This Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Kona ★★★★★

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 66 months ago

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Last Updated 10 January 2019

This Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Kona 5

A Mary Poppins themed afternoon tea was always going to be whimsical, but cakes spinning on a musical carousel on the table in front of us is beyond even our wildest dreams. Tiny chocolate umbrellas and gooey replicas of Mary's famous hat taunt us as they glide past, along with carousel horses and of course, a spoonful of sugar. We get so excited when we see the beautifully presented platter coming towards us, that the restaurant manager comes over because he thinks there's something wrong. Time to wind our hysteria in a notch, then.

But let's rewind a minute, back to the start of our meal at Kona. The classy, peaceful restaurant is hosting two different afternoon teas simultaneously — while tables nearby are decked with playing cards and mad hatter hats for the Alice in Wonderland offering, we find an umbrella on our table, and Mary's famous carpet bag looks on from a windowsill nearby.

Before our cup of tea has even arrived, the first course sets the bar high. The mango shake is topped with a meringue, brownie, chocolate straw and sprinkles. That's impressive on its own, but it's served in a carriage for ultimate sweetshop-meets-fairytale vibes — we're tempted to demand that every one of our drinks is served in a carriage from now on. On a sweltering day, the drink is so refreshing that we slurp it down barely tasting it, then linger a little longer over its toppings. It's odd to begin an afternoon tea with a sweet rather than savoury course, but it works.

The sandwiches, scones and that carousel all arrive together. The sandwich collection is standard afternoon tea fare, including salmon, roast vegetables and beef and horseradish, and a tiny chicken pie. With each bite, we think we've found our favourite, until we tuck into the next one, naively declaring that to be even better. Looking back with hindsight, we can declare the beef a highlight, the horseradish cream cheese adding a subtle, mouthwatering tang.

The chocolate and orange scones come in a teacup shaped basket with the traditional cream, but instead of jam, there's a spicy fig chutney. It would sit nicely on a savoury dish, but doesn't quite work with the sweet scones. Not a problem — we're given ample clotted cream so we make do with that.

That carousel of cakes looks too damn good to eat, an exquisite level of detail clearly having gone into the design, from the chocolate flowers on Mary's hat to the carefully moulded umbrella handles. We spend a long time sitting and admiring (and yes, spinning) it, before finally tucking in.

The hat is a delicious salted caramel ganache, staying just the right side of sickly sweet. We follow it up with the 'spoonful of sugar', a strawberry and rose flavoured mini gateau which slides down nicely as a palate cleanser before the next mouthful.

The only duff note among the cake carousel is the '17 Cherry Lane', a pistachio & fraise des bois tower with strawberry flavoured meringue. The meringue is flavourful and crumbly, but the tower on which it perches has very little to offer in the way of taste.

The whole experience is filled with childlike joy. Excellent food combines with exquisite designs and decor for a thoroughly enchanting afternoon tea.

Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea at Kona, 51 Buckingham Gate, SW1E 6AF. £40-45 per person, booking required. It has replaced the Sherlock Holmes afternoon tea previously available at the venue.