As afternoon tea is a time-honoured tradition, it only makes sense to indulge yourself over one in a fittingly historic setting. And, if authenticity is what you're looking for, there's nowhere quite as perfect as the former home of an influential Georgian family, The Zetter Townhouse.
Back in the 18th-century, this beautiful Clerkenwell townhouse belonged to the Zetters, factory-owners and socialites in London. The house and the family's wealth was inherited by their daughter, Wilhelmina, who instead of settling down (as was the norm at the time), spent her inheritance on seeing the world, adventuring to new countries and bringing back treasures from her travels.
Her townhouse became a shrine to the cultures she visited, decorated with artworks, furniture and artefacts from around the world. She was also a wicked hostess, and had a reputation for throwing debauchorous soirees which would go on long into the night. Now, The Zetter Townhouse reflects her flamboyant taste both with its quirky decor and private dining spaces.
The Zetter Townhouse doesn't have a fully-working kitchen but as the current owners say, afternoon tea was always a treasured ritual for the Zetters, and so it's important to them that guests can still enjoy it today. Afternoon tea is served Saturdays and Sundays from midday to 4.30pm and is seperated into two sections - favourites of Wilhelmina's or those of her nephew's, Seymour.
It is playfully suggested that Wilhelmina's most-loved sandwiches were St Ewe egg, cress and truffle, roast chicken with smoked sweetcorn and tarragon, and smoked salmon with lavender and cucumber. While Seymour had a penchant for pea and ham croquettes, truffled sausage rolls and salmon and asparagus vol au vents. Of course, it's unlikely that these were the actual recipes they dined on, but when they sound that good, we're more than happy to go along with it.
Next up are the sweets with cherry blossom Opera cake, Granny Smith entremets and an espresso martini macaroon, alongside plain and raisin spiced scones, served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Guests are welcome to enjoy these treats with a cup of tea, bubbles or specialty cocktails for an extra kick.