London’s hottest hangouts are always reinventing that age-old tradition of afternoon tea. Here are the latest and best, from a cherry blossom afternoon tea marking the start of spring to an entirely chocolate afternoon tea celebrating Easter!
1 Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea, The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange launched the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea in April, offering guests a wonderful array of treats inspired by fine Japanese cuisine and served in the opulent surroundings of The Grand Café. In honour of Hanami – the celebration of the cherry blossom, marking the arrival of spring in Japan – Head Chef Piero Leone has incorporated vibrant Japanese flavours into the traditional British afternoon tea. Try miso egg and watercress finger sandwiches, brioche buns with chicken teriyaki and hot smoked salmon, followed by matcha green tea and strawberry trifle, chocolate brownie with kumquats and lavender, as well as scones served with clotted cream and yuzu jam. £20pp. Available Mon-Fri 3-5.30pm.
Royal Exchange EC3V 3LR; royalexchange-grandcafe.co.uk
2 Green & Black’s Chocola-TEA at The Montagu at Hyatt Regency London
The Montagu launches an entirely chocolate Afternoon Tea on 14 April, just in time for Easter. The Montagu’s Green & Black’s Chocola-TEA celebrates the hotel’s namesake Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite dessert, and also Green & Black’s 25th anniversary. Every element delicately infuses Green & Black’s chocolate, with treats including the Churchill Burger with a Dark 70% Chocolate infused BBQ Sauce, an Aubergine Mousse Cocoa Éclair and a DIY Salted Chocolate Buttercream Cupcake. The traditional scone becomes a Chocolate & Pistachio Scone with a Chocolate Curd, and you can enjoy a cup of Maya Gold Cacao Tea, inspired by the ancient Mayan drink ‘kukuh’. Or you can choose Sir Winston’s Martini cocktail – a classic Martinez garnished with Green & Black’s Rich Dark 85% Chocolate. £38pp or £47 with a choice of champagne or cocktail. Available Mon-Fri 1.30pm-5.30pm and weekends 3.30pm-5.30pm.
30 Portman Square W1H 7BH; 020 7299 2037; themontagurestaurant.co.uk
3 Easter Afternoon Tea at Sketch, Mayfair
Sketch’s Easter Afternoon Tea is available from 14-17 April in the Gallery. Led by Master Chef Pierre Gagnaire, the Gallery’s team of French chefs travelled across Britain to research tea time traditions, with stories on their expedition told in a keepsake menu filled with whimsical illustrations and anecdotes. You’ll also be greeted by the newly appointed ‘Caviar Man’, dressed in the blush hue now synonymous with Sketch’s Gallery, who will serve his version of Egg and Soldiers – Comté cheese soldiers paired with quail’s egg and a spoonful of Oscietre caviar. The pièce de résistance is the Lemon and Mara des bois strawberry Battenberg cake, which is followed by new cake options from the Trolley – Victoria Sponge or Banana loaf infused with layers of creamy fudge. While you’re there, check out the gaggle of geese nesting on floral creations by in London’s most Instagrammed loos until 23 April. £75pp (champagne not included). There is also a children’s Afternoon Tea priced £30.
9 Conduit Street, Mayfair W1S 2XG; sketch.london
4 Chocolate Afternoon Tea, Four Seasons Hotel London
The Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Hotel London serves up a selection of pastries, scones and savoury treats using only the finest Valrhona chocolate. Even savoury items featuring subtle chocolate hints, such as roast beef on a delicate milk bun with Granny Smith compote and chocolate nibs, and goat’s cheese mousse on cereal toast with Espelette pepper coulis and chocolate powder. Chocolate scones are accompanied by seasonal jams, homemade chocolate spread and Devonshire clotted cream, and then there are the desserts: chocolate macaron with Matcha and orange confit, chocolate tart with raspberries and candied ginger and more. Available 10-23 April 3pm-5pm daily. £52pp or £62 with a glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne.
10 Trinity Square EC3N 4AJ; 020 3297 3799; fourseasons.com
5 Jazz Afternoon Tea, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane is launching a limited-edition Jazz Afternoon Tea on 30 April, marking International Jazz Day. A chocolate tart with basil lime ganache is topped with a musical note, while Sable Breton, honey mousse, saffron crème and blackberry gêlée combine to create an edible saxophone, and a coconut dacquoise with Cara Crakine, piña colada crème and tropical compote is topped off with a chocolate sheet of music. In addition, a selection of handmade sandwiches is served alongside plain and raisin scones with a duet of seasonal preserves and clotted cream. Finally, a rich red velvet cake with orange butter completes the symphony of pastries. Served daily until 30 July, from £39pp (jazz musicians will play from Friday to Sunday, with afternoon tea from Monday to Thursday accompanied by a harpist).
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Piccadilly W1J 7BX; sheraton.com
6 B ‘n T: Brunch Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly
B ‘n T: Brunch Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly is a new menu concept offering the best of both of London’s most celebrated indulgences – brunch and afternoon tea. Served in the traditional Afternoon Tea style, classic delicacies are given a brunch-inspired twist, so expect delights such as smoked salmon scones, a mini full English (cocktail sausage, streaky bacon, cherry tomato, beans and a quail egg sitting inside a mini ‘Yorkshire Basket’), and an avocado ‘superfood éclair’. The sweet stuff includes Chocolate Eggs And Dippers and cocktails nod to the theme too, with gin-infused Earl Grey Tea served inside a teacup. Soft-launch 8-23 April (weekends only), priced £27.50 with cocktail or £37.50 with free-flowing sparkling wine. The menu officially launches on Saturday 29 April, served Satrudays and Sundays priced £35 with cocktail or £45 with free-flowing sparkling wine.
21 Piccadilly, Mayfair W1J 0BH; 020 7734 8000; terracegrillandbar.com
7 Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at Sanderson
Sanderson relaunches its Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea on 24 April. The famous tea has been given a refresh with new additions including the mocha chessboard gateau, chocolate and pistachio blue caterpillar, Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach ‘Drink Me’ potion and Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier. Served in the hotel’s restaurant and courtyard garden, you’ll discover menus hidden inside vintage books and whimsically decorated sandwich plates filled with King of Hearts parmesan croque-monsieur, scones and smoked salmon Scotch quails eggs with caviar and cream cheese. Tailor-made-teas are inspired by the characters, like the ‘Alice’ China black tea, as well as a range of Perrier-Jouët champagne and Wonderland-themed cocktails. Served daily from £48pp (£35 for kids aged 4-11).
50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia W1T 3NG; 020 7300 5588; morganshotelgroup.com
8 Nordic Tea at Aster, Victoria
The Nordic tea at Aster is anything but typical. A newly opened restaurant in the Victoria NOVA building, Aster offers a tea filled with delicacies which offer a taste of Norway such as open rye sandwiches topped with the likes of Atlantic prawn skagen or cured salmon and pickles. And the tea menu changes seasonally so you can expect fresh new dishes every month. £20pp with coffee or tea. Add a glass of NV Antech Brut Nature, Blanquette Limoux for £7 or a glass of NV Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial for £11.50.
Cardinal Place, 150 Victoria Street SW1E 5LB; aster-restaurant.com
9 High Chai Tea at Cinnamon Soho, Soho
Cinnamon Soho is bringing the flavours of India to afternoon tea with their High Chai afternoon tea, which includes three tiers of classic Indian eats like Tandoori chicken and chutney sandwiches and Bhangra lamb sliders (vegetarian alternatives: paneer naan pizza and Bengali beetroot burger), followed up with sweet treats like Malabar plum cake and bitter chocolate tartlets with dates and ginger. Available Monday to Saturday 3pm–6pm and on Sundays as part of the Sparkling Sunday Brunch Menu. Tea for two £30 or, for £40, add two glasses of cinnamon Bellini.
5 Kingly Street, Carnaby W1B 5PF; cinnamonsoho.com
10 Art Tea Rosewood Hotel, Holborn
Afternoon tea at Rosewood is a work of art, quite literally. The dishes served alongside the selection of teas are all inspired by and modeled after iconic artists; Yayoi Kusama, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst and Banksy. The pastries are designed to be immediately identifiable to any London art lover, and of course taste as vibrant and unique as they look.
252 High Holborn WC1V 7EN; rosewoodhotels.com
11 Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea, Town House Kensington
Get whisked away to a land of princesses, beasts and talking dishware with Town House’s new Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea. To celebrate the premiere of Beauty and the Beast, the tea will feature themed treats such as the ‘Try the Grey Stuff’ chocolate mousse and a clock tart featuring Cogsworth’s face. Originally due to come to an end in March, this treat has proved so popular it is now available until the end of the year, but is fully booked until November 2017!
109-113 Queen’s Gate SW7 5LR; townhousekensington.com