Last Updated on September 2, 2021
Gluten and dairy-free afternoon tea at One Aldwych
Who doesn’t like an afternoon tea? It is such a relaxing way to enjoy lovely food and catch up with a friend. One Aldwych, the luxury hotel in Covent Garden, has always been an exceptional location for meeting and dining with friends. It’s perfectly located, a short walk from Waterloo station across the bridge but also easy to reach from Charing Cross and Embankment or from Leicester Square and Soho. When I was given the chance to experience the new classic Afternoon Tea, created by chef Dominic Teague, I was intrigued and excited to go. While One Aldwych is best known for its quirky Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea which is still being served, what makes the classic tea unique is that it is gluten-free and dairy-free. So, it’s an ideal treat for anyone with food intolerances. The kitchen at Indigo, One Aldwych is even approved by the coeliac society. But, for the most part, you wouldn’t realise unless you knew.
Tea was served in the lobby, refurbished since my last visit and looking pristine and very smart as a result. It’s an airy space with comfortable rust-coloured velvet seating and a stunning living orchid tree as the centrepiece.
We were warmly greeted and shown to our table by our waitress who explained the menu. To start a glass of champagne, Lallier, Grand Reserve, non-vintage which was light and refreshing. There are two alternative cocktails to choose from if your preference is a cocktail – an Earl Grey fizz and a Matcha Sour. There are also champagne upgrades to Lallier, Grand Rosé or to Billecart-Salmon.
Instead of the usual choice of a round of sandwiches the savoury element was a beautifully presented platter of dainty savouries:
A truffle mushroom toasty with fried quail’s egg was delicious with the quail egg just runny enough to moisten the toasty while the coronation chicken wrap was a twist on the classic sandwich. We loved the bite-sized roast dry-aged beef and caramelised onion pie with crispy pastry, a rich filling and a topping of mash and caramelised onion. The charred aubergine on rosemary focaccia came with tomato jam which gave this savoury morsel a slightly sweet and spicy element. Finally, John Ross smoked salmon and cucumber with a topping of salmon eggs was soft and refreshing.
It was difficult to choose from the list of specially selected teas as they all sounded excellent. I picked Jade Oolong which was fragrant and fruity, while my friend chose Silver Needle a delicately flavoured white tea.
Next to appear were bowls containing small, fresh from the oven scones; one classic and one salted caramel flavour. These were served with berry jam, chocolate ganache and coconut butter. We thought they were very tasty though they had quite a different texture to that of normal scones and the coconut butter was light and fluffy, rather different to our normal clotted cream.
Finally, a cake-stand of exquisite cakes to tempt our eyes.
Coconut, mango, and lime rice pudding was served in a ceramic egg with tiny mango bread soldiers. Creamy and fragrant it was nothing like nursery rice pudding, nor for that matter like nursery egg and soldiers, though it certainly looked the part.
The light and dainty strawberry and cream parfait was carefully recreated with raspberries for my companion who has a strawberry allergy.
My favourite a lemon and black sesame polenta cake with One Aldwych rooftop honey was soft, sticky with honey, topped with morsels of honeycomb crunch and utterly delicious.
Blackcurrant and green tea matcha delice was unusual with a lovely tangy flavour of blackcurrant and grassy matcha notes. To complete the sweets a bitter chocolate mousse with pistachio and meringue.
Traditional Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych is £58.00.
Alternatively, Afternoon Tea with English Sparkling wine or a cocktail is £70.00.
Afternoon Tea with Champagne starts at £72.00
Click here to book your afternoon tea
London WC2B 4BZ
Tel: 020 7300 1000