortalized on Instagram.
One of the biggest delights of the afternoon were these adorable puffballs of cotton candy with dehydrated raspberry bits. They brought back childhood memories, but with a more grown-up flavor (read: no chemical-tasting saccharine sweetness). Your sense of nostalgia might prefer the cheap stuff, but we are at The Duchess, remember?
As for teas, it’s hard to choose. If you’re like Nina, who prefers her tea on the strong side, try the Earl Gray French Blue or the Earl Grey Imperial. Our resident foodie Devina was very happy with the Paris Breakfast Tea, a Chinese green tea with the flavors of a warm brioche and hints of vanilla and honey. And coffee-crazy Oana, well, just ordered coffee!
For something lighter but still luxurious, I recommend the Milky Blue, a light green tea with the scent of melted chocolate and notes of passion fruit, lychee, and coconut rice. And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try the Chandernagor, a blend of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and subtle hints of ginger pepper (don’t worry, it’s not spicy!).
Have you tried any other high teas in Amsterdam? The next time I’m feeling fancy, where should I go?