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Our little black book of enchanting places


London's most creative afternoon teas

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O' Sullivan

Prêt-à-Portea – The Royal Collection, The Berkeley

Afternoon tea has come a long way since the 7th Duchess of Bedford reputedly invented it as a way to bridge the hunger gap between luncheon and dinner. These days it’s a way for top pastry chefs to showcase their skills. Here’s where to find London’s most imaginative afternoon teas this spring.

Prêt-à-Portea – The Royal Collection at The Berkeley, London SW1

The Berkeley will be serving its Prêt-à-Portea – The Royal Collection between April 18 and 24 in honour of HM The Queen’s 90th birthday next month. The Queen is believed to have worn more than 5,000 hats since she was crowned in 1953, hence the tea’s millinery theme, with hat-shaped biscuits, fancies and choux buns. Her crown is rendered in vanilla biscuit, complete with edible diamonds and there's a cake in the shape of the Launer London handbag she carried at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (look out for the praline profiterole inspired by the Philip Treacy fascinator worn by Princess Beatrice at the same wedding). £45 per person or £52 including a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne.

The Captain's and Laurent Perrier's Afternoon Tea, Sunborn LondonUnder the Sea Afternoon Tea at Sunborn London E16

Super yacht hotel Sunborn London, permanently moored in Royal Victoria Dock, has teamed up with The Hummingbird Bakery to offer its new Under the Sea Afternoon Tea, available to both guests and visitors every day between 12.30pm and 5pm. The tea includes cream-filled choux pastry shells, macarons and a selection of pretty cupcakes with frosting in the shape of sea horses, anchors, star fish, lighthouses, shells and yachts. Each tea incluces four cupcakes, two brownies and a selection of savoury finger sandwiches, scones and a pot of tea. And if you can’t eat it all, you can take away in a custom created Hummingbird Bakery box. £26 per person.

Conrad Catwalk Afternoon Tea, Conrad London St JamesConrad Catwalk Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James, London SW1

The ever-changing face of fashion is the inspiration for the Conrad Catwalk Afternoon Tea, available until April 4. Vivienne Westwood is represented by a punk marshmallow tea cake with cherry marshmallow in a pineapple crisp shell; layers of white and dark chocolate mousse on caramel biscuit pearls evoke Jean Paul Gautier's designs; while Chanel’s classic style is represented by a cassis mouse with marbled chocolate wafer. The yellow polka dot bikini is here too: the Polka Dot Shot is a tangy lime posset with passionfruit, blackberry and yoghurt cake. £39 per person or £65 per person with free flowing G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne.

London Royal Tea, Cafe RoyalLondon Royal Tea at Café Royal

The Café Royal’s London Royal Tea has been inspired by afternoon tea throughout the ages and includes both edible London icons and more traditional baked goods, such as Battenberg cake, which was originally created in honour of Prince Louis of Battenberg’s wedding to Queen Victoria's granddaughter. Try not to eat too many caramelised white onion and thyme ‘Wellington’ and Coronation chicken sandwiches: there’s Underground macaroons and Spitfire lollypops to come (among many other things – you might want to skip lunch). £42 per person or £55 including a glass of Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

It's all in the Game Afternoon Tea, St James Hotel & Club'It's all in the Game' Afternoon Tea at St James Hotel & Club, London SW1

Executive Head Chef William Drabble has based his highly original afternoon tea on board games. Monopoly is represented by a dark chocolate top hat filled with blood orange mousse topped with blood orange jelly; Scrabble pieces are made from Bramley apple mousse on a Genoise sponge finished with chocolate; while the die are tiny pieces of Battenberg covered with marzipan. And if your tea reminds you it’s been a while since you played a traditional board game, the hotel has a selection you can borrow.  £40 per person.



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