London's awash with afternoon teas, and new ones are always being added to the selection too — take a look at the menus which are new in London this month, including one on a Secret Garden theme, and another that's strictly for adults only. Some of these are only around for a short time, so book quickly if they take your fancy.
1. The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences
We're massive fans of the themed afternoons tea menus at Kona — we've been wowed by Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland and the Queen of Hearts, so we're rather excited about the new launch, themed on children's book The Secret Garden.
Frances Hodgson-Burnett's novel is represented through pastries and savoury items. Begin with fresh garden herb roast chicken on brown bread with lemon mayo; a white bread sandwich with egg and garden peas; oak smoked salmon paired with avocado and dill cream cheese on spinach bread; and cucumber, beetroot and basil on tomato bread.
The charm is cranked up with the wonderfully-named sweet portion of the menu though:
- Perhaps it is the key to the garden is a chocolate key within a layer of biscuit soil and edible flowers;
- And the roses, the roses raising out of the grass is a floral dessert with raspberry and lychee flavours;
- Leaves and trees, flowers and birds features tangy mango and lime, topped with edible butterflies;
- And buds and buds is a chocolate pudding with its own flowers blooming out of an edible pot;
- Fair fresh leaves is a zesty citrus cream cheese tart, balanced with basil.
Kona is also serving botanical-inspired gins from The Secret Garden Gin Distillery, including Lemon Verbena, Apothecary Rose and Lavender & Echinacea flavours.
The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences. £75 per person. Available now, Thursday-Sunday.
2. David Hockney Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London
The Mirror Room at Holborn's Rosewood London offers an art afternoon tea with an ever-changing featured artist, and it's just launched its latest menu, celebrating David Hockney to coincide with the artist's current exhibition at Lightroom.
Five Hockney-inspired cakes and desserts have been whipped up by Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins, combining classic British flavours with iconic US desserts as a nod to Hockney's life in Yorkshire and Los Angeles (and leaning heavily on passion fruit, for some reason). They include:
- The Splash: a chocolate sponge with passion fruit, encased in Earl Grey chocolate bavarois with blue glaze. The cake is served on a crumbly almond sable and decorated with passion fruit chocolate décor to illustrate the painting’s splash.
- A Bigger Picture: a vanilla cheesecake covered in purple glaze with a strawberry, resembling the plum-coloured tree from Hockney's work. Vines with passion fruit and yuzu leaves wrap around the trunk, all served on a green vanilla almond sable.
Finger sandwiches and scones also feature.
The Mirror Room itself has had a spruce up for the new launch. Stylist and set designer Camilla Wordie was hired to 'Hockneyfy' the restaurant, incorporating colour, props, and whimsical nods to the artist's personal style including his statement yellow crocs, flat cap, and glasses.
David Hockney Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London. From £75 per person. Available now, throughout the summer.
3. Arrival of Spring Afternoon Tea at St James's Hotel & Club
Michelin Star chef William Drabble has put together an afternoon tea to celebrate the new season, served in the rather swish surroundings of the 5-star St James's Hotel & Club in Mayfair.
Sweet bites include a raspberry and rose choux; a 'bouquet of flowers' - comprising a lemon cake filled with lemon curd and mousse; a 'flower basket' featuring dark chocolate cremeux, and preserved cherries; and a white chocolate and orange bavarois topped with an edible white lily.
Even the scones have had an upgrade from the traditional, being scented with lavender. The menu is served with East India Company teas, or the Bee Mine, a specially-created cocktail made with limoncello, white vermouth, agave syrup, lemon juice prosecco foam and basil.
Spring Afternoon Tea at St James's Hotel & Club. £45 per person. Available now, daily.
4. Easter afternoon tea at Shangri-La The Shard
For Easter weekend only, the Skyline Afternoon Tea at Ting has an Easter makeover, with a spring-themed selection of treats, and the signature miniature Shard building replaced by a hand-crafted Easter egg with a white chocolate and passion fruit filling.
Finger sandwiches include coronation chicken, smoked salmon and cucumber, classic Reuben and truffle egg and cress. Scones are freshly baked, both sweet and savoury, the former served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Special desserts include an elderflower sponge with strawberry cream and jelly, a pistachio profiterole, and a heart-shaped pastry filled with white chocolate mousse. Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request.
Easter afternoon tea at Shangri-La The Shard. £71 per person (or £86 with a glass of champagne). Available 7-10 April.
5. Adults-only Tipsy Tea at Sanderson London
One that slipped our notice a couple of months ago is the new Tipsy Tea at Sanderson London, the venue best-known for its Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea.
The Tipsy Tea riffs off that, but is a strictly adults-only affair, served in the evenings, with lashings of booze to see it down. The food includes a New York deli sandwich, mushroom arancini with aioli, salmon nigiri sushi and avocado sushi. Mini scones (plain and sultana) are served with Tiptree preserve and clotted cream, and the sweets, a Baileys truffle and a German sin cake, have a boozy bent to them.
The drinks are where it gets interesting. The cocktail menu consists of five Alice in Wonderland inspired concoctions — you can choose three of them as part of the tea, with additional cocktails available at £15 each. They include the Drink Me Potion (bourbon, peach liquor, port, maraschino cherry liquor, sherry) and the Down The Rabbit Hole (vodka, kumquat liquor, St Germain, Campari, blood orange and cranberry).
The Tipsy Tea is served on the same tea set as the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea, featuring quotes from Lewis Carroll's novel.
Tipsy Tea at Sanderson London. £95 per person (includes three cocktails). Available Thursday-Saturday, 5pm-7pm.
- See which of March 2023's new afternoon teas are still being served, including a chance to dine surrounded by hot air balloons;
- A whole procession of coronation-themed afternoon teas are opening across London this month, ahead of the big event in May;
- If cake is your thing, you may be interested in The Dorchester's new luxury boutique Cake & Flowers which sells... well, cake and flowers. The edible side of things is the work of executive pastry chef Michael Kwan and is a rather fancy patisserie — think marble counters and gold trims.