The first point on my #25Before25 mission is to have afternoon tea somewhere posh – and after devouring this incredible Alice in Wonderland-inspired afternoon tea at the 5* Sanderson Hotel in London, I can consider this one well and truly ticked off!
My visit to the Sanderson Hotel was as part of a blogger summer meet-up with the lovely Natasha from TraveladdictUK and Colette from Armchair to Reality. As it’s the 100th year anniversary of Alice in Wonderland this year, we felt the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea was an absolute must.
(Ready to tuck in…)
But first, a warning…
Themed afternoon teas appear to be particular in vogue in London at the moment. And if my experience of them has taught me anything (like that time I had a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych) it’s to go on an empty stomach. These teas love to go above-and-beyond the usual ‘scones/sandwich/cake/tea’ concoction, so you’ll need every spare inch of stomach.
True to form, the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea was no exception. I don’t think I ate for at least six hours after our sitting.
…And don’t be put off by the outside…
For a 5* hotel in the heart of London, the Sanderston Hotel sure isn’t pretty. In fact, it reminds me of my old university tower block which was built in the 1970s.
Inside it’s hit by a towering wave of modern design, with a red sofa in the shape of lips and hanging chairs like something out of the ’60s. Thankfully as it was a royally nice summer’s day we were able to sit out in the courtyard under the shaded shelter of the umbrellas.
Afternoon Tea Delights
As you can imagine with an afternoon tea this expensive (£38 before you even add a glass of Prosecco), everything’s been well thought-out and is displayed to perfection. Everything revolves around the Alice in Wonderland theme, from the King and Queen of Hearts on the teapots to the riddles printed out onto the napkin holder. The whole menu is even printed in an old book, while sugar cubes are huddled together in a musical box – could it get any cuter?!
For someone so precious about English Breakfast Tea, I was bowled over by the choice of teas available. The waiter brought four different ‘sniff pots’ so we could have a sample smell of the ones available. And these were inventive – strawberries and cream, mint chocolate chip, rhubard and custard, or apple pie. I opted for the last one which was possibly one of the best teas I’ve ever had in my life (and I take my teas very seriously.)
The food itself was brought over on a three-tiered cake stand which was pretty much packed with just all the sweets. Definitely an afternoon tea sight to behold, but I definitely would have preferred a few more savoury items (especially since I could only eat half of the sandwiches brought out because I’m a vegetarian!). However, the mini quiches were a nice touch.
Now, as for the sweets side of things…
Looks pretty hefty, doesn’t it?
For the sweets, you can expect to tuck into the following:
- A carrot meringe served on a bed of pea shoots
- Strawberries and cream homemade marshmallow mushrooms*
- ‘Tick tock’ traditional Victoria sponge
- Melting mango cheesecake
- Matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse served in a chocolate tea cup
- ‘Drink me’ potion*
- Jelly wonderland
- Savoury and sweet scones with herb butter, fruit preserves and clotted cream
Those with a ‘*’ next to them weren’t suitable for vegetarians, but I was supplied with a veggie alternative. Also, I could only really eat one of the jellies, but it tasted like thick jam anyway, so I wasn’t too bothered.
Is it worth the hype?
I’ve heard so many good things about this tea, and I’ve got to say it’s definitely won me over. It would be ideal for a special occasion or Alice-enthusiast (especially if you decided to push the boat out and add a cocktail or glass of champagne to it), but make sure you pack your sweet tooth when you go down the rabbit hole. You’ll need it.
Address: 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG
Nearest tube: Goodge Street/Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street
Times: Available daily between 12:30pm to 5:30pm
Price: from £38