Afternoon tea is a quintessential British experience not to be missed whilst on holiday in the UK. While London offers a myriad of traditional venues to appreciate this custom, recently not-so-traditional venues for afternoon teas are gaining in popularity. Here are some of the quirkiest and unusual places to delight in afternoon tea in London:
Time for Tease, Volupté
Striptease and scones anyone? Bet those aren’t two words you’d expect to hear in the same sentence. Time for Tease combines a traditional British spread of afternoon tea with a not-so-traditional-selection of Gateaux Vivants – semi-nude models holding an assortment of cakes for your enjoyment in somewhat compromising positions. Think Katy Perry in her “California Girls” video where she wears a cupcake bra, but with real cupcakes! During afternoon tea, burlesque dancers perform interludes of cabaret for their guests. Time for Tease takes place on the first and third Saturday, and the second and fourth Sunday of every month, so it is best to plan ahead to enjoy this unusual treat.
Mad Hatter’s Tea, Sanderson London
What could be more fun than an Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea? The chefs at Sanderson London, one of the city’s finest boutique hotels, invite you to indulge in their fantasy world, as they experiment with menu items that play with logic, much in the same way Lewis Carroll does so well in his telling of Alice in Wonderland. You’ll be grinning broader than a Cheshire cat after you taste “Drink Me”, a curious concoction of apple pie, lemon curd and English toffee, and the “Eat Me” Queen of Hearts strawberries and cream mousse. Finish off tea with a blue tongue as you lick a blueberry lollipop or let your mouth crackle with a cupcake topped with popping candy. Mad Hatter’s Tea takes place Monday through Friday between 2:00 – 5:30 pm and on the weekends between 1:00 – 5:30 pm.
Prêt-à-Portea – Fashion-themed Afternoon Tea, The Berkley
Staying true to the ever-changing world of fashion, afternoon tea at The Berkley re-invents itself every six months to stay up-to-date with current fashion trends. The Autumn/Winter 2011 collection of cakes and pastries are inspired by the latest runway designs from the likes of Lanvin, Miu Miu, and Burberry. Miu Miu debuts at Prêt-à-Portea with a spicy and glittery high-heeled shoe biscuit, while Burberry graces the sweets and treats catwalk with a black and white double-breasted coat made of biscuit and vanilla icing. Tantalize your taste buds further with Valentino’s orange and ginger clutch topped with a giant chocolate bow and save room for Stella McCartney’s polka dot sponge cake dress. One thing is for sure, you won’t find last-seasons scones or cakes sitting around here! Prêt-à-Portea is served daily from 1-6 pm in The Caramel Room.
Afternoon De-Light, The Metropolitan
While many of the prestigious London hotels boast an offering of afternoon tea, complete with a selection of indulgent cakes, biscuits, and scones with clotted creams, Afternoon De-light at The Met prides itself on providing a guilt-free option to participate in this British pastime. While you will still relish in plenty of scrumptious desserts, Afternoon De-Light insures the preparation of their dishes has the health-conscious patron in mind. Many of their menu items are fruit-infused and their scones are made from potato flour and low-fat crème fraiche. If you’re watching your carb-intake, ‘no-bread sandwiches’ might be the perfect choice – leaving you extra room for cake! If you’re watching your waistline this holiday season or you’re off clotted cream per doctor’s orders, this trendy afternoon tea might be a perfect option for you.