Criterion (afternoon tea)

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Square Meal Review of Criterion (afternoon tea) ?

With its throngs of touts and neon-backpacked teen tourists, Piccadilly Circus may be the curmudgeonly Londoner’s worst nightmare, but it does have one wonderful thing going for it – the gloriously OTT, neo-Byzantine Criterion. Dating back to 1873, there simply isn’t another restaurant in town that can match this listed space for gold, gilt, marble, mirrors, velvet and pure drama. Given the glitz, it’s a welcome surprise to find afternoon tea so affordable; £19.95 or £27.95 (with fizz) is a steal for such a setting. It’s served over two sittings (2.30pm and 4pm), when the Twinings tea flows and imaginative culinary creations ranging from cheese and bacon scones with brown sauce to tequila pannacotta with blackcurrant and lime nestle on the cake stand, alongside more mainstream Cheddar and pickle sandwiches or banana and caramel cupcakes.

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