Emerald Street are re-advertising their 2-for-1 afternoon tea deals, following the success of previous campaigns. I’m sure everyone knows by now how much I love afternoon tea so I was quickly online, researching, printing out vouchers and finding people to go out with. I decided I’d treat mum for mother’s day and we rarely do things together so though it’d be good to get out the house and have a girly afternoon. Of all the places featured, she decided on 1901 at the Andaz, Liverpool Street – only half an hour away and easy to get to. I even said I’d drive to the station.
Afternoon tea at 1901 runs from 3-5pm and we booked the first slot. Upon arrival, our coats were taken and we had five minutes in the foyer before we were taken to our table. As we booked the cocktail afternoon tea, we began with our choice of cocktail. I went for early grey with gin, apricot jam and lemon juice, while mum opted for the boozy peppermint tea with apple schnapps, vodka and apple juice. Both were beautifully presented.
There were also an array of teas on offer, from the standard assam and earl grey, to fruit infusions and ‘clean’ blends. Mum played it safe with the breakfast tea and I went for the white tea as it sounded different. I can only describe it as pure and fragrant, but it was really lovely and refreshing.
The sandwiches and savouries followed and I love that these were brought out separately from the sweets – it was nice not having everything all at once. We started at the bottom of the stand with a mini prawn cocktail – a small petri dish full of shredded iceberg lettuce and prawns in marie rose sauce. We had a selection of three sandwiches – salmon, cream cheese & horseradish on white, egg mayonnaise & watercress on wholemeal and cucumber & cream cheese on white. The top tier consisted of granary rolls stuffed with ham, mixed leaves & mustard mayo.
As if we weren’t already full enough, our empty cake stand was taken away and replaced with another containing all the sweet treats. The freshly baked scones (a mix of plain and fruit) were wrapped within a napkin to retain their heat and we had a choice of preserves (raspberry, strawberry and orange marmalade) as well as traditional clotted cream. The pastries and cakes were divine and the waiter talked us through them: coconut cake, orange & mango cake, chocolate macaron, pistachio friande and to finish, a fruit & nut chocolate button. I’m not usually a fan of macarons and find they’re really overrated in the world of confectionary, but this was the perfect mix of chewy meringue and gooey ganache – really lovely without being too rich or sickly.
The setting was really beautiful – the large domed roof letting in lots of light and the large open plan made the room feel really grand and special. In the middle was an incredibly stocked bar, where we even saw the mixologists creating our cocktails. There was even a large wine cellar and it’s certainly a great place to enjoy a glass before or after a meal. The service too was good throughout; the staff were efficient in changing cutlery, offering more tea and keen to ensure we were having a good time. There was one slight mishap where fresh tea was brought to table but poured in the wrong cups, leaving us with a mixture of undrinkable tea, but this was dealt with well and became a minor side note.
With the 2-for-1 offer, we paid £35, although a 12.5% service charge was also added to the bill.
In all, my mum and I both had a really lovely afternoon and I’d definitely recommend 1901 if you’re looking for somewhere in Central London which isn’t as busy as some of the mainstream, popular places.