Mexican Flavours Shine Through Beautifully In This Frida Kahlo Afternoon Tea

Frida Kahlo afternoon tea, The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione ★★★★★

Mexican Flavours Shine Through Beautifully In This Frida Kahlo Afternoon Tea Frida Kahlo afternoon tea, The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione 5

Octopus sandwiches. Churros. Tequila cocktails. Not what you normally expect to find in an afternoon tea at a swanky Kensington hotel. But The Franklin's gone bold — and it's worked.

The Mexican afternoon tea pays homage to artist Frida Kahlo, tying in with the current Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A across the road. What could have been a token attempt at jumping on the Kahlo bandwagon — after all, we've already had the house, the mural and another afternoon tea — is a perfectly executed, stunningly presented meal that marries English tradition with Mexican culture seamlessly.

Among the muted, monotone dining room, our table really stands out. A South American style woven table runner adds a splash of colour, accompanied by a potted cactus duo to really drive the Mexican theme home. The food is served on a long platter, rather than the traditional afternoon tea stand, which really makes the colours pop. A lot of thought has gone into the presentation, but can the taste match up?

OK, so those octopus sandwiches aren't for everyone, but there's plenty to please seafood swervers. The chicken and guacamole sandwiches are somewhat moreish, and even the ricotta and pepper sandwiches manage to turn this lifelong pepper hater with their creamy-crunchy combo.

Deliciously crumbly to the point of biscuity, any attempt to the slice the warm scones is a futile one. Instead, let them crumble and melt the lemon curd onto the lime scones, before moving onto the chocolate and banana offerings with your more traditional jam and cream.

Forget cupcakes and Victoria sponges — the desserts here are far from tame. The psychedelic fruit salad, painstakingly finely chopped, is the ideal palate cleanser before moving onto the deliciously sticky flan de cajeta, a dulce de leche type pudding that oozes toffee goodness.

The churros bring us firmly back into (messy) Mexican territory, and even the chocolate canvas — printed with an image of Kahlo herself — have a kick provided by the chilli praline.

Whatever your thoughts on the idea behind a pricey afternoon tea dedicated to Frida Kahlo, the team at The Franklin deserve recognition for flawlessly producing a traditional afternoon tea with a Mexican twist, presenting it beautifully and without a single dud note.

Frida Kahlo afternoon tea, The Franklin London - Starhotels Collezione, 34 Egerton Gardens, South Kensington, SW3 2DB. Booking required. £35 per person, or £50 including tickets to the V&A's Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up exhibition.


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Last Updated 14 July 2018