It’s #NationalAfternoonTeaWeek! So, in celebration of finger sandwiches, loose leaf tea and enough cake to make you diabetic, here’s my pick of the best London has to offer.
1. Jean Georges at The Connaught
Sit below the flying saucer light fittings of JG at The C and you’ll feel like you’ve escaped the mayhem of Mayfair. The restaurant’s exec pastry chef, Anshu Anghotra, really knows a thing or three about sweet treats from strawberry pavlova with strawberry mousse to a rocher with hazelnut praline and milk chocolate. Best of all is a pot of silky smooth chocolate fondue with Great Dane shaped biscuits. Yum.
Afternoon Tea with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £50
2. Kaia at The Ned
For something a little different, Kaia offers a Japanese afternoon tea with sushi, seaweed salads and matcha green tea buns. It’s all served on an Instagram friendly wooden wheel too. And you have the added joy of being inside The Ned – the City’s swanky hotel from Soho House. If you’ve never been before, with 10 restaurants and bars in one large ground floor foyer, it’s worth checking out.
Japanese Afternoon Tea, £30
3. Aqua Shard
This one is really quite special as they’ve gone all Mary Poppins – everything is inspired by the work of author P.L. Travers – and it’s not naff like some themed teas can be. There’s serious attention to detail from the waiter dressed as Bert, to the welcome glass of Veuve Clicquot having a flag attached, to the tea itself being topped with Mary Poppins’ umbrella. To top it off, from the 31st floor of The Shard, you have views over London like nowhere else.
The Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, £66
4. The Savoy
This is a classic, simple afternoon tea where you’re serenaded with a pianist playing from a central gazebo which is quite a spectacle. The sweet treats are the star here and they come out on a tray so you can pick (as many times as you like) only the ones you truly like the look of. Think Belle Hélène, that’s chantilly cream with poached pear and dark chocolate sauce, and a thoroughly decent Battenberg cake. This is one to take your Mum.
Traditional Afternoon Tea with a glass of Louis Roederer, £75
5. The Corinthia
The afternoon tea here is about as perfect as it gets. Things start with a Champagne trolley as you sit below a stunning Baccarat chandelier listening to a pianist just subtle enough to be unobtrusive. The scones are served in a box, the sandwiches on hand-painted bone china designed by Richard Brendon and the sweets from another trolley. Sarnies include egg mayo with truffle, roast beef and caramelised onion and tandoori chicken. Exquisite.
Traditional Afternoon Tea with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £55
If I’ve missed off your favourite from the list then let me know over on @samphiresalsify