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January's a fairly quiet time for London's afternoon tea scene, what with everyone being broke from Christmas, and doing Veganuary and/or Dry January. That said, we have rustled out a couple of menus for you to try this month.
Vegan afternoon tea at Harvey Nichols
Knightsbridge department store Harvey Nichols is catering to Veganuary customers with a vegan afternoon tea available throughout the month.
Expect the classic tea sandwiches and desserts that feature in an afternoon tea, with a vegan twist. Tuck into plain and fruit scones, finger sandwiches including roasted golden beetroot with aged balsamic and herb salt, homemade ‘cheese’ and pickle in tomato bread.
The five desserts are all vegan too: like the lychee and pomegranate panna cotta, or the dark chocolate and coffee truffle. Wash it down with Harvey Nichols own tea blend, or coffee.
Vegan afternoon tea at Harvey Nichols. £35 per person, or £45 with bottomless prosecco.
Available: 7-31 January.
Saicho's Dry January afternoon tea at The Rose Lounge
January's other big trend, Dry January, is also catered for in afternoon tea form. The Rose Lounge has paired up with sparkling tea brand Saicho for an afternoon tea that involves a glass of bubbly, without any alcohol.
The food errs on the traditional side, with smoked salmon and egg mayo among the sandwich fillings served alongside freshly baked scones, and followed up with a pistachio Paris brest raspberry and lime tart, among other desserts.
Dry January afternoon tea at The Rose Lounge. £45 per person.
Available: Throughout January, 12pm-6pm daily.
Cool Earth afternoon tea at Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden
The Covent Garden branch of Petersham Nurseries has teamed up with rainforest charity Cool Earth for a limited edition fundraising afternoon tea.
The menu includes dishes such as cauliflower pani puri (a hollow, fried snack which originated in India), a squash and chilli quiche and a Peruvian chocolate and coffee bean macaron. It's served on a rainforest-themed hand-blown glass centrepiece with a tree sprouting from the top. Fancy.
Cool Earth afternoon tea. £55 per person.
Available: 9 January-29 March 2020. Thursday-Sunday, 3pm-4.30pm
Fenjiu Chinese New Year afternoon tea at Harrods
Chinese spirit brand Fenjiu teams up with Harrods to serve a themed tea for Chinese New Year. The Lucky Set afternoon tea is themed around the game of Mahjong, with bespoke chocolates in the design of Mahjong tiles. The patisserie items, including a mandarin mousse, and a caramelised white chocolate and black sesame ingot, are inspired by Chinese good luck symbols, and sandwiches such as duck with hoisin sauce, and Harrods apricot jam infused with Fenjiu, all served with a selection of scones.
A bespoke cocktail, called Wealth and Fortune, and made with Fenjiu Bamboo 5-Year-Old, Longjing tea cordial, white wine, bergamot liqueur, pear liqueur and lemon juice, is served alongside the afternoon tea inside the Harrods Tea Rooms.
Available: 11 January-16 February 2020.
Afternoon tea at The Betterment
Opened in September 2019, celebrated chef Jason Atherton's latest restaurant The Betterment now serves afternoon tea, with a focus on British sourced ingredients — diners are provided with a map showing where all of the ingredients originate from. It's served in the luxurious Tea Lounge, with tea blends served at your table from a trolley.
As for the food, Brixham crab, smoked Severn & Wye salmon, and Hereford beef are among the sandwich fillings, followed up by the traditional scones, clotted cream and raspberry jam. Desserts include a Kentish apple and blackberry tart, and a ginger parkin served with hazelnut cream, salted caramel and milk chocolate.
Afternoon tea at The Betterment. £45 per person, or £60-£80 per person with a glass of champagne.
Available: Daily, 12pm-6pm.
- Kona, the restaurant within Taj 51 Buckingham Gate hotel which has previously held Mary Poppins and Sherlock Holmes afternoon teas, is launching a new Alice in Wonderland themed one. Queen of Hearts should be launched in late January or early February.
- Perfumery Floris London takes over the Botanica tearoom at 100 Queen's Gate Hotel for a new afternoon tea. We're still awaiting full details, but we're promised a multisensory feast for all the 'scentses'.
Nothing here to tempt you? Have a look back at other afternoon teas which launched recently — plenty of the menus are still running: