I do love my afternoon teas, but I have to say the Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Tea has been one of my favourites as it really shone out for me for being so original and quirky. When I featured their scones in my Scones of the Month I felt that was only told part of the story and it deserved its own blog post so here it is. Enjoy!
Katie and I adored everything about this afternoon tea. From the moment we were seated we could not help but admire the distinctive, black and white bespoke crockery. Mine had trapeze artists on it and Katie’s was decorated with a zebra. When the teapots arrived they were wearing paper crowns. However everything was not quite as it appeared as the book, in the photo above, contained the menu.
On the table was a tray containing some of the more unusual teas which were available, these included rhubarb and custard and apple pie flavours, both of which I tried.
Here's my rhubarb and custard flavoured tea with its striking deep red colour. Both teas I tried were remarkably fruity.
The sugar cubes were charmingly concealed in a jewellery box with a ballerina. However moving onto the food...
The afternoon tea has an Alice in Wonderland theme and the three tiered cake stand arrived topped with a carrot meringue on a bed of pea shoots and then you descend down into plates of pastries and scones. One of the things I really liked was that my vegetarian tea, which was served on a seperate cake stand, was almost identical to Katie's apart from the strawberries and cream homemade marshmallow mushrooms had been substituted with a chocolate truffle.
The sandwiches were served on seperate plates, they had been cut into dainty diamond shapes and the three layers of bread that each colourful sandwich consisted of, looked like they had been gently flattened with a rolling pin. The sandwiches which included ham, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, cucumber and cheese, were tasty and we were offered second helpings.
There were two delicious, medium sized scones, one savoury and the other sweet, served accordingly with herb butter and clotted cream and strawberry jam and I say more about them in my scone blog.
The Drink Me Potion was refreshing and fruity and came served in a small bottle with a label and a straw.
The matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse served in chocolate tea cup not only looked amazing but the constrasting flavours working very well together.
The tick tock Victoria sponge was both our favourite, with its charming clock face and underneath several delicate alternating layers of sponge and cream. It was to die for.
Afternoon tea is served inside a gazebo in the hotel’s interior courtyard. The service throughout our visit was consistantly excellent, staff were very attentive, offered us refills but were also unobtrusive.
Please note that due to its popularity your table is reserved for a two hour slot, while they don’t rush you out the door it’s not a place to go if you want a very leisurely tea. Although not anything big, as nothing detracted from the enjoyment of this afternoon, this was the first time I'd arrived for a pre-booked afternoon tea at a hotel and the table has not been ready for us on arrival, which I found a little surprising given the two hour time slot.
Also it was only when I was writing the blog post and had another look at the menu that I noticed on it Jelly Wonderland. We were both rather full after our tea and probably would not have managed it anyway, but I can't remember being offered this during our visit. Although I am vegetarian, so it might not have be suitable for me to eat, it would have been nice to photograph it for the blog.
Finally I couldn't finish the blog without mention the hotel's theatrical interior design and its contemporary art, including the Mae West Lips Sofa, above, which was inspired by Salvador Dali.
The hotel is located just north of Oxford Street in a modern, building designed by Slater and Uren. When the building originally opened in 1960 it was the head office for Sanderson, the luxury wallpaper and fabrics manufacturer. An exhibition and special collections at "the world's most fabulous showrooms" was held to mark its opening and the company remained there until 1992 when it relocated to Brompton Road, Knightsbridge.
The Mad Hatter's Afternoon tea costs £38 per person, so it is one of the more expensive teas, however I would also say that it's also one of the very best I've had.
It is very distinctive and utterly charming and it makes for a fun and memorable occassion and I don't think anyone could fail to delighted with it.
If you enjoyed this blog post you might like to read about another quirky place to have tea and cake, Mari Vanna.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds.