In need of a detox? A fragrant blend of rose, rosemary and fennel will set you right. By Olivia Holborow. The afternoon-tea spread at Sexy Fish emerges from the open-plan kitchen on a silver stand embellished with silver octopus tentacles and fish tails. There are imposing installations everywhere; white fish hang above the well-stocked bar and a crocodile sprawls across a wall beside red booths in a way that is, quite frankly, very sexy.
To start are healthy-tasting matcha-tea shots, followed by your choice of Champagne or a selection of teas you can try as many as you like. Then there are sushi-inspired rolls, each one balancing precariously on a tentacle: egg, cress and caviar; Thai-curried chicken on puffed rice bread; a smoked-salmon bao bun; and toasted miso-tuna brioche. Next up is a matcha Victoria sponge with cream and cherry jam, a coconut-and-mango dome that looks like a plump cape gooseberry, and a dreamy chocolate-and-caramel delice. Traditionalists will be happy to find perfectly fluffy scones with jam and clotted cream, which are finished up with bright blue fish-shaped Champagne ice creams — we dare you to eat them without making a mess.
At this white-stone townhouse hotel in South Kensington, we take our tea in the study, a nook-like room with wood-panelled walls and a lofty ceiling with an ornate chandelier at its centre.
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There are slouchy velvet sofas, and glass trays sitting on upholstered footstools replace tables. The Quant theme takes shape when our afternoon-tea spread is served on a large rainbow-striped tray. The standard three-tier set-up is swapped for a mixed platter of colour-pop savouries and treats, while scones are plated up in red-gingham mini-popcorn boxes. Sandwiches set standards high — the chunky salmon and chive cream cheese fingers and salty ham and mustard on spinach bread are standouts.
Dinky paint-splash cakes include a sweet Victoria sponge topped with strawberries and a crunchy Quant-daisy-stamped lemon-meringue tart our favourite which, on slicing, prompts a lemon-curd flood on our plate. More make-up references come in the form of a fluffy Eton mess accompanied by a nail-varnish bottle filled with sharp raspberry coulis, a dark-chocolate lipstick and a banoffee cake paired with a quirky cosmetic tube of pour-over caramel.
Farmacy is about as jungly as a place can be, set inside a beautiful Georgian building on Westbourne Grove. There are lush plants everywhere with moss-green booths to match. A soul playlist resonates from the speakers, and at the centre of the bright space sits a bar with a brushed-gold finish. Customers are a mix of Notting Hill locals and millennials who have been flocking to this clean-eating oasis in their masses since it opened in The latest addition to the menu is a CBD-infused high tea using the non-psychoactive chemical compound found in marijuana, which has become increasingly popular in the wellness community since its legalisation in the UK last year.
The afternoon tea itself is free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals. The coconut substitute spreads perfectly onto the fluffy chia-seed scones, and the hemp tea is similar to green tea and tastes just as good. While the savoury options leave a little to be desired, with the charcoal bread not quite hitting the mark, the dark-chocolate CBD truffles, mini Eton mess and matcha apple tarts more than make up for it.
The award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, known as Mr Lyan, and his team, who already serve up some the best drinks in London, have added a new string to the Lyan brand bow in the form of afternoon tea. Not only is South Bank's the Lyaness bar one of the best bars in London , it now has its own take on the ritual which, should you choose the cocktail or non-alcoholic pairings, is accompanied by some impeccable concoctions. Home comforts have been given a new lease of life, starting with an unexpected twist on the coronation-chicken sandwich: meat is replaced with minutely diced sweet potato and squash and served on walnut bread.
Tiny sausage rolls, delicate devilled eggs and mini sandwiches of roast beef and poached salmon make up the rest of the savouries. And vegetarians will be pleased to hear that the meat alternatives are far from disappointing, and include grilled mushrooms, hummus, peppers and herbivore-friendly pastries. There are no traditional scones here — take note if this is a dealbreaker for you. Lyaness makes seven of its own, seemingly laboratory-designed ingredients which, with the expertise of its mixologists, are used to make the most striking drinks.
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The alcohol-free options contain considered substitutes. The Carter Cobbler, for example, is usually made with Lyaness Infinite Banana, Grey Goose and green tea bianco, but here the vodka is swapped with Seedlip and coconut cordial. Both versions are delicious. Hidden among the jungle of brutalist architecture that is the Barbican Centre, the Conservatory hosts an afternoon tea that's set among 2, species of tropical plants and succulents.
The Conservatory is one of London's secret gardens , a pocket of rainforest that's only open on Sundays — and on a limited number of Sundays you can book in do book ahead for afternoon tea.
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Sweet treats include a chocolate banoffee cone with caramelised banana in the centre and the not-to-be missed passion fruit and mascarpone delice. Then finally, make sure you save some space for the warm scones, accompanied with traditional clotted cream and rich strawberry jam.
The name really says it all, and meat is what most people come here for. The latter is served alongside a lemon-posset shot with crumbly biscuit topping on a separate plate — the overspill of the already crammed cake stand. As for the tea, among the standard Earl Grey, Assam and mint are some more exotic options such as Pai Mu Tan and jasmine pearls.
Everyone was taking their time, enjoying the sunshine streaming in through the windows and heroically trying to finish those scones. Bevelled mirrors and gold-framed illustrations hang on the tall walls; huge chandeliers cascade above the seating area and marble-topped bar.
Choose to sit by the roaring fire or under one of the bay windows that flood nearby tables with light.
Are you sitting comfortably on your blue-velvet or patterned-fabric chair? Begin by selecting your drink. There are unlimited refills on dozens of brews — including iced coffee, matcha and turmeric lattes, jasmine silver tip and lemon verbena tea — all served in sturdy silverware and poured into gold-rimmed obviously , grey- and white-striped fine china.
Cut each one in half and lather on the clotted cream before — always before — the fresh raspberry jam. The bright yellow mango-and-coriander tart with pink peppercorn meringue instantly catches the eye, while the rich chocolate mousse sprinkled with cashew praline and prune compote lingers on the tongue. The mezzanine set-up of this Shoreditch restaurant makes the most of the floor-to-ceiling views of the sky-brushing buildings of the City beyond.
Plate takes its tea drinking seriously, with guests encouraged to try their brews black. Though milk is served in a dinky, retro glass bottle for those who still want the option. First, huge sandwiches — an entire stand of them — are served in crusty brioche buns. The shape calls to mind a New York-style bagel, while the colour and texture are more like a Danish pastry. Along with some faithful favourites cucumber; smoked salmon and cream cheese , unconventional fillings include smooth beetroot hummus, sweetened with red peppers and sharpened by crumbly feta; rich roasted chicken and bacon, the saltiness offset with creamy pesto; and peppery pastrami and gherkin.
Fluffy and soft buttermilk scones are a highlight, and everything you want from the traditional bake.
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They are served with a deep, rust-coloured Inverness Estate orange pekoe, which balances the lightness of this course with gentle hints of rose and a citrusy finish. In terms of sweet things there's a flame-red, craquelin-choux sphere with chocolate custard and a passionfruit bite, and a delicate macaron with a white chocolate and olive oil ganache, which is as moreish as it is counterintuitive. All served with that intriguingly named tea. By Leah Craig.
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Served in The Game Bird, a room that marries duck-egg walls with shiny, plush velvet sofas and where gilded columns complement the grand bouquets of yellow flowers. The tea kicks off with the classics: three sandwiches — fresh cucumber and cream cheese, honey-roast Wiltshire ham and mustard, and smoked salmon — all finger-sized and joyously resembling those of your childhood.
Next up are wedges of flaky, buttery sausage rolls and a creamy truffled-egg and watercress brioche bun — not for the faint hearted, but worth every bite.
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For the sweet offering, the scones are anything but simple. Shoemakers Foster and Son get a white-chocolate shoe horn and polish tin filled with a seasonal fruit trifle topped with Chantilly cream, while cigar aficionados James J Fox have a chocolate-and-hazelnut cigar tribute that comes in a smoky case. If a Savile Row suit is a little out of your budget, how about an edible version at this afternoon tea?
By Katharine Sohn. Tea at The Ritz. Is there a more archetypally English institution? The Ritz London sets the standard for afternoon tea. Tea is served in the many-mirrored Palm Court salon, deliciously grand and swimming in gold.