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finger sandwiches

Afternoon tea, Hotels, Hotels - Design, Hotels - Luxury, London

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea At Sanderson London

Mad Hatter’s Tea at Sanderson is one of the most inventive and popular afternoon teas in London.  I tried and loved the classic Mad Hatter’s Tea during a staycation at Sanderson and last week I was delighted to return and try the brand new afternoon tea, curated by Luna & Curious, who present the hotel’s super stylish gift shop.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea is served daily in the courtyard garden, but don’t be put off by the cold weather, as the terrace is fully covered and the powerful heater lamps keep it warm and toasty.

We started with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne and selected our tea from tiny glass bottles filled with loose leaf tea to help you make a decision.  We went for a pot of fragrant Earl Grey and later tried a delicious pot of rhubarb and custard tea, which I would recommend for something a little different.

Our spectacular three-tier stand came laden with decadent, colourful treats and our lovely waitress explained the tea in detail.  The Mad Hatter also stopped by with a looking glass, naturally.

We started with a selection of sandwiches on flavoured breads inventively rolled with swirls of fillings including Smoked Cumbrian ham with wholegrain mustard, cucumber and chive cream cheese, cold smoked salmon and lemon butter and egg mayonnaise with watercress and smoked sea salt.

What I love about tea at Sanderson is that they ask about any dietary requirements or preferences before serving the tea.  With the previous tea, I was unable to eat the Chocolate Opera cake due to my allergy to coffee, so unexpectedly the chef made me a brand new coffee-free cake.  There is no coffee included in the new tea, but I was happy to be brought a plate of just Cumbrian ham and wholegrain mustard sandwiches all to myself.

Savoury scones served with herb butter, alongside the traditional sweet scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, were a great addition and I loved the dainty, mini asparagus quiches.

Then, it was on to the sweets, starting with the ‘Drink Me’ Potion – a tiny bottle filled with three sweet, fruity layers of passion fruit jelly, creamy coconut and banana purée.  The melting mango cheesecake was enveloped in striped white chocolate in a teardrop shape, with a cool, creamy cheesecake filling, hiding a gooey yolk of fresh mango purée.  The ’Tick Tock’ traditional Victoria sponge featured sweet strawberry jam and vanilla creme packed densely between layers of fine sponge and iced with a clock design on top.

The matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse served in a chocolate tea cup was lightly whipped and the two flavours were a great combination.  By this point, I was almost delirious from the sugary treats, but still found some room for a scrumptious Carrot meringue served on a bed of pea shoots and a ’Strawberries and cream’ homemade marshmallow mushroom.

As covetable as the tea itself are the creative accessories.  Luna & Curious have created bespoke monochrome crockery specially for the afternoon tea with a carnival theme.  The menu is hidden inside a vintage novel – we were given The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – so you can remind yourself of the flavours and get inspired with a few chapters of a classic.  The surreal, literary Alice in Wonderland theme continues with napkins wrapped with riddles and sugar cubes stacked inside a pretty ballerina music box.

Not to be overlooked is the fabulous Jelly Wonderland - fruit jellies made in Victorian jelly moulds and presented on a Philippe Starck cake trolley.  The colourful jellies are made with real fruit, so they aren’t overly sweet and have a more palatable texture than regular jelly.  I can’t think of another London afternoon tea offering this (only perhaps at a Bompass & Parr tea party), so Sanderson is leading a trend with its jelly trolley.  I particularly liked the green apple, blackcurrant and strawberry flavours.

The new Mad Hatter’s Tea at Sanderson is as imaginative, fun and memorable as ever.  It’s definitely more on the sweet side than most afternoon teas I’ve tried in London, so be prepared to leave in a sugar coma.  Down the rabbit hole of the Sanderson is the perfect place to spend an afternoon and let the clocks spin backwards.

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is priced at £35 per person.  Champagne afternoon tea with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne is £45 per person.

For more information and booking, visit: www.morganshotelgroup.com

Chérie City was a guest of Sanderson

All photos by Chérie City

Afternoon tea, London

Afternoon Tea at Cafe Luc

On a dreary winter’s day in London, there’s nothing better than reconnecting with your inner Marie-Antoinette and escaping the chill over a warming pot of tea and decadent tiers of afternoon treats.

Marylebone Belgian brasserie Cafe Luc takes the quintessential English afternoon tea and gives it a French twist with tea from Mariage Frères and delectable pâtisserie.

Curled up in one of Cafe Luc’s cosy booths, we started by selecting a pot of tea from extensive menu.

I went for a pot of Mariage Frères Marco Polo, which came in an elegant black and gold teapot (Mariage Frères signature colours) and was lightly fragrant and fruity.

Then we were served a cake stand laden with delicious savoury and sweet delights.

To start there was a selection of delicate, perfectly cut finger sandwiches filled with cucumber, smoked salmon or egg and cress.

Then came the scones fresh from the oven and served with home-made raspberry and strawberry compote and a bowl of clotted cream.

The plain and fruit scones were golden brown on the outside and cracked to reveal a soft, dense and moist centre.

To finish off the afternoon of indulgence, there was a refreshing, smooth tartelette au citron and a rich, heavenly tartelette au chocolat.

Not to be outdone, we found some room for the adorable palmier biscuits – buttery and crisp topped with crunchy sugar.

Cafe Luc understand the value of the small touches and Marylebone’s Frenchies will be delighted to find Mariage Frères tea, without having to make a Eurostar trip.

At just £17.95 for two people, Cafe Luc’s afternoon tea really is extremely good value for money.

With such excellent service and head chef David Collard’s exquisite pâtisserie, Cafe Luc offers affordable luxury, so you can treat and impress without spending a fortune.

It’s a relaxed and intimate alternative to the deluxe hotel afternoon teas with the chic atmosphere of a Parisian Grand Cafe – where better to spend an afternoon?

For more info and booking, visit: www.cafeluc.com

Photos by Chérie City.

Chérie City was a guest of Cafe Luc.

Cafe Luc on Urbanspoon

Afternoon tea, London, Restaurants

Cafe Luc £1 January Sale

Cafe Luc, Marylebone’s Belgian neighbourhood restaurant, is hosting another insanely popular £1 sale in January, to extend the festive cheer a little bit longer.

For just £1, you can choose from their indulgent set menu, created by head chef David Collard, for lunch or dinner:

Starters

Celeriac Velouté and truffle oil

Terrine of Persillé, mushrooms a la Grecque

Chicory salad with blue stilton, pear and walnut vinaigrette

Mains

Pan fried Gnocchi with butternut squash, sage and Parmesan

Fillet of gurnard, potato, leek, shellfish stock

Steak with peppercorn sauce, pommes frites

Desserts

Cheesecake with raspberry coulis

Apple crumble with vanilla ice cream

Bitter chocolate mousse with orange sauce

As if that wasn’t enough, you can also enter to WIN a delicious £1 Afternoon Tea which includes: Finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, hazelnut financier, tartelette au chocolat, tartelette au citron, served with Mariage Frères tea.

Cafe Luc is just exceptional, from the beautifully cooked dishes to the attentive, charming staff and warm atmosphere.  Read more about my visit to Cafe Luc earlier this year and you’ll be convinced!

To find out when to book – subscribe to the mailing list at www.cafeluc.com ,join their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and all will be revealed early in the New Year…

Terms and Conditions

- One £1 booking per table/per person

- £1 deal is only valid for the £1 menu

- Online bookings only – Successful applicants will be notified by email

- You are only entitled to the £1 set menu if you receive a confirmation

- £1 bookings are only valid during the period of 7th January to 7th February 2011

- The date of your £1 booking cannot be changed

-15 £1 meals available per day

Afternoon tea, Hotels - Luxury, London

Winter Tea at The Goring

This week I was invited to join The Goring’s centenary celebrations and sample their brand new Winter Tea.

Tucked away in prestigious Belgravia, The Goring is London’s oldest privately owned hotel, now run by Jeremy Goring, the fourth Goring at the helm of The Queen Mother’s favourite hotel.

Perfecting the quintessential English afternoon tea for 100 years, The Goring has been the proud bearer of the Tea Guild’s Award of Excellence for two years running.  So of course, expectations were high!

The new Winter Tea is served in the Lounge and Terrace, a club-style lounge with warming log fire adjoining a classic yellow-hued salon overlooking the hotel’s private gardens.

We started by choosing a tea from The Goring’s extensive tea menu including a fragrant Earl Grey and delicate floral tea such as Jasmine or Rosebud tea.

I absolutely adored The Goring’s sunshine yellow and gold china and noticed that you can actually buy the dinner service in the reception.

Then came a large glass of The Goring’s special centenary Ayala champagne – a crisp, soft and rounded champagne that complemented the tea.

The tiered plates of treats began with a generous selection of finger sandwiches – egg mayonnaise with watercress, smoked salmon, coronation chicken, guinea fowl and wild mushroom.

The sandwiches are classic but with an interesting seasonal game addition of guinea fowl and wild mushroom.

These were followed by delicious, freshly baked fruit scones and plain scones served with clotted cream, strawberry and raspberry jam.

The real excitement came with the top tier of decadent pastries.  My favourite was the bubblegum meringue – a delicate pastel pink meringue that cracked to reveal oozing vanilla pastry cream and really did taste just like bubblegum.

The peanut and chocolate caramel slice was creamy and delicious and the plum and almond tart showed off the talents of the pastry chefs.

Other scrumptious cakes included a home-made Jaffa Cake, hazelnut and jam sandwich and a festive mulled wine and pear jelly with cinnamon cream.

The Goring’s charm lies in maintaining its proud heritage matched with a warm family atmosphere, unpretentious but attentive service and a passion for high quality, seasonal food.

The Winter Tea at The Goring is the perfect balance between lavish teas at the palace hotels and the more contemporary fashion or themed teas – classic with an interesting twist.

The Goring’s Winter Tea is served from 3-5pm daily and is priced at £34 per person (£45 with a glass of Ayala).

The Winter Tea is available from November 2010 – February 2011 at The Goring, Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW.  To book a table, contact (020) 7396 9000.

* Chérie City was a guest of The Goring.