Floral Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych:
A favourite London address of mine for a long time now, the chic hotel One Aldwych is home to two wonderful restaurants, a private cinema and a stunning bar. Now, I’ve lurked in the bar for a cocktail or two and bar snacks before now, but I’ve never had tea there before. So, I was thrilled to be asked along to try the new spring Floral Afternoon Tea
Sitting by the window in the high ceilinged lobby, I could watch the world go by. Tourists with cameras, double-decker buses, black cabs all passing the window and circumnavigating the red telephone box. There is something about afternoon tea that makes me feel very patriotic.
Of course a glass of Lallier Reserve champagne helps. Or, in the case of my companion a Floral Martini (this one is Rose Petal, made with Hendrix gin, shaken with home-made Earl Grey Blue Flowers syrup, ginger, lemongrass and rose petal liqueur). I’m not a great martini fan, but this particular cocktail was quite sweet and light.
It’s quite a hard act to get that mix of pretty, floral, spring things and ‘modern’. One Aldwych has contemporary feel and you couldn’t imagine lace doilies on the tea stand. But our tiered stand of sandwiches, savouries and sweet dishes was at once delicate and feminine while staying minimalist and light.
The jasmine smoked salmon bridge rolls were filled with home-made smoked salmon that had just a hint of floral notes.
Chicken and wild garlic flower sandwiches looked a little nondescript but were delicious, with well flavoured chicken breast complemented by a subtle garlic mayonnaise. And there were egg mayonnaise sandwiches delicate enough even for me to eat and enjoy.
I wish I could produce canapés as pretty as the goats curd and chive quiche. The pastry was perfectly crumbly and the filling nicely moist. No soggy bottoms here either.
Scones were lovely, fresh and served with the option of elderflower and rhubarb or plum jam and clotted cream – and there was also a lovely soft lavender brioche with apple and gorse flower compote on the side.
The cakes are usually my downfall for afternoon tea. I find a lot of patisserie too sweet, but for the most part these were lovely. The lemon drizzle cake was like a perfect doll sized version of the sort of cake you might make at home.
The chocolate marquise a subtle and delicate blend of tastes with a tangy orange blossom jelly topping.
The pannacotta had wobble. And a great flavour combination of vanilla and violet leaves. Of the sweet dishes this was the only one that bordered on being a little too sugary for me, for the most part everything was very delicate and subtle.
I could happily have taken a box of the rosewater jelly home with me.
There was a relatively limited selection of teas, although a good range. My choice of jasmine with flowers was ideal for me, while my companion enjoyed a more robust English Breakfast. I’d have liked to sample the Earl Grey Blue Flowers too, which apparently contains real blue mallow blossoms.
I particularly liked hearing that everything on the menu, with the exception of the clotted cream, is made in-house. And, I loved the presentation with fresh, foraged gorse flowers, pretty violets and pansy petals.
Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych costs £26.50 per person or £35 per person including a Floral Martini or a glass of champagne. It’s a lovely experience for a special occasion. Find someone to treat – or find a reason to treat yourself!
Our tea was complimentary but there was no obligation to write a positive review.