It’s not only our houses that get a Spring clean at this time of year. A whole load of traditional afternoon teas across London have had makeovers to make them lighter, brighter and more summery. Many are going one step further and using The Chelsea Flower Show as inspiration so think floral-infused pastries and petals galore. Here is our pick of the best new afternoon teas…
Bluebird have collaborated with Maite Choux for their Bluebird in Bloom afternoon tea. Served in their courtyard, cakes include a pistachio and raspberry macaroon, an orange blossom madeleine and a rhubarb and custard tart. The star of the show, however is the Maitre Choux éclair, is inspired by Michelin-starred pastry chef, Joakim Prat’s childhood spent picking berries and eating creamy yoghurts in his grandmother’s kitchen. It’s made with violet essence and mixed wild berry mousseline cream and a dash of yoghurt. www.bluebird-restaurant.co.uk
To celebrate International Jazz Day and the golden era of jazz, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane have launched a new afternoon tea that celebrates jazz through the medium of cake (although there are also live musical performances too). You’ll find a chocolate tart with basil lime ganache topped with an edible saxophone; a Sable Breton with a light honey mousse; blackberry gêlée with a delicate chocolate sheet of music on top; a coconut dacquoise with piña colada crème and tropical compote, and a red velvet cake with orange butter. It’s music to our ears. Available now until 30th July www.sheratonparklane.com
Think afternoon tea and you think scones, sandwiches and miniature cakes, not at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences though, they have created a new afternoon tea, the Gentlemen’s Tea, which is all about cheese, meat and whisky. Sandwiches are filled with Burford brown egg and watercress; Cumbrian beef and horseradish; Dingley Dell ham and Maille mustard and Galvin cure smoked salmon. Replacing traditional scones are cheese scones served with Alsace bacon butter and Gentleman’s relish and in the place of cakes you’ll find a Goosnargh duck Scotch egg; Eccles cake served with Lincolnshire poacher and chutney, and a Lancashire bomb rarebit and English crumpet. It may say it’s for gentleman but we say it’s for all. www.athenaeumhotel.com
Chi Kitchen have just launched a pan-Asian afternoon tea. Served daily, the tea includes the likes of Taro cake – a traditional Chinese dish made with the root vegetable taro, Chinese preserved meats and rice flour before being steamed and then pan-fried. You’ll also find a curry puff – a popular street food snack in Malaysia; also from Malaysia is the Pandan Kaya bun filled with custard and other cakes include a Vietnamese cassava cake made from grated cassava, sugar and coconut milk. To drink, there’ll be a Malaysian pulled tea, matcha latte and green tea. www.chikitchen.co.uk
You don’t get much more traditional than visiting The Savoy for your scone fix. Executive Pastry Chef, Ludwig Hely has given the classic afternoon tea a Spring makeover; new additions include a raspberry tart, strawberry macaroon and apricot délice – génoise sponge, vanilla cream and apricot jelly with Pinot Gris mousse. The tea is served in the hotel’s impressive Thames Foyer, complete with live pianist playing away under the gazebo. Available now until the end of June www.fairmont.com
Sofitel London St James are about to make afternoon tea even more photogenic – if that’s possible. Inspired by Chelsea Flower Show, their new Spring tea fuses floral tastes into pastry form. Think a tonka bean sablé, peach confit and elderflower mousse to taste of elderflower, cheesecake with violet and grape compote for ‘violet’ and a strawberry preserve with poppy mousseline cream on a punchy pistachio base. Pair it with the hotel’s specially created Egerton Gin cocktail made with rose liqueur and you’ll be transported to an English garden. Available until the end of May www.sofitelstjames.com
To celebrate the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Royal Garden Hotel will be serving a new afternoon tea in its Park Terrace restaurant. Sandwiches will be followed by floral inspired deserts including orange blossom palmiers, elderflower possets and honey cake served with bee pollen. They’ve also teamed up with Mason Dry Yorkshire Gin, a craft gin distillery in Bedale, to create two unique cocktail pairings, The Chelsea Tree, which is made from the Masons’ Yorkshire Tea Edition, and the Pink Ambrosia, which uses Masons’ Lavender Gin.
Available now – 28th May www.royalgardenhotel.co.uk
Visit the pinkest dining room in town and enjoy their new French-inspired afternoon tea. The pastry team at Sketch travelled round the country to research old English tea time traditions, fusing it with a dollop of French flair and the outcome? An eccentric experience complete with a pink-suit-clad ‘Caviar Man’ who will come to your table to serve caviar. Read our review here. Available now www.sketch.london
Launching in time for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and running throughout the summer, The Strand’s new afternoon tea is inspired by a summer garden. Alongside the likes of smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, you’ll find a passionfruit mousse, chocolate and caramel ganache, white chocolate roses growing on a bed of wheatgrass and milk chocolate butterflies.
Available now – 30th August www.strandpalacehotel.co.uk
Tucked away on the backstreets of Mayfair is one of London’s best terraces. Al fresco dining makes Mews of Mayfair stand out from the competition and if you’re already familiar with it then it’s time to head back pronto because their new afternoon tea isn’t sticking around. Here for the duration of the Chelsea Flower Show, the tea is suitably botanical thanks to a strawberry and hibiscus trifle, chocolate and nasturtium mirror cake and violet macaroon. The theme isn’t limited to tea – the cocktail menu has had a floral makeover too. Available from 22nd May – 4th June www.mewsofmayfair.com
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Written by: Emily Gray