London’s best afternoon teas

The city’s pastry chefs get inventive with new twists on the classic British institution

Food and Drink 13 Dec 2019

The Do You Like Chocolate? afternoon tea at Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel

The Do You Like Chocolate? afternoon tea at Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel

Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea, with the capital’s leading hotels and pastry chefs constantly reinventing the classic mid-afternoon meal of savoury snacks, scones and cakes to surprise and delight fans of the dining experience. Here, we highlight four tried and tested, delicious and decadent teas that are currently available across the city.

The Antony Gormley Festive Art Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room, Rosewood London hotel
The Antony Gormley Art Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room, Rosewood London

Artful taste

Antony Gormley’s acclaimed show at the Royal Academy of Arts may have come to a close, but fans of artistry and gastronomy can still experience a taste of the artist’s work with a special afternoon tea at the Rosewood London’s Mirror Room. Executive pastry chef Mark Perkins took inspiration from the exhibition to create a unique pastry course, which references four key pieces of Gormley’s work. The piece One Apple, which explores the life span of the fruit, is realised in four stages of confectionery form, from a teaspoonful of apple compote to a fully ripened apple mousse cake encased in a skin crafted from soft green chocolate.

The Antony Gormley Festive Art Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room, Rosewood London is available until 31 January 2020; from £65pp; rosewoodhotels.com 

The Festive Afternoon Tea with Perrier-Jouët at the Wellington Lounge at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel
The Festive Afternoon Tea with Perrier-Jouët at the Wellington Lounge at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel

Season’s eatings

Inspired by the Twelve days of Christmas carol, this December Intercontinental London Park Lane’s Wellington Lounge plays host to an exquisite festive afternoon tea, taking a gastronomic journey from seasonally inspired sandwiches and a partridge and pear pithivier, to a ‘maids-a-milking’ chocolate tart, a ‘geese-a-laying’ orange macaron and winter-spiced cranberry scones with a vibrant orange curd. Accompanied by gentle music from the grand piano, the Wellington Lounge is adorned with decorations inspired by Perrier-Jouët’s Belle Epoque vintage champagne. Situated at 145 Piccadilly, in the heart of London’s shopping district, this is the perfect place for a yuletide interlude.

The Festive Afternoon Tea with Perrier-Jouët is available at the Wellington Lounge at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel, every day until 5 January; from £65pp; intercontinental.com

The Do You Like Chocolate? afternoon tea at the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel
The Do You Like Chocolate? afternoon tea at the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel

Cocoa mania

Enter the dark and decadent interiors of Fitz’s bar in Bloomsbury’s Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel and prepare to indulge in a gastronomic journey dedicated to the complex flavours and aromas of chocolate. The ‘Do You Like Chocolate?’ afternoon tea celebrates the nuanced flavours of chocolate, with cacao-based ingredients imbued into its scones, patisserie and – if you opt for it – four specially designed and paired cocktails. It might sound like a cocoa overload, but the four cakes are light enough for you to be able to polish everything off comfortably, each creation encompassing a complementary, balancing flavour such as passion fruit, lime, cherry and coffee. And the cocktails make a surprisingly refreshing accompaniment to each course, with an emphasis on the fruit and floral notes to be found in chocolate, using ingredients such as eau-de-vie created from the usually discarded parts of the cacao fruit.

The Do You Like Chocolate? afternoon tea is served from 12pm – 3pm, Thursday to Sunday at Fitz’s bar at the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel; £65pp with cocktail pairings and your choice of tea, or £45pp for a non-alcoholic version; kimptonfitzroylondon.com 

The Guilds of the City Afternoon Tea at the Mercer Roof Terrace at the Vintry & Mercer hotel. Image: Amy-Murrell
The Guilds of the City Afternoon Tea at the Mercer Roof Terrace at the Vintry & Mercer hotel. Image: Amy-Murrell

City break

Tucked away on Garlick Hill, a stone’s throw from Mansion House station, is a discreet doorway into a secret City haven – the Vintry & Mercer hotel. Served in the hotel’s Mercer Roof Terrace space – with views of St Paul’s Cathedral and a fantastic spot to enjoy the early winter sunsets ­– the newly launched Guilds of the City Afternoon Tea pays homage to the historic trades of the surrounding area. From a mini barrel filled with mulled wine to a gold bar of dark chocolate, the attention to detail in the patisserie is designed to delight, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. Alongside the traditional finger sandwiches, savoury snacks include tuna tartar, and a cheddar cheese and spring onion spread crumpet, making for a more substantial first course too.

The Guilds of the City Afternoon Tea is served from 2pm – 5.30pm every Saturday and Sunday at the Mercer Roof Terrace at the Vintry & Mercer hotel; £39.50pp, or £49.50pp with a glass of champagne or cocktail; vintryandmercer.com