Bubbles and Cream in South Kensington at Ampersand:
I’ve been out and about checking out some of London’s offers. Lime and Tonic are an exclusive member’s club that finds you things you might not find for yourself and gets you great deals. So, when they suggested that I went along and trialled one of their new offers, I was curious. And, although it’s my area of London, I hadn’t heard of the recently opened Ampersand Hotel
The drawing room where tea is served is a refreshing take on French style salons de the, with chic upholstery and modern flooring complemented by some interesting prints (look closely!). There’s also a rather splendid Victorian coffee machine on the bar, fronted by a selection of cakes and patisserie should you want to choose for yourself.
On advice from our waiter we tried both the chef’s and the traditional afternoon tea options with champagne (which turned out to be Moet & Chandon). Tartines and gougeres are intended to show off the fillings, rather than dominate with bread. Honey glazed ham, sauce Gribiche made an excellent tartine as did cheese and fruit chutney.
For my money, the softer fillings of Coronation chicken and Goldstein’s smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese worked rather better with the slightly sweet and wonderfully light gougeres. Scones came with jam and clotted cream in two different ways.
While the traditional tea had small pots of each as you’d expect my preference was for the rather funkier chef’s version with the jam and cream layered into a small preserving jar. No arguing about which comes first here! If I’m honest, the scones were dryer than I’d have liked but maybe that’s my personal preference.
Cakes were delicate morsels of sweetness. I loved the pretty pink raspberry macaron with its gold ampersand and the amazing dark chocolate cake with smurf blue topping. My companion thought they were a bit too sweet – but to be honest, they worked well for me. They were noticeably tiny, almost petit fours sized and so the sweetness was not in the least overwhelming.
There’s also an excellent selection of good quality teas – I enjoyed my silver tipped jasmine from a teapot that was both pretty and very functional.
Even without the Lime and Tonic member offer this is a remarkably good value champagne tea in a luxurious and classy environment at £25. And with Lime and Tonic, it becomes an affordable luxury. Just don’t tell too many people!
Disclaimer: I enjoyed a complimentary afternoon tea at Ampersand through Lime and Tonic
10 Harrington Road, London SW7 3ER