A fortnight ago, Vicky and I went for afternoon tea at The Sanderson, Oxford Street. You will all know by now how much I love going for afternoon tea and I hadn’t been to The Sanderson before – Vicky had (you can read her post, here) and had thoroughly recommended it and I’m urging you guys to go if you get the chance, it truly is unique.
Guests are invited to the tumble down the rabbit hole and enjoy the wonderful world of tea – with an Alice in Wonderland themed, Mad Hatters tea party. The photos really don’t do the experience justice and it’s worth every penny – £38pp, £48pp with Champagne or £58pp with Pink Champagne. I know I will definitely be returning.
Upon arrival, we walked through the foyer and cocktail bar (very nice and perfect for pre-dinner drinks... the cocktails – from what I saw – looked divine), before reaching the terrace, where we were sat. Even though it’s technically outside and it was October, there are ample patio heaters meaning, if anything, you’re too hot.
The table was decorated perfectly, with bespoke crockery depicting magical birdcages, zebras and other imaginative ideas; sugar cubes were kept in an old wind-up jewellery box, complete with jingle and pirouetting ballerina; the menu was placed in the middle of an antique novel (I can’t remember the name of our one) and the napkin rings even had riddles printed on them. Mine was:
A box without hinges, lock or key. Yet a golden treasure lies within.
Do you know what it is? I certainly didn’t.
The waiter brought over the selection of fantasy teas, the loose leaves in glass bottles with ribbons explaining which each was – a great way to find out which we’d like. I knew I wouldn’t like the rhubarb & custard, while mint choc chip smelt lovely but I didn’t think it’d be right in tea form. I do like fruity teas so the strawberries & cream would have been lush, I’m sure – but I went for something different in the apple pie. It really reminded me of the classic dessert, even by the smell; there was so much cinnamon, it was a real winter warmer. There were also traditional teas and coffees on offer and we even opted for a flute of Champagne.
The three-tier stand soon followed, along with our pots of tea, which were adorned with the faces of kings! We started off with the sandwiches, which looked like colourful mini rolls. As always, there were four varieties to sample, which were: smoked Cumbrian ham with wholegrain mustard on sun-dried tomato bread, cucumber & chive cream cheese on spinach bread, cold smoked salmon & lemon butter on dark rye bread and finally an egg mayonnaise with watercress & smoked sea salt on lemon bread. My favourites were the salmon and the ham – the sun-dried tomato bread was just amazing. We even ordered more sandwiches, although Vicky didn’t like the salmon and I didn’t like the egg.
The daily quiche was cheese, mushroom & spinach, so obviously I didn’t eat that. I didn’t have the savoury scone either, which was a black olive scone – so moved onto the sweet treats which were all too good to eat.
First I tucked in to the sweet scone (sultana and cinnamon), which I ate with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scone was light in texture and smaller than the norm, I think I could have eaten two or three of those.
The next tier had three delicious imaginative creations and I started off with the tick tock Victoria sponge – layers of sponge between vanilla cream and raspberry jam, topped with raspberry and decorated with a white chocolate clock face. That was my favourite until I tucked into the matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate tea cup. The mousse was heavenly, really silky with the addition of chocolate coated popping candy which was a real surprise. I finished with the melting mango cheesecake in white chocolate boat. Even for me, it was far too sickly sweet and I couldn’t manage any more than a couple of mouthfuls. The base was good though – a mix between chocolate sponge and biscuit!
On the top tier, we had three strawberry & cream marshmallow mushrooms, which looked a lot better than they tasted – for me there was a real lack of strawberry. The centrepiece was pretty spectacular: a plant pot filled with edible pea shoots and mini meringue carrots – they were just the cutest and I wish there was more than one each in the pot. So imaginative.
There was also something called ‘Jelly Wonderland’ on the menu but we were so full we didn’t see what that was about – there’s always next time, I guess! We did however finish our magical experience with the ‘drink me’ potion: a small glass bottle with a trio of layers. I was very much in wonderland as I sipped the passion fruit jelly, coconut panna cotta and mango coulis. The perfect blend of sweet and sour and the perfect finale to our whimsical afternoon.