The striking eight-storey ‘vertical garden’ that climbs up one wall was the inspiration behind the Athenaeum’s ‘evergreen tea’, winner of the Tea Guild’s ‘Top London Afternoon Tea’ in 2012. Served in the tasteful, intimate Garden Room, the floral theme is never overplayed; it simply adds a delightful, even feminine charm to proceedings. Champagne is finished with rose and strawberry; the scones scented with orange blossom; the fairy cakes garnished with sugar flowers. A second themed menu, the Regent’s Park ‘honey’ version (£39), is also available. The tea selection is excellent, spanning everything from top-drawer classics such as Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling and rare Keemun hao-ya ‘A’ to a jet-lag banishing ‘wellness’ brew. Note that there are three sittings, and reservations are strongly encouraged – call five weeks ahead for a weekend slot.
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