Saturday, 8 May 2010

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea Party

Originally I read about the Mad Hatter themed Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel in March - it was timed to coincide with the release of the Alice In Wonderland 3D movie.

Of course it sounded like a lot of fun and since I haven't actually had 'afternoon tea' having lived in the UK for around 8 years now, I rang up straightaway to book. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone else in London reads the same magazine (Stylist - its handed out for free around London on Tuesdays and is pretty good for a freebie) and I was shocked that afternoon tea on the weekends was booked out until May! Sanderson had only planned to run the themed afternoon tea until the end of March but due to demand it is now 'ongoing' and will most likely run throughout summer.

So having waited for almost 2 months for afternoon tea, there were great expectations! We decided to go themed - not quite wearing hats, but we all made the effort to wear fascinators. pucca_love_01

In the hotel lobby the group gathered on a lip shaped sofa and pondered whether the hanging egg chair was for decoration or use. Past the bar filled with chairs with eyes which stared as we walked past, we arrived in the courtyard garden and were seated beside the flowers and fountain.

The Courtyard Gardens in the Sanderson

The pursuasive waitress brought us our bubbly to celebrate nothing in particular. A few of us were particularly ravenous so when they brought out our 3-tiered servers filled with themed baked goodies we were ready to pounce but the waitress paused to explain the recommended order to eat the food - it was pretty much eat from the bottom up.

Following the order, we started with the scones. They were crumbly and delicious with a helping of clotted cream and runny dripping strawberry jam. The rainbow sandwiches had a nice mix of fillings - from salmon and cream cheese in green spinach bread to saffron yellow ham and mustard.

The cakes were every sweet-tooth's dream - cupcakes with a surprise tangy jam layer and crackling candy topping, a hazelnut and passion fruit tart with a pocket-watch clockface chocolate topper, and a Queen of Hearts tea cake with a tart foamy filling that melts in the mouth.

To finish, we had not one but two desserts! Quickly scoffed was the peppermint ice cream covered in chocolate on a stick which melted immediately, and a two sided 'hot & cold' pineapple lollipop. [Note - as some particular members of the group *ahem* found, the blue salt holding the sticks in the teacup are NOT part of the food!]

All in all, as well as being a colourful food adventure this was certainly an exploration of what we Chinese call the 'mouth-feel' of food. Not just the texture of the food - the temperature changes, the crackling, the crumbling, the melting - it was a fairly eccentric meal altogether.

We left the courtyard gardens hyped up on all the sugar and decided to test the strength of the hanging egg chair - it didn't come crashing to the ground as we feared!

Happy eating,


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