London: Afternoon Teas

I have a penchant for an alternative Afternoon Tea, it has to have something unique and original to get me to commit, so over the past couple of years, I’ve been to a few and what I promise to do, is add to this post over time, every time I find another little gem, or one you should avoid like the plague ( in my sound opinion of course)

Side Note: ( Only issue i have with all afternoon teas when they leave the menu on the table, as it displays the price – a tad annoying when you’ve bought it for someone as a gift!)

Now you can either go on the individual websites or I always use as well

Afternoon Tea @ Sanderson Hotel ( Mad Hatter’s Edition ) 

Date of Visit: May 21st 2015

Number of people: 3

Seating Time: 3pm

The Sanderson is located on Berner’s Street in London’s West End, just off Oxford Street. Its a 50’s building that doesn’t look particularly impressive from outside, but it more than makes up for it once those glass doors are opened for you. It has most definitely been brought into the 21st Century by Phillippe Starck with it’s stunningly immaculate modern quirky cool vibe.  Upon entry we walked towards the reception area and was directed over to the restaurant in the opposite direction. We were warmly greeted by a young lady at the reservation desk and shown to our seats in the wonderful Courtyard. With stunning weather we were happy to see we were placed outside on this occasion. Though think marquee as opposed to being outside along with the elements, with a pashmina at each table should you need it! A touch that impressed us…

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Our waiter then informed us about the menu ( which was actually presented in an old book!)  and the amazing selection of teas which included: strawberries and cream, mint choc chip and apple pie to name just a few. As the tea came out, you couldn’t help but notice the relationship with the design collective, Luna & Curious. The attention to detail was truly enchanting. Not only with the crockery, but the magical box that held the sugar in, which brings back memories of being a child! ( All of which you can purchase I’ve just found out!)

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We were then presented with our savoury and sweet part of the menu.

Savoury was: Smoked Cumbrian Ham with wholegrain mustard on sundried tomato bread, cucumber and chive cream cheese on spinach bread, cold smoked salmon and lemon butter on dark rye bread and egg mayonnaise with watercress and smoked sea salt on lemon bread and the daily quiche- All very tasty, but what we loved most was the variation of breads which made it even more interesting, even for me who never typically enjoys egg mayonnaise – I was encouraged to try these ones and was glad I did.

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Now for the Sweet: All was expertly created with attention to detail and included: carrot and ginger meringue on a bead of pea shoots, “strawberries and cream” homemade marshmallow mushrooms, “tick tock” traditional victoria sponge, Melting mango cheesecake encased in white chocolate, Matcha Green tea and white chocolate mousse served in chocolate tea cup and a Drink Me Potion – which was a smoothie with both passion fruit and coconut, quite potent, but enjoyable, you almost wanted a little more. Also a selection of homemade savoury and sweet scones with herb butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream

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My fav was actually the victoria sponge, but the mango cheesecake was a close second – I’m very much a fan of white chocolate ( or vanilla)  so anything involving that will always catch my eye! It really was a journey of flavours in such an interesting way and I can definitely see why friends recommended this particular one to me.

Lovely finishing touch….a lil somethin’ for the birthday girl…

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After indulging for two whole hours, we decided to stop at their bar, ” The Long Bar” and enjoy a glass of Veuve Cliquot before heading home ( and unfortunately not upstairs to admire some fantastic rooms I’ve seen pictures of!) My only gripe? The barman allowed me to pour my own and my guests drinks when we finished our first glasses finished ( shock horror.. lol) Other than that – a fantastic experience that I’d highly recommend ( Well I already have to those of you who’ve had to endure my photos already) – and make sure you have a look at the lifts in the main lobby – they are truly stunning. ( and of course the big red lips chair – which I completely forgot to take a picture of)

Officially one of my favourite afternoon teas and quickly looking for a reason to return.

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Price was £38 per person ( £30 for 4 – 11 yr olds) or £48 with Champagne ( £58 with Rose Champagne)

More information and how to book can be found here:  Sanderson Hotel Mad Hatters Info Site

Afternoon Tea @ Conrad St James ( Alice in Wonderland Edition) 

Date of Visit: May 7th 2015

Number of people: 2

Seating Time: 2pm

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The Conrad St James is conveniently located across the road from St James’ Park Underground Station. We greeted by a cheerful porter, Dave who kindly showed us inside, and already knew we were here for the afternoon tea.  To mark the 150th Anniversary of the book, this particular tea paid homage to the Alice in Wonderland Book.

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Once inside, we were given the choice on where to sit and was then introduced to our waiter for the afternoon, Gabriel. He immediately had us laughing which made for a great afternoon tone.

He poured our first glass of champagne and then explained to us about the teas and the order in which things would come out etc.  We chose the Rooibus Tea ( I think it was called) which I enjoyed, but as we opted for free flowing champagne, we stuck to that.

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The savoury menu was Curious Oyster Shells with smoked mackerel pate, Mini club sandwich, smoked salmon sandwich and Stromboli. All which tasted really nice.

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The sweet menu followed soon after with Checkerboard chocolate truffle tower, mini toadstool lemon tarts, elderflower macarons, Eat Me Earl Grey Panna Cotta & Ginger bread biscuit and “painting the roses red” cake with freshly baked plain and fruit scones with clotted cream, jam and additionally pink grapefruit curd. The detail from the pastry chef was amazing, each item was well thought out and all tasted amazing ( I didn’t really enjoy the Earl Grey panna cotta which i thought tasted like coffee – but that’s simply because I don’t like coffee or Earl Grey.. lol – but the biscuit was delightful.

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and a birthday treat for the birthday girl!

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Each table has a 1 hour and 30 minutes allocation but as it wasn’t particularly busy, I expect, we were there until just gone 5pm.

P.S The toilets were stunning also – as was the decor throughout!

Price was £49 per person with free flowing champagne or £35 per person without.  Conrad St James Dining Options

Afternoon Tea @ One Aldwych  ( Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Edition) 

Date of Visit: April 16th 2015

Number of people: 2

Seating Time: 2:30pm

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We travelled into Charing Cross station, but bear in mind its probably about a ten minute walk from here, as it’s closer to the Strand, on Aldwych specifically and can be found opposite the ME hotel. The tea is actually served in their Axis Bar. We were greeted and taken downstairs to the restaurant and placed amongst others who were mid way or just starting their afternoon teas.

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The decor was just modern and classic, nothing unique, but we were immediately greeted by our waiter, who was absolutely lovely. He went through what to expect and the various teas you could have to match your selection. There was also a menu on the table with a wonderful drawing depicting The Gloop Family.

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Absolutely everything on the Savoury menu was delightful and were in various forms not just cut sandwiches as in traditional afternoon teas. They were in a variety of breads and included: smoked salmon and her creme fraiche, egg mayonnaise with watercress, roast beef and mustard mayonnaise but with the addition of a heritage tomato tart and leek and stilton quiche – All amazingly flavoursome and I was incredibly happy when they asked if we wanted a top up on the ones we like the most!

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Sweet menu – I’m afraid sounded and looked better than it tasted. It was Golden Choc egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango ( I can’t believe I’m saying this but it was wayyy too chocolatey and maybe some biscuit with the vanilla would have made it not so sweet)  Home made candy floss ( you had to guess the flavour – so i’ll leave that a secret!)  Lime, Coconut and White Chocolate cake pop ( I’m a connoisseur of both white chocolate and cake pops) couldn’t really taste the white choc and it wasn’t as moist as a cake pop should be. i was really looking forward to that one.

Chocolate caramel milk – like a milkshake but in these cute looking bottles with a straw and a shot glass filled with Eton Mess – was delightful!

Cocoa bean financier – which was like a chocolate cake in the shape of a cocoa bean was lovely! Also the blueberry brioche ( should have been warm and softer really) but a great concept and was tasty as were the scones ( which i always love) with the normal trappings of clotted cream / jam etc.

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I tried a selection of the teas – Smooth Caramel and Queen of Berries – both were great and complimented it well.

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What stood out for me the most was really the service, our waiter was fantastic, he kept us informed, always told us what everything was, checked on us in a timely fashion and we never felt rushed at any point. I loved the selection of stuff but I’d like to see them develop the taste of them to a next level, as the selection was so unique.

Price: £34.50 per person or £45 with a glass of Champagne or a Cocktail.  One Aldwych Afternoon Tea Info

“Not Afternoon Tea” @ Oxo Tower Bar & Brasserie

Date of Visit: May 6th 2014

Number of People: 2

Seating Time: 3pm

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We decided to opt to arrive at Blackfriars station and take the short walk over the bridge which takes you directly to the Oxo Tower ( Definitely the scenic route on a sunny day) Although too windy to sit outside, the oxo tower has some stunning riverside views of London. We were probably one of handful of people in the restaurant at that time but we were greeted with big smiles and lots of helpful staff.

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We were first given our glass of Champagne, followed by the savoury element of our ” not afternoon tea” which was Goat’s Curd and Prosciutto Bruschetta then followed by a cocktail.

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After that came our Sweet sharing plate, everything tasted amazing, a nice touch was that it came with cream and Ice – cream and with a lovely birthday message for the birthday girl.

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There are actually a few packages to choose from at the Oxo, we opted for the “Something to Celebrate” which was £99 for two glasses of Bollinger, Two Cocktails of your choice, The savoury option and the dessert sharing plate. There are ones which start at £24.50. So check out the options here:

Afternoon Tea @ Cafecito,  Asia de Cuba 

Date of Visit: February 2nd 2014

Number of people: 8.5 ( .5 being the baby niece in tow)

Seating Time: 1:30pm

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If you like modern architecture but with a feel of classic Cuba, this really is the place to visit. The quirky parts of this afternoon tea have made this one of my all time favourites so far. This Asian Cuban Fusion Cuisine really was a winner for me.

We were actually running really late, due to it being Chinese New Year and Covent Garden having a lot of the roads closed, but they were sooo accommodating which was great! Stunning entrance into the St Martin’s Lane Hotel where you’ll find Asia de Cuba situated.

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We had old fashioned cigar boxes placed on each of table places, which had an old newspaper which was actually today’s menu and your cutlery and tea strainer.

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The menu started with an Aperitivo which was Mango, Kiwi and Strawberry layered bottle.

In the Savoury section was smoked salmon tart with quails eggs & chipotle hollandaise, Cubano pressed sandwich with BBQ pulled pork, swiss cheese & ham. Beef & Veg empanadas with Caribbean hot sauce, Fresh green mango, cucumber & mouli summer roll. Hot & sour chicken & avocado spring roll and lastly savour scones served with Mojito Butter.

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Sweet selection was: chocolate chilli cream & pistachio crumble, banana spring rolls filled with white chocolate and coconut ganache, mini mexican doughnuts filled with butterscotch sauce & key lime pie topped with a soft meringue.

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And of course some extra doughnuts for a birthday surprise as well, which was great.

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Plenty of stunning Asian teas and also a section of cocktails to choose from.

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Everything tasted amazing and flavoursome with such a mix of uniqueness, I would definitely recommend this place to people and I’ll definitely be back to sample those cocktails.

Price: £35 with one cocktail or £25 without.  Sadly I’ve heard they are no longer doing afternoon tea which is a real shame! Hopefully it makes a return. I’ll definitely be back for Dinner or Lunch… ( or just dessert!)  Asia de Cuba Restaurant

Hope you’ve enjoyed – Remember to save the page and keep returning to see updates of new ones!

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