What’s not to like about afternoon tea? Sandwiches, scones and sweet treats with copious amounts of tea, and if you’re lucky some bubbles too.
Despite the number of afternoon teas I have had to date (too many to mention) I always look at the quaint tiered tray that comes out with eyes far bigger than my belly and scoff that I will devour the whole lot in no time at all.
And time after time, as I make my way through from savoury to sweet delights, I feel my belly getting fuller and struggling to finish – the Strand Palace’s afternoon tea was no different!
I’m not often a fan of restaurants housed in hotels, notably because many are often plagued with set menu offers, but there is something so quintessentially British about afternoon tea, so it seemed fitting to try this in such an iconic hotel based in the heart of London’s West End.
The Strand Palace Hotel has been newly renovated with the addition of a dedicated Afternoon Tea Salon; a cosy little cove hidden past the main hotel restaurant, which is heavily inspired by a roaring twenties design – think rich Crimson red walls adorned with art deco gold frames for an elegant yet contemporary space.
Seasonal sandwiches line the bottom layer of our tiered tray and look aesthetically pleasing as the warm grilled ham and cheese brioche is wrapped in what appears to be an old newspaper printed on greaseproof paper.
We are offered veggie and fish options for the other sandwiches – a classic salmon and dill sour cream on rye bread, egg and watercress and finally cucumber cream cheese on red beetroot bread.
No afternoon tea is complete without freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and jam – and these were neither exemplary or ghastly, but rather a standard addition that you would expect.
The show stoppers lie, as most afternoon tea’s do, in the myriad of sweet treats that are hand crafted by Executive Chef, Alfonso Salvaggio. From a classic Victoria Sponge to a tangy Lemon Meringue, a rich Chocolate Champagne Bomb and an Eton Mess in a shot glass (which is a little challenging to eat without a spoon but worth the effort!)
13 loose leaf teas are available thanks to the hotel partnering with tea connoisseurs Tea Palace; after choosing you get a small teapot to yourself, offering up 2 cups of tea.
But if that is not enough, you can of course upgrade your’package’ to also opt for a glass of Prosecco or champagne to quench your thirst, which of course we did as two small cups of tea did not suffice for us avid tea drinkers.
I am currently on maternity leave, and so this was also an opportunity after what felt like a very long year of not drinking, to indulge in a glass or three.
Unfortunately we weren’t told about the bottomless bubbles option, so made the mistake of purchasing a glass of Prosecco each as a palate cleanser in between the savoury scones and sweet treats.
Note to self, always find out beforehand if there is a bottomless menu, as it is much more cost effective and you get more bubbles!
With so many eateries now offering afternoon tea, what makes this one stand out? Whilst there are no fancy bells and whistles, or absurd themes, The Strand Palace opts for the classic afternoon tea option with a touch of quiet elegance in a somewhat decadent setting.
Reasonably priced for its central London location, it is definitely worth taking a family member for a civilised present rather than a boozy bottomless catch up with friends.
Unfortunately due to current circumstances with Covid 19, the tea room is closed for the foreseeable.
However, if like me you were unable to celebrate Mother’s Day properly, this could be the perfect belated gift when they do reopen and we are all allowed back into civilisation!
The Strand Palace Hotel