The Athenaeum serves a special tea that’s all about honey.
In August, we took a look at some top hotels for tea in London. After the story ran, we received more suggestions from our readers on good hotels for a “cuppa.” Here are two recommendations:
The Sanderson Hotel
“The Mad Hatter’s Tea at the trendy Sanderson Hotel [is] a wonderful quirky experience. Guests are treated to a triple tasting cocktail in a little bottle labelled ‘Drink Me’ followed by naturally coloured finger sandwiches, warm scones and clotted cream, and a selection of delightful cakes.”
The Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson is (as one might guess from the name) inspired by the famous “Un-Birthday Party” scene in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The tea was launched a little over a year ago, and a new menu was rolled out last October in response to customer feedback.
What makes it remarkable? Menus are hidden inside vintage books, and napkins are wrapped with riddles, while tea is served in pots decorated with kings and queens.
The classic teatime fare includes sandwiches as well as savory and sweet scones with herb butter and fruit preserves.
But we’re more intrigued by the quirkier options, like a marshmallow mushroom made from strawberries and cream, a carrot meringue served with pea shoots, a traditional Victorian sponge clock, and a melting
mango cheesecake coated in rainbow patterned white chocolate. To top it all off, guests can explore “Jelly Wonderland,” where fruit jellies made in Victorian jelly molds are presented on a Philippe Starck cake trolley.
For something Alice and the Mad Hatter probably did not have when they sat down together, champagne is also available...but if you’re going to go
to “A Mad Tea Party,” go all the way and try the Scarlett Martini (Wyborowa vodka shaken with strawberries, cucumber, honey, water and finished with pomegranate juice) or the Oriental Daiquiri (five-year-old El Dorado rum shaken with fresh strawberries, ginger and lemongrass and finished with apple juice). There’s also a pear and elderflower Bellini made with Laurent-Perrier champagne.
Perhaps coolest of all: The Afternoon Tea is still evolving, and the hotel will update different elements depending on the season.
Good to know: While the tea is meant to evoke classic characters, costumes are not allowed at the tables.
For reservations or special requests, contact the restaurant team at 011-44-207-300-5588 or e-mail [email protected]
“The second classy, unpretentious place for afternoon tea is the Garden Room at the Athenaeum in Piccadilly. Voted the best afternoon tea in London in 2012, [the meal is] served in a secluded and very tasteful tea room with delightfully comfortable furniture.”
The quirky and cool Athenaeum earned the UK Tea Council’s Tea Guild award for “Top London Afternoon Tea” last year, and we can see why. Blending tradition and innovation, this tea has something for everyone.
One of the most popular variations is the Regents Park Honey Tea, which includes a glass of Honey Fizz—a sparkling wine cocktail made with a dash of honey. (Important: This option requires 24 hours’ notice.)
The Sanderson Hotel’s Mad Hatter’s Tea evokes Alice and her adventures.
As the name might suggest, honey is the primary ingredient here, and the Athenaeum’s chefs have found ways to work the sweetness into all the factors of a traditional Afternoon Tea. For example, sandwiches can include honey roasted ham. For sweeter fare, try the honeycomb marquis, honey cake, lavender and honey macaroons, chocolate and honey mille-feuille, and honey cheesecake. Bonus: All guests who order the Honey Tea get a complimentary pot of Regents Park Honey to take home.
Those with less of a sweet tooth can opt for a traditional Evergreen Tea, or guests can add a glass of rose petal champagne or Laurent-Perrier Rosé for something a bit more decadent.
Good to know: Reservations for the tea are hard to come by in the Garden Room, especially on the weekend, so call Food and Beverage Outlet Manager Jeevam Then (011-44-20-74-993464) well in advance. (Fortunately, the hotel offers three seatings daily.)