Afternoon tea is as much a hallmark of London as the crepe is to Paris. Though the custom of afternoon tea originated in the 1840s thanks to England’s wealthy (and hungry), the new-age offerings are much more than a slice of Battenberg and a pot of Earl Grey.
Earlier this week we headed to One Aldwych’s handsome Lobby Bar to sample their brand new Floral Afternoon Tea. Launched just in time for the Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea Fringe, executive chef Dominic Teague has whipped up a large selection of delightfully unusual afternoon treats.
After being welcomed with a glass of Lallier Grand Réserve Champagne (a perfect floral accompaniment, thanks to notes of apricot), we were pleased to find they were able to cater to my dining partner’s aversion to mayonnaise on her side of the afternoon tea.
As expected, presentation of the three-tiered tea was beautiful. Topped by lavender brioche with apple and gorse flower compote, petite homemade scones were scattered around a line of elderflower and rhubarb jam, plum jam, and clotted cream. Sweets ruled the tier below, offering two servings of vanilla panna cotta with violet leaves, white and dark chocolate marquise with orange blossom jelly, lemon drizzle cake, and rosewater jelly. Last but not least (in fact, so good a tier that we re-ordered another) were the savouries; a chicken sandwich with wild garlic flower mayonnaise, egg and watercress on wholemeal bread, a divine slice of jasmine smoked salmon on a bridge roll, as well as a goats cheese and chive quiche alongside their mayo-free counterparts, as requested.
In between sips of an award-winning pot of Jasmine Flowers Tea Palace tea, we also decided to try two of their four floral martinis – Rose & Earl Grey, Camomile & Lavender, Chocolate & Orange Blossom and Jasmine & Ginger – specially designed by head bartender Pedro Paulo. Alongside such sweet snacks I found the use of syrup in the cocktails a tad too saccharine for my personal taste, but expect anyone with a sweet tooth to find themselves in floral heaven.
The Floral Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Bar is only available until the 31st May, so be sure to use Mother’s Day to your gifting advantage and book a table for you…I mean two.