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London’s hotel afternoon teas get creative.

by Laura on April 11, 2014

Pret-A-Portea at The Berkeley, Autumn/Winter 2013

After looking at St Martins Lane’s Asian and Cuban inspired Cafecito Afternoon Tea, I began wondering who else was getting creative with their afternoon tea menus. While there are endless places to go in London for a traditional menu, with the usual scones and cucumber sandwiches, you need to look a bit harder if you want something that dares to break the boundaries. It turns out there are several establishments willing to steer away from tradition and give something new a try.

The Berkeley serves an afternoon tea fit for fashionistas, which also doubles up as a delight for pun-lovers with its name: Prêt-à-Portea…

Check rates at The Berkeley

Pret-A-Portea at The Berkeley, Autumn/Winter 2013

Crafted to reflect current trends in the fashion world, the menu is changed every six months to ensure it remains up-to-date and cutting edge. The ‘Autumn/Winter Collection 2013/14′ includes a Burberry trench coat ginger biscuit, an Emporio Armani cassis mousse with Curacao jelly and a Saint Laurent ‘Classic Duffle 6′ Victoria sponge cake bag. All served on Wedgwood china exclusive to Prêt-à-Portea, of course. With savoury options, a selection of teas, cocktails and champagne available along with the sweet treats, this has to be one of the most fashionable afternoon teas available in London. I can’t wait to see the spring collection!

The Sanderson Hotel’s Mad Hatter’s Tea got a brief mention in our St Martins Lane post, as both hotels are owned by Morgans Hotel Group and both of their afternoon teas were created in partnership with Luna & Curious, who provide the unique crockery…

Check rates at The Sanderson

sanderson afternoon tea

While Cafecito is an afternoon tea to transport you around the world, the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is designed to take you to another world entirely. Sure to delight Alice in Wonderland fans, the teapots feature kings and queens, while zebras, birds, clocks and carousels play over plates and cups. The menu includes such treats as marshmallow mushrooms, a Victoria sponge clock and ‘Jelly Wonderland’ – a selection of jellies made in Victorian moulds. It’s just a shame that fancy dress isn’t allowed!

Oxo Tower’s Not Afternoon Tea isn’t served in a hotel, but the building is conveniently located for citizenM Bankside. It claims to be “strictly NOT your standard Afternoon Tea, the delicious alternative to soggy sandwiches and stale scones”…

oxo not afternoon tea

You could certainly argue that if all you’ve been getting is soggy sandwiches and stale scones, you’ve been going to the wrong place for afternoon tea (perhaps next time it might be best to check our top 10 afternoon teas first), but let’s imagine that afternoon tea needs to be radically shaken up. What makes Not Afternoon Tea so different?

Well, very little focus on tea for starters. Each of the specially designed plates comes with a cocktail instead, though you can have tea or coffee with the ‘I Believe in Pink’ experience. There is one thing that’s all about tea, and that’s the ‘Cup of Tea’ plate, which features all things tea inspired, from Earl Grey honey cake and Darjeeling panacotta, to the ‘Marmaduke’ cocktail made with Earl Grey and Chase Marmalade vodka.

These menus certainly make for something different, so if the usual fare doesn’t do it for you, you can be safe in the knowledge that there are afternoon tea alternatives, designed to make teatime a bit more exciting.

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Photo credits: The Berkeley, Sanderson Hotel, Harvey Nichols.

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April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

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