We've rounded up our current favourite themed teas that will impress your clients
Immerse yourselves in Toad of Toad Hall’s whimsical world of yore
The bold decor in the Haymarket Hotel’s Brumus restaurant channels the same English eccentricity that animates Kenneth Grahame’s century-old children’s novel and Julian Fellowes’ hot-right-now, West End musical update. Overt theming for the limited-run Wind in the Willows afternoon tea is subtle: watercolour-style portraits of the main characters on the cupcakes; nostalgic images of our green and pleasant land on the iced sablé biscuits. That’s because the real theme is the experience itself. If Ratty, Mole and Toad were in town themselves, this is the place they’d come for cucumber sandwiches and a brew. When you’re done, you’re just a short walk to the Palladium for the show itself.
1 Suffolk Place, SW1Y 4HX | 020 7470 4007
A carnivorous affair at The Hippodrome Casino’s very own steakhouse
You’re not likely to find much tea up on the first-floor of this Leicester Square venue. It’s an option, sure, but you’ll probably be more inclined to try the boozy flights the restaurant has concocted to match the food for its MeaTea offering. Three beers, cocktails or wines, have been carefully considered to complement exec chef Ioannis Grammenos's delicate but meaty creations. The mini USDA burgers with truffle sauce were a worthy replacement for crustless cucumber sandwiches. So, not your everyday afternoon tea but, honestly, we loved it.
Cranbourn Street, WC2H 7JH | 0207 769 8888
The D&D restaurant’s new offering brings florals to Victoria’s glass jungle
Head chef Helena Puolakka’s Finnish heritage is the inspiration behind this recently launched menu. It’s her French training, however, that ties the more unusual combinations together. We particularly rate the Brixham white crab on sweet rye with elderflower mayo, while the smoked salmon with capers and rye is more classic and pretty to look at. The sweets are particularly interesting, with sea buckthorn macaron being a first for us, but it’s the orange blossom dark chocolate tart that really sings. The lack of scones is our only niggle.
150 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB | 020 3875 5555
Take your Mar-tea-ni alfresco on the Top 50 bar’s new terrace
In case you hadn’t clocked, the Melia White House’s signature afternoon tea comes with one of its Jing tea-inspired gin martinis. We went for The Lady in Grey (Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, earl grey tea syrup and absinthe) – luckily, there’s plenty of food to soak up the booze. Of the savouries, the aubergine on tomato brioche is a welcome change from the usual sandwiches, while the scones have been infused with lavender and green tea to match the brews on offer. The winning dessert has to be the chocolate martini mousse éclair – a grown-up twist on a classic.
Albany Street, NW1 3UP | 020 7391 3000
Quintessential British in sophisticated surrounds
For a classy afternoon, the best option is pinkies up in The Savoy’s elegant Thames Foyer. We loved its current summer offering, particularly the freshly baked scones smothered in zingy lemon curd, as well as the selection of delicate pastries like a rich coffee and hazelnut éclair. There’s a whole host of tea blends to choose from, and the live pianist is a nice touch too.
Strand, WC2R 0EU | 020 7836 4343
Photos: Red Photographic (The Savoy)
Need somewhere for entertaining a bigger group of clients? Take a look at these recently opened private dining rooms.