OK, so the small people might not have yet made it to a British Seaside in their lives, but they can strike another traditionally English thing off their rightful citizenship list (if they have one!) – Afternoon Tea in a swanky London hotel. You can’t get more English than that can you? Even if this version is slightly off the traditional mark.
To be honest, this is something we probably should have experienced at the Royal Garden Hotel where we were staying (they were hosting a fantastic Wimbledon themed tea at the time) but The Small Girl has friends who had been “down the rabbit hole” at The Sanderson, and having completely captured her imagination, the Mad Hatter’s Tea was the only version she dreamt about.
The Sanderson is in a great part of Soho, surrounded by lots of creative media type offices (including my old firm who typically waited until I left to move somewhere really fun. Although thinking about it, my bank balance is probably pleased about that!), and, as you might expect for such a location this hotel is effortlessly cool. The reception area is vast and full of iconic chairs, whilst the stylish Long Bar is indeed one of the longest I have seen with a counter top crowded with every type of bottle imaginable. Next time. Next time…
Shown to our table, we were presented with a vintage book cleverly containing the menu. Not that you really have much of a choice about what you will be getting, this is pretty much a set menu – but it describes what you are about to eat, and what choices of tea are available – both the traditional, and the not so – Chocolate & Mint, and Apple & Strawberry sit beside the Assams and Darjeelings…
And once tea was selected and served (in some pretty funky crockery!) then it was time for the big occasion itself, with a selection of traditional sandwiches on various breads (ham, salmon and egg), carrot shaped and strawberry flavoured toadstool marshmallows, a variety of imaginative (and incredibly tasty cakes), scones both savoury and sweet (which my two don’t actually like – maybe they are not that English after all – more for us!), quiches, tiny bottles containing passion fruit smoothies labelled “drink me” and (a very rare at the moment) glass of champers for the grown ups…
And if and when you run out and find yourself still peckish? Just find your waiter and order some more of what you fancy, or choose a fruit jelly from the trolley where jellies in a spectrum of colours are made in Victorian moulds.
We loved: The tea, the champagne (of course!) and in particular the savouries and the scones. The Victorian sponge clock cake was also delicious, as was the mango cake. The service was excellent and professional, and the balance was right in that without getting the feeling that you were being watched the waiters seemed to know when to appear.
We weren’t so keen on: the matcha chocolate tea-cup which was overly sickly, but that’s a matter of taste of course. Our main complaint? Being automatically seated outside on what was a particularly cold and at times drizzly English summer’s day. Do check where you are seated when you make a reservation or you might find yourself praying you tumble down a rabbit hole for some warmth alone.
Having said all that, whilst personally I think I might be a traditionalist when it comes to afternoon tea, it was a great child friendly introduction to for the Small People to this English ritual, and I know they had no complaints about it whatsoever. 7/10
The Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG (£30 for children, £48 for adults including a glass of champagne!)
lisa prince says
oh wow i love the look of this loving that zebra set wonder where i can get one for myself x
I think you can order them but a complete set costs around £500 or something like that. Not one I would let the children near! :D
Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely says
The crockery!! I love the zebra plate and cup and saucer. I love afternoon tea but never really the sandwiches. I wish they weren’t quite so traditional. I’m sure they could do more and better with them.
It’s lovely isn’t it? I think a full set sells for about £500! :D Re. the sandwiches – I know. Sometimes I want to make them myself!! :D
Leslie Halladay says
Afternoon Tea is my favorite thing to do in London! I love the crockery…looks very funky.
Leslie, I know you would like this. Just make sure you are booked inside (although I don’t think that would be an issue at the moment!)… :)
Oh now that looks like a yummy afternoon tea. I love the crown on the tea pot!
Gorgeous isn’t it? Thanks Rachel! :)
Charly Dove says
Oh wow Emma this looks utterly fabulous. We love Alice in Wonderland here and those cakes look amazing. Rather lovely crockery too. I’d definitely want to be inside!
I would recommend it, but just ask about where you are sitting! Thanks Charlie! :)
I do love the idea of a Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea and the cakes look lovely, but I don’t think I’d be very keen on sitting outside either, especially not for those prices.
What a wonderful experience though. x
It was a really memorable afternoon. Thanks Emma (:
Mary Louise says
I am a bit of a champagne brat and have experienced the long bar many times. I have never tried the afternoon tea. It looks like a lovely treat and now i know it comes with a glass of fizz i do hope to try it very soon! x
See if I wasn’t in my current state, the Long Bar would have been my “dessert of choice” for afterwards! :D Thank you!
The Sanderson Hotel is one of my favourites in London, it is so beautiful. Ive never had afternoon tea there though and this looks amazing x
Then you must! I think you would love it! Thanks Rachel! :)
I do the great british seaside all the time but have never done afternoon tea. It looks lovely apart from being seated outside in the awful british weather we seem to be having this year
We have been having the most awful heatwave so I have been quite jealous of it mostly! :D Thanks Kara! :)
Wow this looks amazing!
Thank you Gemma! :)
Kate Williams says
Oh that looks amazing! I would totally struggle with being sat outside though – can’t cope with the cold at all!!
It’s just a shame as it would have been gorgeous had it been a little warmer and sunnier! :D Thanks Kate
Mums do travel says
This looks really fun. It all looks delicious and I love the design of the crockery and the quirky touches like the bottles. What a shame that you were seated outside though!
Thanks Gretta. I know, it would have been nice to have been given some choice in the matter…
JuggleMum, Nadine Hill says
I love the way this was presented to you.
Beautiful presentation isn’t it? Thanks Nadine.
Oh wow how cool is that. I love the detail on the crockery.
Thank you J. :)
This looks amazing and I love love love those zebra plates x
Thanks Cass! (:
Wow this looks so quirky – and delicious! This is the kind of thing I would love, lucky you :)
Quirky is definitely a good way to describe it! Thanks Andrea! :)
Sarah Bailey says
Oh my goodness what an adorable looking place to have some afternoon tea – I love the plates. x
Thanks Sarah! The plates are amazing aren’t they? :)
Wow that looks like an amazing afternoon tea! Will be sure to add this to my London wishlist! Looks fab xx
Definitely one to add to the list! Thanks Sonia! :)
Oh wow what attention to detail! I love the theme and of course the food – nom! Shame about the seating x
That really was the only minor down point. Thanks Annie x