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This London Hotel Just Launched a Whimsical Afternoon Tea Inspired by David Hockney’s Art

Rosewood London's new three-course feast is full of sweet masterpieces.

Rosewood London Hockney Afternoon Tea Rosewood London

Rosewood London is bringing blue-chip art to the plate. 

The sprawling five-star hotel just unveiled a new afternoon tea inspired by legendary English painter David Hockney. Designed by Rosewood’s executive chef Mark Perkins, the three-course menu pays homage to the large-scale installations featured in the new David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller and further away) exhibition at Lightroom and the artist’s oeuvre at large. The dishes range from traditional sandwiches to technicolor pastries that double as works of art.

The three cakes that steal the show are titled: “The Arrival of Spring,” “The Splash,” and “A Bigger Picture.” The first is inspired by, you guessed it, Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, 2011. The landscape depicts an idyllic country road in East Yorkshire at the start of spring. Similarly, the dessert reflects the changing of the season by pairing a green pistachio almond sponge cake with a pink griottine cherry insert, a cherry mousse, chocolate embellishments, and decorative florals. Sounds delicious, no? 

The Arrival of Spring, The Splash, and A Bigger Picture cakes by chef Mark Perkins at Rosewood London.
The Arrival of Spring, The Splash, and A Bigger Picture. Rosewood London

The Splash is meant to mirror “a splash in a Californian swimming pool,” according to Rosewood. As such, the Earl Grey chocolate bavarois and chocolate sponge cake have been finished with an icy-blue glaze that looks almost too perfect to eat. Between 1946 and 1971, Hockney created a number of swimming pool paintings, but none of them were edible like this. The Splash also comes with a passionfruit insert, a vanilla sable, and passionfruit-chocolate decorations.

The third cake tips a hat to Hockney’s first major exhibition, A Bigger Picture, which debuted at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2012. The vanilla cheesecake is covered in a purple glaze and adorned with chocolate vines and edible Yuzu leaves. Hidden inside are a strawberry insert, a vanilla-almond sable, and a lemon sponge. Like the exhibition, the dessert is an homage to Hockney’s landscapes. There are two other pastries titled “Bigger and Closer” and “Spring Cannot Be Cancelled” on the menu, but we’ll let you work out the inspo.

The Splash cake presented on a water-like sculpture
The Splash cake. Rosewood London

This is about more than just food, of course. Rosewood partnered with stylist and set designer Camille Wordie to create a wholly immersive experience in the hotel’s Mirror Room. Wordie’s “Hockneyfication” of the space includes the incorporation of bold, bright hues and special “moments” that nod to the artist. Apparently, there’s some sort of reference to the yellow crocs and flat-cap Hockney often wears to exhibition openings.

Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London starts at $91, with a cocktail or Ruinart Champagne boosting the price to $109 or $115, respectively. The experience is available Monday to Sunday, between 12 p.m. and 5.45 p.m. via the hotel’s website. If you want to see the art IRL, the aforementioned Hockney exhibition is running till June 4.

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