London's awash with afternoon teas, from the traditional to the quirky to the vegan. And new ones are always being added to the selection too — take a look at the menus making their debut in London this month, including special Chelsea Flower Show afternoon teas. Some of them are only around for a short time, so book quickly if they take your fancy.
St James's Afternoon Tea at The Stafford
We're kicking things off with a playful offering this month — the St James's Afternoon Tea takes inspiration from the area of St James's, with nods to the luxury shops and boutiques that surround the hotel.
Lock & Co. hatmakers, tailor Henry Poole & Co, and James J. Fox cigar shop are all represented in the all-important top tier via an edible bowler hat, tuxedo and cigar respectively. The cheddar and chive scones use cheese from local cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield too.
St James's Afternoon Tea at The Stafford. £45, or £58 with a glass of champagne.
Available: Daily, 12pm-7pm.
Gin Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James
Why nobody has come up with the heavenly crossover of gin and afternoon tea before is beyond us, but those wizards at Emmeline's Lounge have finally done it.
The Gin Afternoon Tea was created in partnership with the City of London Distillery, and offers gin infused treats, washed down with cocktails.
For example, notes of juniper berries, fresh orange and lemon and coriander seeds in the Square Mile Gin have been paired with a charred lemon and pink grapefruit tart with rosemary meringue. The Six Bells Gin is served alongside the elderflower jelly honey cake and pear mousse delice. Freshly baked scones, a selection of sandwiches and teas from Lalani & Co also make an appearance. But really, we're here for the gin.
Gin Afternoon Tea at Emmeline's Lounge, Conrad London St James. £45 per person with a glass of champagne or three cocktail tasters, or £100 for two with a bottle of champagne.
Available: Daily, 1.30pm-6pm
Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel
The entirety of the Egerton House Hotel has been given something of a floral makeover in advance of the Chelsea Flower Show — and that includes the food.
The traditional English afternoon tea has been replaced with a summer garden version, including rosewater chocolate brownie, summer fruit vanilla tart, marigold macaroons, lavender posset with poppy seed biscuit, blueberry tower and a spinach, blackcurrant and edible flowers cupcake.
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free afternoon tea options are available, and botanical cocktails are on the bar menu throughout the summer too.
Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel. £48 per person/£64.50 per person with champagne.
Available: until September 2019
English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry
108 Pantry launches an English Country Garden Afternoon Tea — its first afternoon tea that's available in a fully vegan option, with floral flavours and seasonal ingredients leading the menu. Savouries include smashed avocado, roasted piquillo peppers and rocket, or barbecue baked sweet potato, coriander, lime and cashew mayo on onion bread.
Lemon drizzle cake, cashew & blueberry ‘cheesecake’ and salted caramel slice with toffee popcorn are among the sweet options, but the highlight, at least for originality, is a lollipop encasing an edible flower.
English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry. £32 per person/£42 with a glass of sparkling wine.
Available: Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm. Saturday-Sunday 12pm-6pm.
Floral-Inspired Afternoon Tea at 100 Queen's Gate Hotel
Located so close to the event, it's no surprise that 100 Queen's Gate is getting in on the Chelsea Flower Show action, by temporarily transforming its traditional afternoon tea into a floral offering.
The meal is hosted inside Botanica, the hotel's new plant-filled tea room, and consists of pickled baby carrot, baby beetroot and courgette flowers, along with botanical-inspired pasties, and cakes served on a bed of edible chocolate soil. Savouries include gin and tonic smoked salmon and cream cheese, on flower-shaped dark rye bread.
Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea at 100 Queen's Gate. £45 per person.
Available: 13 May-30 June 2019.
Traditional afternoon tea at The Green Room at The Curtain Hotel, Shoreditch
With all these themed, limited edition afternoon teas, it's refreshing to see someone sticking with good old-fashioned tradition.
The newly-launched afternoon tea at The Green Room — located within the Curtain Hotel — promises traditional afternoon tea with all of the trimmings, including plain & fruit scones with jam and clotted cream, a selection of fine tea cakes, smoked salmon bagel, gin & tonic cucumber sandwich and devilled eggs.
Even better, the venue has partnered with local social enterprise Hackney Herbal to curate a bespoke blend of teas and infusions to accompany all that nosh.
Afternoon tea at The Green Room. £30 per person/£40 with champagne.
Available: 1pm-4pm, Friday-Sunday
Crosstown Doughnut afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea
Doughnuts? Did someone say doughnuts? Crosstown Doughnuts teams up with Bluebird Chelsea for a floral afternoon tea, tying in with the Chelsea Flower Show. The three-tier afternoon tea is piled with Crosstown doughnut bites, cakes, scones and sandwiches, including red velvet and rose petal cupcakes and neroli blossom and strawberry macaroons. Centre stage is Crosstown's bespoke vegan orange blossom dough bite.
Choose from tea, coffee or champagne to wash it down.
Bluebird in Bloom afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea. £29.50 per person.
Available: 20-26 May 2019.
Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux Chelsea
Usually, afternoon tea is only served at the Soho branch of choux pastry bakery Maitre Choux — but to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, it's coming to the Flower Room of the King's Road branch.
They've certainly stuck to a theme, with Spanish raspberry pink éclairs, pink champagne, and a whole wall of pastel pink flowers — definitely one to book if you're as interested in photographing your food as you are eating it.
Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux, Chelsea. £22-£36 per person.
Available: 21-25 May 2019
Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea at Roast
Borough Market restaurant Roast launches an afternoon tea focusing on traditional British ingredients. The menu is subject to change due to its reliance on fresh, seasonal produce, but a sample includes coronation chicken and cucumber, cream cheese & mint sandwiches, scones with strawberry preserve, and Victoria sponge cake. Tuck in inside that gorgeous conservatory-like dining room overlooking the market.
British Afternoon Tea at Roast, Borough Market. £25 per person, or £30 per person with champagne.
Available: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-6pm
Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate, Old Street
Don't be misled by the name — you won't be making your own meal at the Afternoon Tea Academy. Instead, the team at the upmarket restaurant have worked with tea company P.M. David Silva & Sons to pair each tier of the traditional stand with a tea, and an expert is on hand throughout to talk through the pairings.
The food menu errs on the fancy side of traditional, with roast chicken, beetroot hummus and peppered beef pastrami sandwich fillings, buttermilk scones, and handmade pastries including rhubarb and custard mille-feuille.
Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate. £39-£49 per person.
Available: Selected dates from 11 May.
It's not brand new, but the Filipino Afternoon Tea at Romulo Cafe has only just come to our attention. It launched in March, designed for two people to share, and blends traditional English tea with Filipino twists — think Filipino style light brown, crumb-speckled buns, served with Cornish clotted cream and purple yam jam. The sweet section of the menu includes traditional Filipino dessert made with dulce de leche buttercream, cashews, chewy and sweet meringue, and a mango float.