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Enjoy award-winning local pastry chef Howing Lai’s afternoon tea and other in-stay sweet treats at Rotunda

Howling Lai with Staying Cool's afternoon tea cake selection at Rotunda

Introducing Howing Lai

We were introduced to Howing via our long-time friend and chef-patron of The Wilderness, Alex Claridge. Howing has a wealth of experience in the world of patisserie, winning Best Afternoon Tea in London during his time at the 5* Hotel Cafe Royal and more recently working as Head Pastry Chef at Michelin-starred Adam’s restaurant in Birmingham.

During lockdown, Howing decided to go independent and launched his own patisserie, Rochers. We originally partnered up to launch a number of sweet treat selections for guests in Summer 2020, starting with #CurfewCakes, the Staying Cool Afternoon Tea and celebratory cakes for special occasions.

We only got to offer the cakes for about three weeks before lockdown returned! So we are re-launching the cakes on 17 May 2021, when we are allowed to re-open for leisure stays.

#Freedom Fancies

When the 10pm curfew for hospitality venues was announced in September, we wanted to take some of the stress out of the new compressed dining window. Wouldn’t it be great to still be able to go out and eat at your usual time and return to Rotunda to eat pudding against the stunning backdrop of the city’s night sky? And so #curfewcakes was born.

Howing devised a sublime selection of cakes that will be chilling in guests’ apartments when they return from their night out. The menu will change seasonally and the current selection is Cinnamon Spiced Apple, Strawberry Yoghurt Rose, Peanut, Caramel & Chocolate Tart (n) and last but not least, a Carrot, Lime & Coconut Gateaux Opera. The cakes look too good to eat (although it didn’t stop us…)!

The name #curfewcakes came about during the photo shoot with local photographer Jas Sansi. Thank you Jas!

Now that all curfews have been lifted and life is beginning to return to normal, we have renamed these cakes, Freedom Fancies!

What’s included in Staying Cool’s Afternoon Tea?

We are so excited about the relaunch of our afternoon tea – and after three tastings we can confirm it is absolutely delicious. It consists of filled savoury bread rolls, sausage rolls, cakes, scones and of course, jam and cream – we’ll let you decide the order you devour them in. There is more than enough for two people. We had to spread ours over two days there was so much!

Paired with our Fairtrade tea selection and either Illy espresso or locally ground coffee in your apartment, we can’t think of a better way to wile away an afternoon against the city’s ever-changing skyline.

You can also upgrade your Afternoon Tea to include Organic Prosecco or Champagne for an additional cost, just add your choice to the add-ons section of the booking engine or email us and we’ll add it to the booking.

Special occasion cakes

Howing and the team have a ton of experience in celebration cakes for any occasion. Just get in touch with our team at Rotunda with some details of the special occasion and any preferences you might have, then we’ll get it sorted.

Celebratory cakes have to be booked in advance – as they are all handmade to order – the longer the lead time, the better!

How do I book these delicious sweet treats?

Unfortunately our Afternoon Tea, #Freedom Fancies and Special Occasion cakes from Howing and the Rochers team are currently unavailable until further notice. But fear not, we have lots of alternative treats for you to enjoy during your stay, check out our Dining In guide or the add-ons section at checkout when booking direct.