Good evening my lovelies, I hope you have all had an enjoyable weekend despite the unpredictable weather of storms or blazing sunshine! I find myself now choosing my outfits by considering this question: 'Can I quickly alter this outfit to look respectable with or without black tights??'
Anyway, over this weekend my lovely man decided to celebrate my completion of the NQT year by taking me to an afternoon tea that I had been harping on about going to for the past year - the Mad Hatter's Tea at The Sanderson Hotel near Oxford Circus.
Now, I am quite the Afternoon Tea fanatic! I am determined to make my way across as many afternoon tea locations as I can in my lifetime and I have made a decent dent so far with tea across a range of locations - The Ritz's famous Palm Court to Fortnum & Mason to Tiny Tim's Cafe in Canterbury. However, as much as I adore the traditional afternoon tea, I was desperate to attend the afternoon tea which is built entirely around one of my favourite books - Alice in Wonderland. This leads me onto the Mad Hatter's Tea...
The first thing I noticed about the Sanderson Hotel that despite it being a 5* hotel just off Oxford Circus, it had a really relaxed atmosphere - a change from some of the other afternoon teas I have had in London's top hotels which, as gorgeous as they are, can sometimes have the air that makes you feel you need to stand on ceremony. Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea was set up in a beautiful and tranquil conservatory/zen garden with a stone moat and water features which was elevated into a pure paradise with it being a sunny day in London.
I loved this little hanging wicker chair!
Once shown to our seats and we had a chance to admire the zebra plates and music sugar box, our waiter presented us with the four teas we could choose from in mini crystal decanter bottles - Rhubarb & Custard, Strawberries & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Apple Pie, followed by showing us the treats we were in for on a menu hidden in a vintage children's book:
After a lot of sniffing and having to make a hard choice, I opted for the Mint Chocolate Chip tea whereas my partner opted for Strawberries & Cream. It was a delicious tea with a lovely taste of fresh mint with a hint of chocolate and the pot was filled to the brim which stayed warm and lasted the entire time of our tea.
Now, the wait for the main event of the Afternoon Tea was upon us and it did not disappoint when it arrived with a beautiful array of sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats all looking like they had literally jumped out of Lewis Carrol's book themselves. So starting with the savouries:
I loved how the sandwiches were presented as pinwheels keeping in theme with a Mad Hatter's Party in the softest bread I have had in a while and that alongside your usual array of afternoon tea sandwiches, we were presented with a daily quiche (which tasted like a delicious Bolognese) and savoury cheese scones with herb butter. The sandwiches were your typical fillings but it was the bread that made them take a stand above the rest - egg mayonnaise in lemon bread, ham in tomato bread, and cucumber in spinach bread. After gorging ourselves on a second round of sandwiches, we moved onto the next and most important round of Afternoon Tea - the sweet treats:
Yum - just yum! Let's start with the sweet scones - your usual type with sultanas, strawberry preserve, and clotted cream. What was interesting about this afternoon tea was it offered mini sized scones which had a crumbly texture rather than full sized doughy scones which for me was a blessing in disguise otherwise I would not have made it through the rest of the cakes! Now despite only being offered two mini scones, you could order as many more as you could manage so you don't feel cheated at all. Next, it was onto the cakes - a Victoria sponge with an iced clock face, an edible chocolate tea cup filled with white chocolate and green tea mousse (very creamy), an extremely creamy cheesecake in a striped white chocolate casing with a mango puree in the middle, and carrots made of meringue with marshmallow mushrooms.
Now - what is the crucial element to an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea? The 'Drink Me' potion of course that allowed her through the locked door...
This particular concoction of the chefs at the Sanderson was one of the most spectacular pieces of the tea - it was made up of three layers so that as you drank your way through it tasted different after each sip... A real literary moment come to life! I won't spoil the surprise of the flavours but it was truly delicious!
The final element to the afternoon tea was the Jelly Wonderland - where there were three large jellies on a silver tray in which you were allowed to have as much jelly as you could manage (which was not much at this point!). The jellies on offer for us were made from real fruit puree/juice with the flavours of Green Apple, Strawberry, and a mix of Mango and Banana. It was a refreshing end after so much cake.
So that was it - after our two hour session of eating and drinking as much as we could, the boy and I waddled out for a wander round Oxford Circus to try and work off our big tea. If you are looking for an afternoon tea in London with a twist, I would certainly recommend The Sanderson even at the price of £38 per person.