Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea:
I should by now know that One Aldwych afternoon teas are superb, imaginative and elegant. Even if they are themed on a children’s book and film that’s about to hit the West End as a musical. It is something of a challenge to take something that is kitsch, quirky and dare I say it, slightly over the top and make it elegant. Yet, that’s just what One Aldwych have achieved with their themed tea.
The bar has been kitted out in shades of purple. Floral arrangements have hanging test-tubes. And cocktail charlie comes in a smoking flask, a mixture of Dalmore Whisky, Cherry Marnier, Chocolate Bitters and Champagne that worked well for me despite my normal dislike of whisky based drinks.
On to the tea itself, which could so easily have lapsed into a sugary grave, we started with a tray of sandwiches and savouries. All beautifully arranged as I’ve come to expect. And all created and made in house
My personal favourite was this tinyslice of heritage tomato tart
But a close second was the cured salmon with lemon mayonnaise on rye bread.
Not content with feeding us on scones and clotted cream (the only component of the tea that isn’t made in house), our basket of scones was supplemented with blueberry brioche and cocoa bean financiers. All warm, freshly baked and horribly moreish. But you know, it’s important to keep enough room for the ‘desserts’.
Now, one of the most remarkable things about both the Gene Wilder Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film and the later Johnny Depp version is visual impact. Re-creating that in ‘afternoon tea’ form is no mean task but the fantastic step arrangement of Candy Floss (rhubarb and custard and pear drop), Eton Mess, Chocolate Caramel Milk and Coconut Cream and Mango Golden Egg does just that.
Perhaps more significantly, recreating it in a form that suits an adult palate is even more of a challenge. While I have a sweet tooth, I often find the cakes and patisseries of afternoon tea too sweet. Not these though. The coconut cream filling of the golden egg was light and balanced beautifully with the slightly sharper mango ‘yolk’
Even the chocolate milk wasn’t overly sweet.
Now, there are tongue in cheek references throughout the tea to the characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory including blueberries for Violet Beauregard in the brioche, golden eggs for Veruca Salt and of course Charlie’s very own cocktail, so be prepared to smile as you dine!
If you’d like to be transported into the Chocolate Factory yourself, then this special Afternoon Tea runs until 2 September 2013 and costs just £29.50 per person or £38 with a smoking Cocktail Charlie or glass of Champagne. It would be a great precursor to seeing the show which opens on the 25th of June. The hotel will be offering some special ticket packages once the show does open so it’s worth checking their website
Lobby Bar at One Aldwych
020 7300 1070