A very personal Afternoon Tea Week and My Top 5 Afternoon Teas of 2017!

Just a bunch of cakes and sandwiches? That might not be everyone’s cup of tea (pardon the pun!) but what is it about afternoon tea’s in London that hotels and restaurants are charging us lay people up to £85 per person for this experience? For those of you who have been living under a rock or just aren’t interested, it’s afternoon tea week this week and I thought it was about time we spoke about this.. from a very personal perspective.

I wasn’t born in the UK, but I moved here when I was 12, so have spent the majority of my life here, so needless to say I have a strong affiliation with being British as much as anyone else would. When I first moved here, I didn’t really have much of an identity, I was in that awkward stage in my teens and in the shadow of my 2 very perfect sisters (please note – this post is not sponsored by my sisters!). They’re both pretty strong personalities and I was still trying to figure out who I was. To top it all off my dad put us all in a private all girls’ school and it all felt a bit odd at the time.

As I grew into my own, there was one thing that stood out for me that quickly shaped my personality – My love for all things fine – food mainly, but handbags too! And as they say, like attracts like, so somehow most of my friends were as extravagant with their food and handbag choices as I was. And, of course, afternoon tea played a huge part in my life in not only shaping those friendships but also who I am as a person today.

So, why should I pay so much to eat a few sandwiches?

This is the question I get asked on a daily basis. And the fact is, yes you should!

1) Its a Brit thing – Afternoon teas are a quintessentially British thing. Outside of the UK, they may be known as “high teas”.  Contrary to what my mum (or any Asian mother for that matter who thinks tea in the afternoon is an Asian-invented tradition), afternoon tea was introduced in England in the early 1800s by the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna who would get a little peckish around 4 pm and decided she wanted tea and biscuits. I don’t blame her either! Girl, I feel you! 

2) It’s all about the experience – it’s not something you do every day and more than the food itself its the whole experience that you’re paying for. As a girly girl, any excuse to dress up and put my heels on is enough, but going to an afternoon tea with the girls or even that special person is different – you’re in a setting fit for the occasion.

3) Halal? Yes please!! -Majority of hotels have jumped onboard the muslim mania and usually serve halal meat as part of their afternoon teas (or halal meat can be requested with prior notice). Some will even go as far as ensuring they use halal gelatine.

4) Its a family affair – I have been to alot of teas with my friends, but my favourite ones are those I’ve had with my mum (who, like me, loves a spot of tea in a swanky setting) and actually, surprisingly enough, so does my dad and this makes the foodie in me cry genuine tears of joy!

So where’s the best place to go to?

Hands down, Claridges is my favourite afternoon tea place always!

But I have so many favourites so here are my top 5 afternoon tea places in London:

1) Claridges

DSC_0538DSC_0537DSC_0551

Price: £58 per person, £65 per person with non-alcoholic jus de raisin petillant
Website: http://www.claridges.co.uk/
Halal Status: Halal meat is served please be sure to request the halal option in advance
Closest Station: Bond Street (Overground and Bakerloo Line)

Read the full review here.

2) The Dorchester

IMG_4945IMG_4930IMG_4993

Price: £55 per person
Website: https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/london/the-dorchester/
Halal Status: Halal meat is served please be sure to request the halal option in advance
Closest Station: Green Park (Jubilee, Victoria or Picadilly Line) or Marble Arch (Central Line).

Read the full review here.

3) The Berkeley

Price: £52 per person
Website: https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/london/the-dorchester/
Halal Status: Halal meat is served please be sure to request the halal option in advance
Closest Station: Knightsbridge (Picadilly Line).

Read the full review here.

4) The Lanesborough

Price: £48 per person
Website: https://www.oetkercollection.com/destinations/the-lanesborough/
Halal Status: Halal meat is served please be sure to request the halal option in advance
Closest Station: Knightsbridge (Picadilly Line).

Read the full review here.

5) Mad Hatter’s at The Sanderson

P1020713P1020717P1020726P1020698

Price: £48 per person
Website: https://www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-sanderson-london
Halal Status: Halal meat is served please be sure to request the halal option in advance
Closest Station: Oxford Circus (Central, Bakerloo and Victoria Line).

Is afternoon tea ever not worth it?  

Sometimes calling it “high” or adding a bit of expensive silverware and adding a price tag of £80 doesn’t even make it okay. My worst experience of afternoon teas (and there aren’t too many of them) was, surprisingly and somewhat controversially, at The RItz! I wasn’t blogging then, but the whole experience was just so basic I haven’t gone back since! Standard sandwiches, standard cakes and very pompous staff. Guys will be turned away if they don’t follow the strict dress code of tie and jacket!

Best afternoon tea outside of UK?

My love for Dubai is no secret, but Dubai does afternoon tea like no one (and I mean no one) has ever done even in London. My most favourite global afternoon tea has to be in Dubai’s iconic boat structure, Burj al Arab’s Skyview Bar on the 124th floor.  Why? I’ve been there twice and each time the staff were so friendly and made us feel ever so welcome, we were free to sit there for 6 hours – of course there were about 10 courses to get through! If that wasn’t enough.. look at this view! (PS. Don’t worry mum, that’s just halal date juice in champagne flutes!)

What afternoon teas can you expect on TLH soon?

No one full month passes where I’m not tempted by an afternoon tea and there are so many places to choose from! Next up on my “to-eat” list are …

The Rosewood

The Landmark

Le Meridien

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. I’d love to hear what your favourites (or not so favourites) are in London and outside!

Lots of love,

TLH x

9 Comments

  1. UB
    August 18, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Great post – it was fun to read! Do love afternoon
    tea, and you’re right it’s not just about tea and sandwiches, but the experience and even better when you are out with your family. Definitely recommend The Landmark – I would place that number 3 on your list and shift down The Berkely. The Lanesborough I haven’t tried so might be next on my list.

    • londonhaloodie
      Author
      August 18, 2017 / 8:25 am

      I’m going to The Landmark this weekend so might need to upgrade this list but it was definitely tough choosing a top 5! Thanks so much for the love and support!

      • UB
        August 18, 2017 / 11:31 pm

        Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about The Landmark. I’m not sure if this is on their Afternoon Tea menu – but their Ice Coffee is amazing!

  2. Bex
    August 18, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Fab piece! Been to tons of afternoon teas in London. Best for me by far has been Fortnum & Mason. Mandarin oriental, lovely but very tight on the mini halal chicken sandwiches. On my list to go to is Sketch.

    • londonhaloodie
      Author
      August 19, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      Mandarin is definitely on my list too.. too many places to eat and not enough time! I love Sketch but just wish it was halal!

  3. Priya
    August 18, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Great post! Really fun to read. I really enjoyed the landmark.

    • londonhaloodie
      Author
      August 19, 2017 / 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to The Landmark this weekend!

  4. August 19, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Loved this! I would add tea at The Goring to your list, though! Just had tea at the Balmoral in Edinburgh, which was nice, but The Goring just blows it out of the water! Keep up the great work!

    • londonhaloodie
      Author
      August 20, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      Havent actually been to The Goring – it’s well and truly on the list now! Thanks for the tip!

Leave a Reply