Sunday 8 December 2013

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

In honour of me turning 30 and entering a new ‘grown-up’ stage of life (!) I decided to spend the weekend recapturing my youth!  To start with I met my ‘girls’ at for Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel just off Oxford Street.  I absolutely love Afternoon Tea (the best meal of the day, closely followed by brunch!) so was super excited to be going to such a notorious one.
 Having battled through the Christmas shoppers (and pausing to admire the Christmas lights) we arrived at the hotel, to be greeted by an eye-catching sofa in the shape of a massive pair lips!  We made our way to the dramatic and glowing Long Bar, where I was treated to a sparkling strawberry cocktail. 
 Then after wetting my lips we ‘tumbled down the rabbit hole’ to enjoy the wonderful world of the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.  Even the table setting was captivating – menus hidden inside vintage books, napkins wrapped in riddles plus quirky crockery including plates and cups with zebras, birdcages and clocks.

 After being welcomed to our tables and admiring all the displays (including a ballerina music box which sings ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’) we were given a selection of quirky teas to pick from - Mint Choc Chip, Apple Pie, Rhubarb and Custard and Strawberries and Cream.  You have the opportunity to smell all the delicious flavours  from miniature glass caddies before choosing – I went for the pleasantly sweet Strawberries and Cream.

  Our tea and bubbles arrived along with a feast of tasty treats!  The first to catch my eye was the three-tiered platter...on the top, in a tea cup were small carrot meringues surrounded by pea shoots and marshmallow mushrooms!  The ‘carrots’ were delicious – and fortunately I was warned by the waiter not to eat the ‘greenery’!

The second tier down housed a melting mango cheesecake and a ‘Tick Tock’ traditional Victoria sponge cake.  The cheesecake had a rainbow patterned white chocolate surround plus a liquid centre and the cake was deliciously light and creamy.

 The final layer consisted of a ‘drink me’ potion pot, a chocolate tea cup plus sweet and savoury scones!  The potion pot had three layers which you drank through a tiny straw working your way through passion fruit jelly, coconut panna cotta and a tropical fruit foam – absolutely delicious and an exciting way to taste all the flavours.  The chocolate tea cup was actually made from dark chocolate (!) and filled with a green tea and white chocolate mousse topped with surprising popping candy!  The savoury scone (olive flavoured) was very tasty too.

And in case that wasn’t enough food, we also had mini quiches and four sandwiches - smoked Cumbrian ham with wholegrain mustard on sun-dried tomato bread, cucumber and chive cream cheese on spinach bread, smoked salmon and lemon butter on rye bread and egg mayonnaise with watercress on lemon bread.  All were very yummy!
 I’d managed to try everything, by not actually finishing anything as there was so much food on offer – an absolute joy since often I come away from an Afternoon Tea still a little peckish!  Then to finish off, we visited the ‘Jelly Wonderland’ in the Courtyard Garden– not really anything more than a cake trolley with four different flavours on top – none of which were actually that nice in taste or texture!

Overall a completely delicious and eccentric indulgence and I would absolutely recommend a visit!  Prices start from a very reasonable £38 per person.

We kept the indulgence theme going by heading onto Drury Lane, via Covent Garden, to watch 'Charlie &The Chocolate Factory', munching on a cheeky Wonka Bar during the interval (unfortunately no golden ticket was hidden inside!)

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