OK, I’m a bit late in the day with this – but National Afternoon Tea Week kicked off on Monday and it celebrates the best of this British tradition. Afternoon Tea was created back in the day when dinner wasn’t served until 8pm, and lunch wasn’t actually a thing, so some clever person came up with an idea to create a new mini-meal in the middle of the day. Traditionally this meal contains tiny finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and sweet dainties like cakes and pastries to help lift the spirits, bolster energy, and see you through the rest of the day.
This simple afternoon meal grew into a social event, especially for the upperclasses. This became even more prominent once Queen Victoria herself took part in this tradition. Over the last ten years Afternoon Tea has had a huge revival with a lot of hotels, restaurants and cafes serving it.
I have listed my favourite Afternoon Teas below:
In terms of novelty this one wins big time. I mean who can top Afternoon Tea on a blinged out double decker bus while travelling though central London? No, me neither. The menu is a traditional one with your regular sandwiches, rolls, cakes and scones. Depending on the month, Brigit’s Bakery tends to have a special theme such as Gin (which I had this January), Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. They also do an Afternoon Tea night bus tour and a river cruise. It’s a bit pricey at £55.00 per head but then you are paying for the novelty.
I was treated to Afternoon Tea at Sanderson by the lovely people from Mary Kay a few years back. It is one of the most popular tea due to Alice in Wonderland theme and the fact that it is truly picturesque. I am talking about vintage books, teapots adorned with kings and queens, and sandwich plates decorated with zebras, birdcages and ticking clocks. The highlights are the tasted savouries and the beautiful looking cakes that are beyond instagrammable. It is priced at £48.00 per head, which you would expect from such a plush venue.
This was a real revelation – Afternoon Tea at Malmaison London is delicious. You are treated to a selection of mini burgers, salmon and cheese roll, beetroot wrap, cream filled doughnut, carrot cake, chocolate brownie, chocolate dessert and a smoothie. All that for £19.95, you are laughing!
The interiors wins here – this cute and retro cafe in Oasis on Tottenham Court Road is the stuff that vintage lovers dream off. The offering is a mixture of sandwiches and wraps, a selection of cakes, a chocolate dessert and scones served with clotted cream and jam. Not bad at £25 per head.
I could not list my favourite Afternoon Tea without mentioning this Chinese take on it. Served at the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge. On the menu is an amazing feast of crispy chicken stick, crispy shredded duck spring rolls, sauteed prawns coated with wasabi, minced chicken wrapped in lettuce and crispy scallop rolls. On top of that you are served BBQ pork bun (Chai Siu Boa), red bean and pandan mochi cake, fresh sliced mango, prawns with passion fruit colis (dip fried), steamed minced pork dumplings (Siu Mai) and traditional peking duck. That’s a lot right? Take it from me, I was stuffed afterwards. Not sure if it is still offered but you can check out their website.
So there you have it, my all time favourite Afternoon Teas. Have you tried any of these? Are there any that you would recommend?