Cafe Royal Afternoon Tea
Every time I enter Cafe Royal I get a little wave of excitement. Gliding through the restored historical entrance and into the informal (yet stunning) Ten Room, last week’s weekend visit was arranged to taste test their Savoury Afternoon Tea.

As their menu says, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James, Portrait of a Lady.

Kicking things off with a glass of Tattinger Champagne (darling), high tea officially starts with a plate of toasted crumpets, Ford Farm Cheddar cheese and celery followed by a second course of scrambled free range hen’s egg with London Cure smoked salmon. Though both plates were a welcome change from traditional teas, I know of no appetite that would be able to stomach all that was on offer (note: at this point, the ‘tea’ has yet to begin). Next visit, I will save myself for the big bang; the three-tiered afternoon tea.

Tier One features a selection of classic afternoon tea sandwiches (Wiltshire smoked ham and English mustard, London Cure smoked salmon and horseradish on rye, Free range hen’s egg and cress, and Cucumber and cream cheese) while tier two features freshly baked traditional plain or golden raisin scones served with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd.

By sweet-toothed standards, I highly recommend jumping from tier to tier so you don’t fill up before getting to the selection of speciality mini pastries and classic cakes. Either that, or continue drinking until you’re hungry again. You have my permission, lushes.

Cafe Royal Afternoon Tea
Cafe Royal Afternoon Tea
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Week on Instagram
Instagram (@lelalondon) – left to right, top to bottom:
1. Uh oh. Retro Lela is experiencing a rebirth.
2. Mall food. I kid you not. (This week’s Food for Thought at!)
3. Eye, eye.
4. Breakfast on the street in Paris. Had to get my Lavazza fix.
5. My new Lock Screen.
6. Sunday brunch.
7. You know. Heading in for the night shift.
8. The Manfriend’s bed buddy dripping at Wahaca.
9. Welcome to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych.
10. Manfriend and Mario Cacciottolo making sweet, sweet Parisian photo.

mad hatters afternoon tea
You’re late, you’re late, to find a very important date…and take them to this absolutely mad afternoon tea.

Last week I was invited to preview a rather tasty ‘Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea‘ at the stunning Royal Horseguards Hotel which was just as cute as it was delicious. Unlike your typical British afternoon tea, the Hourseguards’ faire included bubbling potions, white rabbits and edible chessboards.

The tea includes:
A selection of elegant finger sandwiches and savoury bites
Jam tarts with hearts (it rhymes!)
White rabbit coconut cupcakes
Pocket watch chocolate “thyme” torte (amazing, rich
A “Drink me” layered bubble shot
“Eat me” passion fizz cake
Chessboard Battenberg
Earl Grey white chocolate teacup
and Freshly baked scones, Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve

The Mad Hatter afternoon tea is available from today until the 7th of April for only £35 (or £12 per child under 12). Go, Alice…the Cheshire Cat is waiting.

mad hatters afternoon tea
mad hatters afternoon tea
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Instagram Blog
Instagram (@lelalondon) – left to right, top to bottom:
1. Loco for coconuts.
2. Oh snap. The snowfall returns.
3. Inappropriate outfit for snow.
4. Hello, my name is Lela and all I need in life is Kitchen W8 scallops.
5. Afternoon (tea) delight at Sofitel St James’ Rose Lounge.
6. Salted caramel. Kitchen W8. Full review on (click here).
7. Finishing up the red carpet project.
8. Notes to myself.
9. Addicted to the eggy bees.
10. When your dress is brighter than the lighting.

sketch london afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea at Sketch London

If you’re looking for an experiential afternoon tea in London, Sketchis your best bet. Though the downward dog who marks the restaurant on Conduit Street may be quirky, he (she?) is no match for the Wonderland inside.

Though there is an impeccable Gallery that hosts dinner service, the afternoon tea experience is set in a gothic indoor garden at the side. As someone who delights in aesthetic detail, the room was bewitching. Dramatically tall curtains separate the room from the rest of the venue, where the attention to detail drew me in: Victorian wall friezes, a chandelier of twisted branches, rotating mirrors that dance lights around the room….all this, and we haven’t even touched the food yet.

The Manfriend and I took our seats at a quaint corner table which faced a mirror. The ‘hidden’ concept worked fabulously for a date, as you could face the angled mirror and get a perfect view of your dining partner while sitting by their side. Intimate and – like everything, down to the menu being filled with illustrations from the 1902 Sears Roebuck catalogue – fantastically romantic.

After receiving two pots of flowering osmanthus tea, the main attraction made its entrance: three tiers of sweet and savoury culinary delights. The customary English scones were placed on a separate plate alongside a small pot of violet and bubblegum-flavoured marshmallows. Both ‘extras’ were indeed delicious, but only a small victory in a feast consisting of gold leaf-topped salted chocolate caramels, chill-sauced goat’s cheese, an incredible egg/quail egg/caviar sandwich, yuzu and macadamia tartlets, earl grey macarons, and much more. You could see my tummy smiling.

As a full experience, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The Manfriend, who has an aversion to seafood, would be apprehensive due to the lack of more neutral sandwich options. That is, of course, personal taste.

Oddly enough, I have to mention the bathroom before wrapping up the review. Trying to find it, I thought I was lost in what initially looks like a set from Space Odyssey. In actuality, a unisex room filled with egg-shaped pods and rainbow-hued stained glass is Sketch’s version of a powder room. If anything, it certainly gets points for originality. Much like the entire afternoon.

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