Unusual afternoon teas
by Lovefood Team | 27 April 2014 | 14 commentsTweet
Our favourite weird and wonderful afternoon tea experiences, including an Alice in Wonderland adventure and edible flowerpots.
Freshly-cut cucumber sandwiches, a selection of petite pastries and cakes, a china pot of tea leaves… afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition.
But if you’ve done the sandwiches and scones thing a few times, here are some different takes on the traditional afternoon tea.
An edible garden
This perfectly presented Edible Garden tea has been designed to tie-in with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Champagne is regularly topped up and the highlight of the savouries has to be the avocado and baby vegetable shot – the vegetables are sweet, the avocado mousse tangy. Also worthy of note is a smoked chicken and tarragon 'tear drop', as well as scones and mini chelsea buns served with a dollop of clotted cream and strawberry rose jam. The delicate and aromatic 'dragon well tea' is also worth a try.
But that's not the end of it. A slate covered with a selection of delicious sweets is the pièce de résistance. Even the 'soil' spread across the bottom is edible (chocolate and black olives), as are the pebbles. The highlight is a strawberry champagne bubble, though the lemon hedge and orange and chocolate flowerpots are close contenders.
The Edible Garden afternoon tea is available from 28th April to 26th May 2014.
Where: Intercontinental Hotel, Westminster, London
Cost: £44 per person
Not Afternoon Tea
An afternoon tea without finger sandwiches? Good grief! The OXO Tower Brasserie pulls it off though, by replacing all things savoury with little sugary morsels, and swopping a cup of Earl Grey for a fruity cocktail. Each dessert plate (you can chose from four - 'wild thing', 'chocolate sensation', 'autumn fools' or 'Taywell preserved') is matched with its own cocktail, and you can expect treats such as whisky and honey cobnut cake, chocolate stout cake, pumpkin walnut cake, and raspberry and honey vodka jelly. And it has to be said, pastry chef Penny Wabbit is an expert at perfecting the humble English pudding. You'll be buzzing all the way home!
Where: OXO Tower Brasserie, Southwark, London
Cost: £22.50 per person
Prêt-à-Portea – the tea that changes with the seasons
Just like the fashion world itself, the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea at London’s Berkeley Hotel (pictured at the top of this article) changes its designs with the seasons. So you could be served a Stella McCartney polka dot sponge cake dress or a Burberry Prorsum stylish black and white double breasted chocolate biscuit coat with snow white vanilla icing.
Where: The Caramel Room, The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London
Cost: From £37.50 per person
An artistic tea
If you fancy indulging in some edible art, then head for the Merrion Hotel next time you’re in Dublin. Its Art Tea features cakes inspired by the works of artists such as Jack Yeats, John Boyd and Louis le Brocquy.
Where: The Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin
Cost: From €36 per person
Tumble down the rabbit hole
Heston Blumenthal would surely approve of the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. Among the sensory delights are exploding hazelnut praline ice cream lollipops, chocolate rabbit’s clocks and a rainbow array of finger sandwiches on beetroot, saffron and spinach breads.
Where: Courtyard Garden, Sanderson London, 50 Berners Street, London
Cost: £35 per person
If you fancy a spot of cabaret with your tea, why not try the Voluptea or Afternoon Tease at the Volupté supper club? As well as sandwiches, scones, tea and a glass of bubbly, you’ll also enjoy some top-class burlesque and cabaret.
Where: Volupté, 9 Norwich Street, London
Cost: £42 per person (tea and show)
Indulge in some ceremony
“We’re putting the tea back into the ritual” says the blurb on TeaSmith’s website. To that end, its afternoon tea ceremony features cakes and chocolates paired with teas, rather than the other way round. You’ll also learn a lot more about the huge range of teas they serve.
Where: TeaSmith, 6 Lamb Street, London
Cost: £20 per person
Got time for more tea?
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