What? The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone’s new afternoon tea. 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.
New? The afternoon tea launched earlier this year, but Zetter Townhouse Marylebone opened back in 2015.
Where? 28-30 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 7JB, www.thezettertownhouse.com
On the Menu: The tea is divided into Uncle Seymour and Aunt Wilhelmina, so whilst both teas have the same cakes, think winter punch jelly, macaroons, chocolate cakes and the same scones, you can choose how it starts. Uncle Seymour’s tea is meatier and heartier with a Lincolnshire pork pie with 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.
First Impressions: Situated on quiet Seymour Street, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that Oxford Street is a stone’s throw away. Luckily here you can escape the hordes and settle in for the afternoon. There isn’t that grandiose air about the place that you get at other larger hotels, but then they don’t have as much personality and warmth to them. It’s relaxed and friendly, professional, yes but the team aren’t on autopilot from welcoming in guest after guest.
The Look: Stepping off the street and straight into Seymour’s Parlour is like stepping off the street straight into someone’s sitting room, albeit a sitting room belonging to someone with a grand and eccentric taste. Dark red walls are covered in cornice plaster, candelabras and paintings in ornate gilt frames. A mix-match of dark wooden tables are covered in lace clothes, chintzy china and silver sugar pots and tongs. There’s a roaring fire (if you can, book the sofa directly in front of it), a grandfather clock, various vases and paintings and plaster work decorating the ceilings. Minimalist it is not, but is it cosy? Yes. Is it the sort of place to spend a chilly winter’s afternoon? Most definitely.
What We Ate: Of course we ordered both Uncle Seymour’s and Aunt Wilhelmina’s tea and we suggest you do the same – that way you can try a little bit of everything. A black pudding Scotch egg served with a fragrant Indian spiced mayonnaise was a winner, as was a goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade melt. The sandwiches were suffering from the curse of the dry bread which seems to strike down the best of afternoon teas, but they made up for it with the Lincolnshire pork pie and chunky piccalilli.
There were both plain and raisin scones, both coming with lashings of clotted cream and plenty of jam. These were followed by a dense slab of chocolate cake with a boozy tinge; coffee, chocolate, pistachio and lemon macaroons and The Clementine Presidente Dome, with a fluffy mousse. It had less finesse than other teas; none of the twiddly bits or miniature versions, it wasn’t dainty and it was all the better for it.
What We Drank: Starting with cocktails we went for the Poire Noel, a mix of Noel liqueur and Poire cider, the result is a cocktail with a festive warmth somewhere between a mulled cider and mulled wine, but cold. We also went for a Carob Old Fashioned – it’s the sort of thing that we feel Uncle Seymour would approve of. Wonderfully smooth with a subtle hint of chocolate, it is made from cocoa butter rum and carob and dandelion bitters.
Go With: Add in the cocktails or the sparkling wine and make this the start of your birthday celebrations.
Final Word: To celebrate New Orleans Mardi Gras, Seymour’s Parlour will be hosting the team from NOLA in Shoreditch on 28th February. There will be live music and Seymour’s Parlour will be festooned with beads in true New Orleans Mardi Gras style!