Afternoon teas sure have moved on since the Downton days. Back then it was all crustless cucumber sandwiches, piping hot tea, and more manners than you could squeeze into a corset (or so Dame Maggie Smith’s character would have us believe).

Fast forward to current times, and the quintessential Afternoon Tea has been given more twists than a helter-skelter caught up in a Kansas hurricane. Whether it’s a unique theme, a memorable setting, or a creative way to eat your bite-sized nibbles, then you’ll be amazed at the various ways you can indulge in some Afternoon delight.

TEA TOTAL at The Perception at W London

What’s the lowdown?

Iconic tea-time classics, experiential English-garden-inspired sweet creations and… crystallised shots? Sounds just on the right side of random for us to investigate.

Insta-attraction:

Presented in a sleek box complete with pull-out draws and hidden doors, guests will be encouraged to discover the mouth-watering creations one-by-one. It’s like one of those old fashioned jewellery boxes… but with cakes instead of accessories. And we’re fine with that.

Cocktail o’ clock:

Each of the unique sweets pairs with a different cocktail shot – so behind one door you might discover the Spring Planter, a mint-chocolate mousse-filled flower pot with popping candy dirt and sprouting micro cress, that matches with the Banana Republic shot containing Belvedere Vodka, sage, lime, apricot jam, cinnamon and banana. Other mini mixology masterpieces include the gin and Violette liqueur-based Purple Rain, and the Pull the Pin, made with Patrón Silver tequila, Aperol, maraschino, British strawberry and lime.

Soaking up the sauce:

The highlights are surely the innovative nibbles that pair with each shot (we adore the sound of the Every Cloud, a playful variation on the popular carrot cake, infused with cardamom and sandwiched between two fluffy meringue clouds) – but that’s not all! Waiting in the remaining draws are buttery raisin scones served with traditional clotted cream and tart strawberry jam, as well as a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly prepared on tasty hazelnut and apricot sourdough and cranberry and onion bread.

Info:

TEA TOTAL is served daily in The Perception from 1pm-5pm for £37 per person, or alternatively £42 per person including a glass of Prosecco.

theperceptionbar.com/


‘Afternoon Par-Tea’ from Cocktail Trading Co

What’s the lowdown?

Things that make us happy = cocktails. And cake. And singing at the top of our lungs. Well thank you Cocktail Trading Co, for making our wishes come true with this cocktail and cake-driven singalong bonanza, enjoyed to the backdrop of live rockabilly pop covers.

Insta-attraction:

Cocktail Trading Co are known for producing some of the most imaginative and aesthetically pleasing libations out there, and this event is no exception. Presented on the classic cake stand with a punch bowl never far away, it’s the cocktails themselves that are the stars of the show. For example the Shake and Bake (Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, almond-mandarin sherbet and bitters), is shaken and served on the rocks, then garnished with a Mr Kipling finger cake. Gorgeous.

Cocktail o’ clock:

Other notable Afternoon Tea tipples include the Afternoon Mar-Tea-ni (Bombay Sapphire Gin, blackcurrant jam and egg white, shaken and topped with bubbly then served straight up in a Champagne flute) and the Cucumber Manwich (Green tea-infused Bombay Sapphire Gin, cucumber and Galia melon juice served long with Suze bitters and a solid spritz of bubbles).

Soaking up the sauce:

No tea party would be complete without the original tea-time treats featuring an assortment of mini finger sandwiches and quality hand-baked cakes. And of course you’ll also be singing along to some of pop’s greatest tunes, as you’ll be entertained by professional musicians who will be on hand to deliver your favourite tracks, procured through each table’s song request book.

Info:

1-3pm on the first and last Saturday of each month.

Tickets £35 per person.

thecocktailtradingco.co.uk


MarTEAni at DUKES LONDON

What’s the lowdown?

A trio of Martinis – all before 6pm? Sounds like a recipe for rather a woozy afternoon. But fear not, because these three East India Company Gin cocktails are of the delightfully miniature variety. Enough to get a real taste of the careful mixology magic that’s gone into each of them, but not enough to floor you.

Cocktail o’ clock:

This is DUKES hotel, home of the Martini – so you know there’s going to be some pretty amazing versions of this cocktail lined up. Each has been designed to pair with the part of the Afternoon Tea you’ll be eating – so the first Martini (a gorgeous, clean classic with a lemon twist, just the way we like them) actually goes wonderfully with the sandwiches on offer. The second – an orange marmalade version – brings out the dark fruit of the freshly-baked scones, topped with lashings of clotted cream and jam, while the third is ideal with the handmade pastries. This is the First Romance Tea martini, made with an infused vermouth using The East India Company’s First Romance tea – a delicate but flavour-filled black tea with fruits and flower petals.

Soaking up the sauce:

This is classic Afternoon Tea fare at its very best, with all the items you’d expect to be adorning the gorgeous cake stand. Tuck into an assortment of sandwiches (including, of course, cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken, and salmon), and then make the most of the absolutely heavenly home-made scones (they arrive warm, as they naturally should). For more sweet treats, it’s all about the pretty-as-a-picture pastries including doughnut praline, peanut chocolate delice, fruit tartelette and a teeny Battenberg cake.

Info:

£42.50 per person.


Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg’s

What’s the lowdown?

For a bit of quirky fun and time-travelling frivolity, not many bars beat Mr Fogg’s. This Victorian-themed Afternoon Tea is even hosted by Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, credited with inventing afternoon tea in 1841. Mr Fogg’s is a recreation of the home of Around the World in 80 Days, most famous adventurer, Phileas Fogg, and so his afternoon tea promises a real slice of tradition, infused with the elegance to London.

Cocktail o’ clock:

An innovative range of tea-infused cocktails served in teapots will offer a novel twist on this quintessentially English pastime. Refreshing libations include Ladies That Lapsang (a blend of Lapsang souchong-infused Martini Rosso vermouth, Hendrick’s gin, Drambuie liqueur,  homemade vanilla syrup and lemon juice), and Tea Leaf You Wanting More (Earl Grey-infused Hendrick’s gin, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, homemade lemon verbena syrup and lemon juice).

Soaking up the sauce:

You’re invited to enjoy a delicate array of Victorian-style dainty sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petits-fours during your boozy afternoon – all to the dulcet tinkles of the resident pianist. 

Info:

Saturday: 1.30pm, 2pm, 4pm, 4.30pm; Sunday: 3pm, 3.30pm

£40 per person

mr-foggs.com/experience/tipsy-tea/


Onodera Ochakai Japanese Afternoon Tea at Ginza Onodera

What’s the lowdown?

Not a fan of sandwiches, scones and mini cakes? We’d generally advise you not to book an Afternoon Tea, then. That is until we’d discovered this amazing Asian-inspired version from Onodera London. Keep your cakes and crustless sarnies – this is all about sushi. Sushi, and a whole load of other mouth-wateringly tasty Japanese nibbles.

Cocktail o’ clock:

One of the great things about this Afternoon Tea is that you can either choose to have it accompanied by Champagne, matcha tea, or two cocktails (each) from their blinding list. The bar team here really know their stuff, so we advise you give the cocktail menu the attention it deserves. Enjoy a refreshing and smooth citrus start with the Lemonicious (East London Gin Batch #2, Italicus, yuzu liqueur, lemon juice and sage) or alight your tastebuds with their tiki tipple called the Samurai-Tai (a tropical mix of Ron Barcelo Gran Añejo, Plantation O.F.T.D. rum, Maraschino liqueur, blood orange purée, hibiscus and lime).

Soaking up the sauce:

Begins with a rich and indulgent wagyu slider, which is the ideal substitute for sandwiches, before getting stuck into the Japanese morsels that include crab filled spider rolls, melt-in-the-mouth seared salmon tataki and Ginza Onodera’s signature chicken karaage. And you can still enjoy some sweet stuff – the silky soy bean blancmange with black sugar syrup is similar to a crème caramel, while there’s also the most decadent chocolate gateaux with mocha ice cream and sesame shards.

Info:

Choose one tea to accompany afternoon tea for just £27.50 per person, or for £35 explore the traditional Ochakai Japanese tea party – chose two teas, and watch your matcha be specially brewed at the table.

If celebrations are in order, take afternoon tea up a notch with a mixed and muddled cocktail for £35, a chilled glass of fizz for £38, or go bottomless for £70 per person.

Between 2-4pm weekends only. 

onodera-group.com/uk/

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