Afternoon tea has been a British staple for over 150 years and now even has a whole week dedication to our love of tiny cakes and sandwiches. At The Handbook we hear of a new afternoon tea pretty much every week, if not every day, as London restaurants do their best to quench our insatiable thirst for miniature food so we have rounded up a list of our favourite afternoon teas of the year so far!
What: French-Style Afternoon Tea
Why: A journey for the senses told through a storybook complete with quirky illustrations and poetic tales of the tea’s new ‘characters’ like The Caviar Man and Tea Master. It’s a suitably chic affair but nothing is quite as it seems. The sketch experience involves you from the start, with each stage acting as the next part of the story. A sketch take on egg and soldiers sees comté fingers ready to dip into a comté cheese mornay ‘egg’ complete with 63° yolk served in a china egg cup.
Where: 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG
What: Italian Make-Over at Il Pampero
Why: An afternoon tea that is offering something completely different, no sandwiches or scones in sight, and yet it still feels like an afternoon tea. In the savoury section are arancini balls and parma ham with melon, instead of scones is the superior bombolone, a type of Italian doughnut, and the sweet section consists of hazelnut bignè and ricotta and chocolate cannolo.
Where: 20 Chesham Place, London, SW1X 8HQ
What: Dry Martini’s First Afternoon Tea
Why: The Mar-Tea-Ni afternoon tea was created for National Tea Day and features a selection of specialist teas from JING Tea not available anywhere else. Savouries include aubergine on tomato brioche, lamb and mint on charcoal toast and pork and pickle on white sourdough. Mixing things up a little, Dry Martini will offer lavender, green tea, fruit and plain scones plus a chocolate Martini mousse éclair, mango cheesecake, raspberry dome and chocolate and vanilla gateau.
Where: Meliá White House, Albany Street, Marylebone, NW1 3UP
Why: It’s the sort of tea that the wicked Uncle Seymour and great Aunt Wilhelmina (the two characters who “own” Zetter Townhouse Marylebone and Zetter Townhouse Clerkenewell respectively) would tuck into come four o’clock. Both teas have the same cakes, think winter punch jelly, macaroons, chocolate cakes and the same scones, but you choose how it starts. Uncle Seymour’s tea is meatier and heartier with a Lincolnshire pork pie, piccalilli and a haggis sausage roll, whilst Aunt Wilhelmina’s tea has sloe gin glazed ham finger sandwiches and Chapel & Swan smoked salmon on herb crème fraîche.
Where: 28-30 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 7JB
What: Things are getting spooky!
Why: Royal Lancaster London has created a special Halloween afternoon tea inspired by cult horror and thriller films from the 1960s, the decade in which the hotel was built and opened for business. You’ll notice a lack of colour on the table and everything including the food is black and white to fit in with 1960s film theme. The tea itself is served on a glass board decorated with scenes from the same films while dry ice smokes eerily over your food. Available from 17-31 October 2017.
Where: Lancaster Terrace London W2 2TY
What: A Wicked Tea
Why: Inspired by the musical, WICKED, (which theatre fact fans is the 16th longest running show in London’s theatre history) the new afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park features scones with rose petal jam, over 40 rare teas and pasties including a matcha and hazelnut finger topped with Glinda’s sparkly shoe; Elphaba’s milk chocolate mousse and caramel hat and The Good Witch’s dark chocolate choux.
Where: 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
What: Adopt a Bee
Why: St Ermin’s Tea are continuing their efforts to support beekeeping with the new Honey Afternoon Tea and Buzzy Bees Kid’s Tea. As well as including mini beehives made from orange yoghurt mousse and honey sponge; honey and mustard chicken sandwiches and a honey cheesecake, each tea will come with a Certificate of Adoption allowing you to name your own St Ermin’s bee and to learn about the role it plays within it’s hive on the third floor Bee Terrace. Plus, a £1 from each sale of the Honey Afternoon Tea will be going to the British Beekeeping Association.
Where: 2 Caxton Street, St James, SW1H 0QW
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