If you’re visiting London and would like a traditional British experience, I’d definitely recommend an afternoon tea. The problem? There are SO many to choose from. I’ve tried many different ones in London and my favourites include: Shangri-La up the Shard, The Ritz and now the Alice and Wonderland Afternoon Tea.
I have to admit, I have a little obsession with afternoon teas. Living so close to London, how could I not? I can’t get enough of the flavour filled sandwiches and the scrumptious scones with cream and jam. If a friend wants to meet up, afternoon tea in the city is one of the first things I suggest. That’s exactly what my friend and I did last weekend but this time we wanted an afternoon tea with a twist.
The Venue and Cost
Our Alice and Wonderland Tea was hosted at the Kona restaurant in Taj 51 hotel which is near St James Park (the nearest tube). If you have time, it’s worth a walk around St James Park before or after your afternoon tea to see numerous squirrels and flowers. The cost of the afternoon tea at a weekend is usually £45, however I bought a voucher through Buy a Gift (not sponsored!) when they had 25% off which meant it only cost my friend and I £30 each.
Following Alice down the rabbit hole for the Alice in Wonderland tea at Kona was what dreams are made of. It was full of colour, beauty and fun. The afternoon tea was inspired by Lewis Carrol’s novel, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, a theme that you’ll see in all aspects of the afternoon tea. When we arrived, I was immediately smitten with the layout of the table. It was draped in flowers and large playing cards with a mad-hatters hat on the side. We were provided with a menu showing us what we would be given for afternoon tea. The only thing we needed to choose was the tea. I went for a floral green tea with jasmine and rose petals- I love a floral tea. It arrived in an adorable tea pot decorated with little pigs which was a lovely touch.
The Afternoon Tea
As the afternoon tea arrived, I was completely blown away with the presentation. It was definitely the prettiest afternoon tea I’ve ever had and I could not stop taking photos! Traditional afternoon tea is served on three tiers. The first tier is meant for sandwiches, the next for scones and the top tier tends to be filled with cakes and pastries. At the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea however, there was so much food (yay) that only the sweet treats were on the tiered stand. To aid the presentation, the rest was spread out over the table.
The sandwiches are always the best part of the afternoon tea for me, however they were the second best on this occasion (I’ll tell you my favourite part later). Kona offered a vegetarian selection of sandwiches which I was really impressed with. Some places don’t put much effort into vegetarian options but at Kona, they were delicious. I loved how each sandwich was made with a different flavoured bread. There were four different sandwiches overall, each with an Alice in Wonderland theme. They were called ‘Bird in the Tree’ (thyme roasted vegetables on carrot bread}, ‘Alice’ (English cucumber and cream cheese on beetroot bread), Lory (Cornish yarg and tomato with Redcurrant Jelly), ‘Footman’ (ratatouille & olives on white bread). I was really pleased that they offered refills of the sandwiches as I find it frustrating when only one plate of sandwiches is offered. How can that fill anyone up? I had three plates which is less than what I usually have but I was too excited to try the rest of the afternoon tea.
Next were the scones. Usually at afternoon teas, there are only two scones offered to each person but on this occasion there were three! There was a sultana scone, a plain scone and a chocolate chip scone. They were accompanied by Cornish clotted cream and raspberry preserve. A controversial topic in England is which to put on the scone first: the cream of the jam. I personally spread the jam first and then top it with the cream. Which way do you choose to top your scones?
The next part of the feast was my favourite to look at but my least favourite to taste. The strawberry glazed victoria sponge cake was decorated beautifully but it was a little dry for my liking. The other sweet treats consisted of: ‘Pocket Watch’ (bubble gum macaroon which tasted JUST like bubble gum), ‘Caterpillar’s Mushroom’ (raspberry marshmallow), ‘Queen of Hearts’ (mango tart), ‘Dodo’s’ (watermelon jelly) and ‘Tea Cup’ (white chocolate mousse). Each of the cakes and pastries were a overly sweet for me, as I often find with afternoon teas but I still enjoyed trying the different flavours and the fact that they were so beautiful meant that I didn’t mind at all!
We completed our afternoon tea with my favourite part of the whole dining experience: ‘Drink Me’, a strawberry potion which was a perfectly sweet and fruity smoothie. It felt like a healthy end to the feast although I’m sure it was packed with sugar. An effective finishing touch is that if you are too full to finish all the treats in the Alice and Wonderland afternoon tea, you can take them home in a cutely decorated London themed box.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea and I think it could be the best themed afternoon tea in London. The food was delicious and plentiful but the presentation is what gave this afternoon tea an edge for me. So much thought went into it, like the little chocolate Queen of Hearts card which topped one of the sweet treats. I also loved the fact that they seemed to go above and beyond, for example, by offering three different scones rather than the usual two. Finally, any afternoon tea which offers free sandwich refills is always a winner for me.
Have you had afternoon tea before? Which has been your favourite? Tell me in the comments below.
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