home house afternoon tea london
The never-ending stream of ‘National’ days and weeks that PRs seem to throw around the Twittersphere has me wildly disconnected. A little petulant, truth be told. I refuse to eat burgers on National Burger Day. I refuse to relax on National Relaxation Day. I may even go as far as supergluing my mouth shut on National Smile Day.

The exception was always going to be National Afternoon Tea Week. The one I’m currently clotted cream-ing our way through. I take afternoon tea unnecessarily seriously.

With a friend was in town and on the hunt for her first taste of British teatime, I had to go heritage. Home House‘s English Country Garden Afternoon Tea heritage.

The jaw-droppingly beautiful member’s club and hotel shook their afternoon tea menu up to incorporate country garden themes right on time. We booked in, skipped up Robert Adam’s opulent staircase, and settled in to their neo-classical Drawing Room with a glass of Moët & Chandon for the quintessential afternoon tea.

Simply heightening the traditional, we started with a sandwich selection of roast beef & horseradish on onion bread, smoked salmon & cream cheese on granary, cucumber & cream cheese on white, and cressed-up wholegrain egg mayo on white.

The fresh scones – with plenty of clotted cream and jam – were next, riding on a Darjeeling sea that led to spectacular dessert plates. While I rarely take more than a bite of teatime’s sweet treats, the mini Pimms trifle, Eton Mess meringue sphere, cherry & chocolate dacquoise, honey & thyme mousse sable, violet & blackberry open macaron, and raspberry & rose tartlet vanished within minutes.

If you’re looking for a traditional tea that won’t disappoint, I couldn’t think of a better spot to settle in for the afternoon.

home house afternoon tea london
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little nans afternoon tea 9
Over the last few months, I have bored everyone to death with my constant praise of Little Nan’s Rio Bar (remember?).

The underground bar is the stuff of 90s childhood dreams and has proved to be endlessly fun every visit; teapot cocktails, a garish & prop-heavy photo booth room, the Millenial throwback playlist, free pick ‘n’ mix, popcorn…

…and now, afternoon tea.

The teas aren’t an everyday option (they announce them on their website/social and mostly occur on Saturdays) but are well worth keeping an eye out. Once cozied up in their unseemly lounge furniture (all part of the charm), £25 will afford you a selection of sandwiches (smoked salmon & cream cheese, egg mayo, ham & mustard, and jam & veggie), home-baked scones, and mini pastries before snapping your waistband with an enormous slice of Victoria Sponge. Teapot cocktails included.

If you are looking for an afternoon tea a little less “using the right spoon” and a little more “forming a conga line to My Heart Will Go On with anyone that will join” (true story), Little Nan’s is your girl.

little nans afternoon tea 4
little nans afternoon tea 7
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street food afternoon tea
Where does one take a long-lost lady friend from Indiana when she arrives in London for the first time? To afternoon tea, of course.

Not your typical scones ‘n’ Earl Grey afternoon tea, either. Last week I introduced the aforementioned lady love to both afternoon tea and London street food by taking her to The Arch for their new Street Food Afternoon Tea.

Instead of tiered plates of polite nibbles, The Arch serves up a slew of multicultural slabs. The savouries include mini cheeseburgers with onion marmalade in brioche, mini scotch eggs with piccalilli, chicken satay, mini fish & chips, and little smoked chicken, chilli, avocado and mango tortillas.

Paired with tea-infused cocktails, they went down a storm.

The second slab – the sweet treats – included warm cinnamon & sugar doughnuts filled with apple jam, homemade macarons, mini coffee eclairs, strawberry & pistachio tarts, a mini raspberry victoria sponge cake, and a lemon & mango rice pudding with toasted coconut.

Tucked inside one of the curtained booths of The Arch’s Salon de Champagne lounge, I felt this afternoon tea experience really stood out in a sea of sub-par and overpriced sandwiches.

street food afternoon tea
street food afternoon tea
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alexander mcqueen afternoon tea
It was deja vu all over again.

Booked in for The Kensington Hotel’s ‘Fashion Forward’ Alexander McQueen afternoon tea on intrigued designer fandom alone, I got goosebumps as soon as Google Maps landed me at the hotel’s doorsteps.

This was the place I fell in love with afternoon tea.

It was many years ago. It was the scone quality I still base all scones on. It was the name of a hotel I hadn’t yet trained myself to make notes on.

My favourite afternoon tea and my favourite designer in one collaborative package? Intrigue turned into hysterical excitement faster than I could stutter “You will never believe this…” to my bemused guest.

Taken through the wonderfully familiar and decadent rooms of The Kensington, we were seated in the tea’s dedicated chambers and poured a pot of fresh mint tea and glass of bubbly in succession.

I’m not going to hold back, kids. This was the best afternoon tea of my life.

In addition to a selection of fresh, crustless finger sandwiches, the specialist savouries took over a tier of their own: a moreish Dorset crab and artichoke cocktail,
a surprisingly light foie gras cornet with mango, and a gold quails eggs with celery salt and mustard cress.

But the McQueen-esque innovation didn’t stop at savouries. After taking a little longer than acceptable to swoon over the homemade scones (perfect – just as I remembered), we licked our clotted creams dry and moved to the top tier.

This section was heaving with carefully considered sweets; buttermilk pannacotta with raspberry, a marzipan sable, a raspberry & red pepper macaron, a cherry Genoese skull clutch, and the big kahuna – a red velvet & rose water cake inspired by McQueen’s A/W 2008 collaboration with Philip Treacy. Edible butterflies and all.

There is no way I’m losing track of this hotel again.

afternoon tea
alexander mcqueen afternoon tea
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k west afternoon tea
For those of you who love afternoon tea with a theme, the Spring Rocks afternoon tea at K West Hotel & Spa is well overdue a visit. Launched over Easer, the tea gained fast infamousity by turning our nation’s beloved Creme Egg into a Creme Egg Burger.

Stocks willing, this is still one place you can get your Creme Egg fix while the shops run dry.

Settling into Studio Kitchen (K West’s informal but gorgeous eatery), my hungry guest and I swooned over the table settings (major points for Blondie and Beatles vinyl covers as placemats) before ordering cocktails.

It’s a rock ‘n’ roll themed tea, guys. Totally necessary.

Shortly thereafter, the ultraviolet tiers of treats arrived: perfect little hot dogs, savoury sliders, mini Hot Cross Buns, quail egg Scotch Eggs, strawberry tarts, scones, pure almond macarons, salmon and cream cheese fingers…even sprinkle-topped chocolate pops.

Not forgetting the Creme Egg Burgers, of course. Each burger was made from a sweet brioche bun dipped in white chocolate and gooey Creme Egg filling with mascarpone and strawberry jelly. Sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, to boot. I feel mostly impartial towards Creme Eggs (I know! I know! I swear I’m British!) but adored the eclair-esque results of the chefs’ innovative imagination.

k west afternoon tea
k west afternoon tea
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