Fine bone china and pottery maker Wedgwood launched in 1759, founded by Josiah Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent. Today he is remembered as ‘The father of English potters’ (and grandfather to Charles Darwin), and Wedgwood still produces beautiful handcrafted pottery more than 260 years later. This afternoon tea is not just a joy to eat, it is served on Royal Warrant holder Wedgwood’s vibrant Wonderlust collection. Each intricately detailed piece pays homage to destinations from Europe through to Asia, giving diners an afternoon escape at a time when our suitcases are gathering dust.
Searcys is one of Britain’s oldest caterers, so it is fitting that they have partnered with one of the original British potters, and in a return to Chelsea, where they were based in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Saatchi Gallery Bar & Brasserie was opened by Searcys in spring 2020, and afternoon tea was served in a room filled with leather booths, mirrored finishes and bright, fun gallery art lining the walls. Tables were well distanced away from each other, and a healthy splosh of hand sanitiser is a requirement before entry. The tableware is an eclectic mix from the Wedgwood collection, with bold reds, mustard yellows and bright turquoise and gold cutlery offering a memorable change from the more traditional afternoon tea aesthetic.
The tea starts off with a light John Ross Jr smoked salmon mousse with crème fraiche, followed by a selection of finger sandwiches (crustless, of course), including ham with mustard, cucumber with cream cheese, salmon and coronation chicken. Next is the star of the show, the Wedgwood three-tier tower of cake. Warm scones with clotted cream and jam anchor it down, while light and delicate, and rich and gooey cakes and lemon macaroons populate the top tiers.
All this is washed down with a glass of award-winning Louis Pommery England English sparkling wine, a gold winner at the WineGB Awards 2020, created in Hampshire using the distinctive terroir of southern England. And it wouldn’t be an afternoon tea, without, well, the tea (or coffee if you prefer). Choose from a selection of teas from renowned luxury tea brand Newby, including Earl Grey, English breakfast, masala chai, chamomile, peppermint, strawberry and mango, rooibos orange or jasmine princess green tea. There are also cocktails, mocktails, a great wine and champagne list and a selection of soft drinks that can be ordered additionally as an extra to the afternoon tea.
Sparkling Chelsea Afternoon Tea, £45 per person
A fantastic pit stop on your way to enjoy a spot of art at the Saatchi Gallery, or if you just want to while away an afternoon surrounded by beautiful tableware loaded with delicious fare.
Searcys has also just launched a new Sunday Roast menu created by head chef Phil Neil if you prefer heartier refuelling pre or post culture. Serving a choice of three roasts every Sunday – slow roast quarter Suffolk chicken, aged Hereford sirloin, or a vegan option of smoked aubergine caviar with braised Puy lentils – all come with seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding for added autumnal comfort.
The Chelsea Afternoon Tea runs from 3pm-5pm from Wednesday until Sunday.
Saatchi Gallery Bar & Brasserie, 90 Duke of York Square, London, Greater London, SW3 4LY