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Another month, another new collection of afternoon teas in London. After a slow start to the year, things are looking up for cake fans, with new themed afternoon teas, as well as a few Valentine's Day specials. Here's what we'll be scoffing in February.
Valentine's Afternoon Tea at Dominique Ansel
Renowned chef Dominique Ansel is keeping himself busy this month. Not content with opening a brand new restaurant in Covent Garden, he's also given the regular afternoon tea at the Belgravia bakery a Valentine's makeover.
Treat your date (or mate) to heart-shaped sandwiches filled with smoked salmon and dill, and pepper pastrami. The scones are accompanied with Ansel's signature truffles — heart-shaped packages filled with cream and strawberry jam which burst when spread.
Finally, the sweet selection completes the Valentine's theme, with beautiful Angel Wings (mascarpone cream, lemon jam and almond sponge), a Cupid’s Arrow (milk chocolate mousse, sour cherry and sponge cake) and Love Heart (coconut ganache, passionfruit curd and lavender meringue) complete with googly eyes.
Valentine's Afternoon Tea at Dominique Ansel Bakery, Belgravia. From £42 per person.
Available: 30 January- 1 March, 2pm/4.15pm.
Chocolate Masters Afternoon Tea at Galvin at The Athenaeum
As part of a Month of Chocolate (three words we very much like the sound of), Galvin at The Athenaeum has given its traditional afternoon tea a cocoa-powered makeover.
Served on a traditional three-tier stand, the Chocolate Afternoon Tea menu includes goodies such as a white chocolate and yuzu dome, dark chocolate and drunken prune brownies, and a chocolate and raspberry torte.
Chocolate Masters Afternoon Tea at Galvin at the Athenaeum. £39 per person.
Available: 1-29 February 2020.
Brit Awards afternoon tea at London Secret Garden
The nominees of this month's BRIT Awards are the inspiration behind a new afternoon tea at London Secret Garden.
First of all, the venue. London Secret Garden is a green space tucked away behind the Crowne Plaza Kensington on Cromwell Road, with private dining domes named after music icons (Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Freddie Mercury).
The musical influence stretches to the new afternoon tea menu, which includes a Coldplay’te of finger sandwiches (see what they did there?), and Ariana ‘Grand’Gai yang chicken and cucumber in a hirata bun.
Cocktails have been whipped up to accompany the meal, including the Endless Stormzy in a Teacup, and the Capaldi Passion Fruit Martini.
Brit Awards afternoon tea at London Secret Garden, Kensington. £35 per person/£45 including cocktails.
Available: Throughout February.
Valentine's afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant at London Hilton on Park Lane
Aimed at those celebrating Galentine's Day, as well as Valentine's Day, the limited edition afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant is a lovely offering. The menu has us at 'chocolate chip scones with salted caramel spread', but if you keep reading you'll come across treats such as marinated prawn or smoked salmon sandwiches, and strawberry and passion fruit pastry domes topped off with a chocolate heart.
Valentine's afternoon tea at London Hilton on Park Lane. From £39 per person. The restaurant also offers a special Teddy Bear's Picnic afternoon tea for 4-12 year olds (£24).
Available: 3-16 February
Picasso afternoon tea at Rosewood London
Is it a cake? It it an artwork? Who knows, but Rosewood London knows how to keep hungry Londoners coming through its doors, switching up the menu of its Art Afternoon Tea every few months to coincide with London's biggest exhibition.
This time, Picasso gets the Rosewood treatment, thanks to this blockbuster at the Royal Academy. Elements of Cubism and Realism take on pastry form. Oh Those Guitars (top picture) alludes to the musical motif used throughout Picasso's work, and is a light and airy sponge made with meringue and infused with colourful orange blossom and honey ganache adorned with chocolate guitar strings.
The Dream (pictured above), is inspired by a painting of Picasso's 222 year old mistress, and takes the form of a chocolate mousse with orange genoise, and mango jelly with passion fruit. Something to think about as you tuck in.
Picasso Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London, Holborn. From £65 per person.
Available: 3 February-31 August.
Queen of Hearts at Kona, Taj 51 Buckingham Gate
We've had love affairs with Kona's afternoon teas in the past. From an enchanting Alice in Wonderland menu, to a charming carousel meal (as close to Mary Poppins as it could get without infringing copyright), a Jasmine Indian afternoon tea, and a curious Sherlock Holmes one, the team at Kona go all out for themes. All Out.
So imagine our delight when we learned that the Alice in Wonderland offering was getting a makeover. Gone are the pastel hues, replaced with a red and black colour scheme, and a Queen of Hearts theme. Think Alice in Wonderland, but in dark mode. The fantastic decor is still there — unique, Alice-themed china, and bespoke hats on each table — and the theme extends through to the food.
Sandwiches and cakes are presented on separate chequerboards, the savouries standing guard like soldiers, while cakes are shaped like characters. The Queen of Hearts herself is fashioned from a rotund banana cake with a raspberry glaze. She's flanked by a gooey chocolate top hat, a strawberry macaron clock, and a raspberry and chocolate battenberg.
Alice's Queen of Hearts afternoon tea at Kona, Taj51 Buckingham Gate. £45 per person.
Available: From 3 February, daily.
Valentine's Day Sweet Pink afternoon tea at Maitre Choux
Eclair brand Maitre Choux is also sharing the love, offering a special Valentine's Day Sweet Pink afternoon tea at its Soho and Chelsea branches. It's one for the sweet toothed, with decadent eclairs and choux pastries (think Tahitian vanilla cream and raspberry puree) paired with glasses of champagne, and hot drinks. There's a definite Valentine's theme to it, with a pink colour scheme, and heart-shaped toppings.
Valentine's Day Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux in Dean Street, Soho, and King's Road, Chelsea. £84 per couple.
Available: 10-16 February.
Rolling Scones Valentine's afternoon tea at God's Own Junkyard
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You've probably heard of neon paradise God's Own Junkyard, but what about its cafe? The punnily-named Rolling Scones Cafe is serving a special Valentine's afternoon tea for two days only. Stare into your loved one's eyes and see the neon madness reflecting back as you tuck into finger sandwiches, homemade fruit scones, and an assortment of cakes. It may not be the fanciest menu on this list, but it's certainly the most unique setting.
Valentine's afternoon tea at Rolling Scones Cafe, Walthamstow. £20 per person (prosecco/cocktail £6.50 extra).
Available: 14-15 February.
Valentine's afternoon tea at Peggy Porschen
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Beloved pink parlour Peggy Porschen is running a limited edition Sealed With a Kiss Valentine's afternoon tea at the Chelsea branch. Tuck into mini versions of treats from the current Love Letters collection, along with heart-shaped scones and finger sandwiches.
Valentine's afternoon tea at Peggy Porshen Chelsea. From £43 per person.
Available: 14-16 February
Afternoon tea at the Tiffany Blue Box Cafe in Harrods
And I said, what about, breakfast afternoon tea at Tiffany's? The famous jewellery brand is opening a replica of its New York flagship Blue Box Cafe inside Harrods. Food and drink is served on Tiffany's blue crockery (if you love it that much, you can buy your own to take home...). While breakfast at Tiffany's is an option, we're here to talk about the afternoon tea.
Smoked salmon, and egg and black truffle, are among the sandwich fillings, served alongside plain and fruit scones. When it comes to dessert, tuck into dark chocolate mousse cake, New York cheesecake, The Big Apple (a twist on apple pie), and a Tiffany Blue Egg (lemon curd and mascarpone in the Tiffany’s shade inspired by the robin’s egg).
Afternoon tea at Tiffany & Co. Blue Box Cafe, Harrods. From £69 per person
Available: Cafe opens 14 February. Bookings open every Friday morning for the forthcoming week.
Japanese afternoon tea at Akira at Japan House
Restaurant Akira at Japan House blends English tradition with Asian flavours for its new Japanese afternoon tea.
Japanese wagashi sweets, cakes and sushi accompanied is by a choice of traditional teas from Japanese produces, or a glass of sparkling sake. Mochigashi (pounded rice cakes with sweet bean paste filling) yokan (a firm jelly-like dessert flavoured with matcha, red bean or plum), dorayaki (a pancake sandwiched with sweet red bean paste) and senbei (sweet crispy rice cakes) are all on the menu. Gone is the traditional tiered stand, with food served instead on single, bespoke ceramic plates.
Japanese afternoon tea at Akira. £28 per person (minimum of two people sharing).
Available: Monday-Saturday, 2.30pm-5pm
Tiki Tea at Trader Vic's
Tiki bar and restaurant Trader Vic's has launched a Polynesian-inspired twist on afternoon tea — and it's definitely not one traditionalists.
For one thing, it's completely savoury. Crispy prawns, Tom Yum soup, BBQ spare ribs, Asian spiced chicken wings, jalapeno cheese balls, chickpea crepes and crispy bok choy, and mushroom dumplings are all on the menu. Good, strong stomach-lining food, which is ideal when you learn when it's accompanied not by tea, but by rum — oodles of the stuff, in tiki bowls and cocktails.
Tiki Tea at Trader Vic's, London Hilton on Park Lane. £42 per person.
Available: daily, 5pm-10pm
Sherlock Holmes afternoon tea at The Mind Palace
Sherlock Holmes escape room The Game Is Now has added a detective afternoon tea to its repertoire. It's served in The Mind Palace, the speakeasy bar linked to the escape room.
It's a traditional affair, with coronation chicken, cheese and pickle, and cucumber and cream cheese sarnies, followed by scones with cream and jam. The desserts carry the bulk of the Sherlock theme, with 221B brownies (a nod to the fictional detective's Baker Street address), and a gingerbread deerstalker.
For those who believe in earning their food, you're also presented with a mystery to solve, with a trail around The Mind Palace, and rewards earned for any clues you successfully solve. You can do just the escape room, just the afternoon tea, or both. Whatever you do, it all needs to be booked in advance.
Sherlock Afternoon Tea at The Mind Palace, W12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd's Bush. From £30 per person.
Available: Saturdays and Sundays.
Scentsation afternoon tea at 100 Queen's Gate
Botanica restaurant inside 100 Queen's Gate Hotel has paired up with fragrance brand Floris to launch a Scentsation afternoon tea. Two of Floris's signature scents, cherry blossom and lime, were used to inspire the afternoon tea, which includes sandwiches, scones and cakes and pastries. The photogenic restaurant has been beautifully decorated with cherry blossom too.
Botanica at 100 Queen's Gate. Dates and prices tbc.
Book ahead for:
- It doesn't officially launch until March, but we're already excited for the new Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough Hotel. The pink Belgravia parlour has teamed up with the fancy hotel to launch the afternoon tea, sticking very much to the pink theme. Bookings open now, afternoon tea available from 3 March.
Nothing here to tempt you? Have a look back at other afternoon teas which launched recently — plenty of the menus are still running: