The Christian Dior afternoon tea at The Franklin: ‘Monsieur Dior himself would surely have approved’

A Christian Dior-themed afternoon tea around the corner from the V&A makes a perfect accompaniment to the museum's enormously successful exhibition, as Rosie Paterson discovered.

For those lucky enough to have tickets to the Victoria & Albert museum’s Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, there’s another treat in store, waiting just around the corner at The Franklin. This boutique hotel has launched a Dior-inspired afternoon tea, to be enjoyed immediately before or after the exhibition — or just for its own sake.

Monsieur Dior himself would surely have approved of The Franklin’s discreet and elegant townhouse setting, monochrome Anouska Hempel-designed interiors and contrasting, beautiful floral displays, brought in especially for the experience. He was, after all, particularly fond of flowers and garden design.

Just like the blooms, the set menu is unashamedly feminine and French-inspired. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo, you’ll start with delicate finger sandwiches, savoury éclairs and, our favourite, a choux pastry profiterole, stuffed with foie gras and strawberry jam. It’s been named ‘the train to Montecatini’, a reference to Dior’s rumoured last meal of an entire foie gras.

The nostalgia continues into the sweet course — a selection of beautifully curated, sugary treats that look almost too good to eat. Almost.

The hotel brought in luxury event planners La Fête to help with the staging; petits four sit pretty in an empty make-up palette; a concoction of peanut sponge and chocolate cream is served with vaporised Calvados, housed in a replica J’Adore perfume bottle; lemon pink macaroons preside over the whole thing from miniature Louis French chairs.

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Get a free glass of champagne per person when you book the Fashion-inspired menu at The Franklin restaurant in August! Quote “FREECHAMPAGNE” when booking. T&Cs apply. This carefully curated experience, in collaboration with the V&A’s Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, draws inspiration from key elements of the French couturier’s life to fashion a colourful array of decadent savouries and luxurious treats, all carefully prepared by the Michelin-starred Chef Alfredo Russo and designed in collaboration with @officiallafete. T&C: •To book, please call +44 20 7584 5533 •Booking 24 hours in advance is required •Credit card details must be provided to guarantee the booking •Charges apply in case of no show

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Tea is served aplenty, but such an event surely calls for cocktails? We took the advice of The Franklin’s in-house mixologist. In memory of Mitzah Bricard, Dior’s leopard-print silk scarf wearing muse, the Mitzah cocktail is a suitably glamorous concoction, of Sauvelle vodka, L’Original Combier, Triple Sec, Combier Crème de Violette, lemon juice, egg white, sugar syrup and blackberries.

The experience marks the fourth culinary collaboration between the hotel and neighbouring museum and it’s clearly a formula that works. Evocative, creative, brilliantly executed… we left for the exhibition with a little white box of mini lime meringues to enjoy later, feeling wonderfully inspired.

The Franklin & La Fête’s Culinary Fashion Experience, £40 per person. Reservations are between 2.30pm and 5.30pm, weekdays and weekends, and are bookable online.