There are many afternoon teas in London, but they vary widely in quality. From themed teas that are more style than substance to those which just don't try hard enough, it’s a scone dotted minefield out there.
The Afternoon Tea Awards employed a panel of judges to selflessly eat their way through some of London's best teas in order to identify those that really are a cut above the rest.
We have our own ideas about what makes the perfect afternoon tea, but what did the judges decide? Here are the results:
Claridge's: Best Traditional Afternoon Tea
We can't argue with this choice. From the tea selection to the sandwiches and cakes, everything is perfect at Claridge's and… that room! The judges said of the tea, "an exceptional experience"; "staff were bubbly, enthusiastic and helpful… a relaxed and lively atmosphere, nothing stuffy and formal here"; "pastries were perfect in flavour, texture, and presentation".
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park: Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea
The judges said: "Lovely ambience. Spotless facilities, beautiful venue"; "staff were attentive and thoughtful throughout, giving wonderful recommendations and having clearly excellent knowledge and pride in the presentation of their product."; "Innovative sandwich presentation…delicate and intricate pastries."
Best Themed Afternoon Tea: Sanderson, Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea
The judges said: "This is how to run a themed afternoon tea"; "They surprised and enchanted me!", "Inventive, fun, tasty"; "Great fun! Excellent tea for small and big kids alike, theme is very, very well done!"
Best Family Friendly Afternoon Tea – Grosvenor House
The judges said: "The children's afternoon tea selection was cleverly designed."; "The service was attentive and well orchestrated. Our waitress was amazing, everything was served in perfect timing"; "Considering the generous table size, the friendly service, the quality of food and the location, Grosvenor House offers good value for money."
The judges also awarded the following 'Highly Commended' and 'Commended' certificates to recognise aspects of the afternoon tea service that exceeded their expectations:
Highly Commended: The Langham London; Fortnum & Mason; Harrods – Georgian Restaurant; Sketch; The Milestone Hotel; Brown's Hotel, Mayfair; The Connaught; The Goring; Royal Garden Hotel; Corinthia London; The Dorchester; Ting @ Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London; The Lanesborough; Conrad London St James.
Commended: The Landmark Hotel; The Montague on the Gardens; The Park Lane Hotel; The Wellesley; The Marylebone Hotel; The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel; One Aldwych; The Ritz; The Royal Horseguards; The Rubens at the Palace; BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.