When I first came to London, I remember walking through the terracotta streets around Cadogan Gardens and thinking ‘yes, this will do nicely, I’ll move here’. Cute. How naïve I was. Fast forward another 19 years and my ten year old dreams may have been dashed (I live in a box room) but I can still walk through Cadogan Gardens and lust over the buildings and the pretty blossomed streets. I can also head to boutique hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens for afternoon tea and pretend like I’m in my own sitting room and I have chefs at my beck and call (I’m aware Deliveroo exists, before anyone points that out).
Last year the hotel opened Hans’ Bar & Grill, a seasonal all- day restaurant, headed up by Adam England, and obviously being open all day means that they also serve afternoon tea, because sometimes you just need to spend the afternoon scoffing on sandwiches and cakes (and when I say sometimes, it’s more often than not).
If you want to go all out then you can start with Carlingford rock oysters, but we headed straight for the sandwiches. There’s a plump brioche roll stuffed with crayfish and topped with avocado puree and a mini asparagus, leek and sheep’s cheese tartelette alongside classic sandwiches of coronation chicken and cucumber with cream cheese and chives. There was also an excellent Cumberland sausage roll with a tangy, pickled walnut ketchup, which we promptly ordered another round of.
In a nod to their Chelsea location they serve Chelsea bun flavoured scones. Buttery, slightly spiced and with just the right amount of crumb, they’re the perfect base to be piled high with clotted cream and strawberry jam…cream first of course.
Fruit took centre stage when it came to the pastries. A decadent dark chocolate marquais was spiked with blood orange, there was a mini passion fruit pavlova and a striking green juniper and lime macaron. Just pipping the others to the post, the creamy rhubarb and fiery ginger cheesecake won first place, with its sweet crumbly biscuit base. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot was the order of the day and when it came to the tea, we opted for the smoky lapsang souchong.
Served daily, the afternoon tea is also served in the Drawing Room. Unlike the pale greens and greys of Hans’ Bar & Grill, the Drawing Room is adorned with portraits, drawings and large ornate vases. Heavier fabrics and rich colours give the room a distinguished but snug feel. If you’re visiting in the colder months then reserve the sofa in prime position in front of the fire. Full of carbs and tea, I stepped out onto Cadogan Gardens, turned left and got the tube home, one day, one day….