Typically an English tradition associated with royalty, Grandmas and floral tea-ware; our latest list checks out the alternative Afternoon Teas on offer around London. Expect copious amounts of champagne, cocktails and, most importantly, cake.
In a theatrical twist on the quintessential British afternoon tea ceremony, House’s offering has been inspired by the National Theatre’s classic productions and will include two grand ‘Acts’, a ‘Curtain up’ introductory bellini, and an ‘Interval’ ice cream course. Guests will enjoy play-themed dishes such as a One Man, Two Guv’nors-inspired hummus sandwich with French beans and roasted pepper on wholemeal bread; And a ‘Taste of Honey Layer Cake’ with honey from the National Theatre’s very own bee hives, inspired by Shelagh Delaney’s 1950s play. The new afternoon tea will be available in the afternoons from Tuesday to Sunday. To add further drama to the experience, on Fridays and Sundays guests can enjoy a peek behind the scenes by adding a backstage tour before their lavish afternoon tea in the restaurant.
An alternative to most venues, BB Bakery runs an afternoon tea service in a vintage London bus that drives around Central London taking in all the sights while indulging in High Tea. The menu is mixed with macarons, mini cupcakes, sandwiches and mini quiches. From mid-April they have a site opened on a vintage private motor yacht which sails down the Thames - where you can take in the culture and landmarks of London from the water. If your stomach can’t handle eating on the move they also have a site in Covent Garden where they offer an optional upgrade to a champagne tea. If you don’t fancy leaving the house they also have a delivery service available too.
Browns afternoon tea is served in their award winning tea room, frequented by Queen Victoria and boasting over 17 different types of tea including their own blend. The interior blends old wooden panels, contrasted by modern furnishings by Paul Smith, making a cosy yet modern setting which matches their menu perfectly. Keeping up with the health craze, their Tea-Tox Healthy Afternoon Tea is all low-carb, low-sugar, low- everything with results high in flavours and high in impact. For those not watching their weight, there’s also a Traditional Afternoon Tea comprising of the usual suspects; scones, cakes and pastries.
Available on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Mr Fogg’s put on a ‘Tispy Tea’ which includes a bottomless tea pot of either Gin Tea or Champagne Tea. Each ‘Tea’ comes in three flavours, including a Woburn Abbey which is a blend of English Breakfast infused Tanqueray No. TEN gin, steeped in a teapot with crème de bergamot, lemon juice and bee pollen sugar with milk on the side, or the Anna Maria Russell which is a Tatratea liquer with sloe gin and lemon bitters, topped with Ruinart champagne. To soak up all the booze, there is also a spread of elegant sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petit-fours.
A menu inspired by the famous film of decadence, imagination and most importantly, chocolate; the afternoon tea at One Aldwych is a continuation and a collaboration of the magical musical on in the West End. Expect decadent golden eggs, coloured candy floss and smoking teapots. They have a selection on award-winning loose leaf teas and infusions from Covent Garden’s Tea Palace each specifically chosen to compliment the exquisite flavours from the kitchen.
Blending the concept of afternoon tea with Indian food, High Chai at Cinnamon Soho is an exciting and unusual idea which works fantastically. It revs up the flavours with spices and exotic ingredients making it truly memorable and deliciously tasty. Executive Chef Vivek Singh has put a modern Indian twist on the menu including a Bangla Scotch egg and spicy kasundi relish, tandoori chicken and chutney sandwich all followed by sweet treats of ginger and garam masala cake and spiced scones accompanied by apple and fennel chutney.
Created especially to showcase Hush’s own brand of gin, the Gin and Jam afternoon Tea is served in their Silver Room and featuring classic afternoon treats, from elegant finger sandwiches to warm scones with clotted cream and jam, macaroons and Earl Grey Crème Brulee. At £35 per person it includes two Hush Gin cocktails which is the perfect alternative accompaniment to tea and cake.
Not only open during usual hours (from 2-6pm) the Rock N Cocktails Midnight Tea is also available for midnight munchies from 10pm-1am. Inspired by the Rock ‘N’ Roll royalty who have ‘stayed, played and misbehaved’ in the former BBC Building Kensington House in the 60s. The tea is served on record covers, the teapots are electric blue and pink, and the drinks are all made using different flavours of tea. The food menu plays again on the theme, including ‘rolling scones’ with clotted cream and strawberry compote, and white chocolate ganache lollipops spiked with popping candy. Very rock star.