Fantasy fairytale lovers can fall down the rabbit hole as Sanderson London relaunches its Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.
Sanderson London have long been renowned for their magical Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea, and as the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic is nigh they have decided to reinvent the experience and attempt to best their own menu.
Settling into our snug table for two it’s easy to see why people love it so much. Before the food has even arrived, I sat with a glass of pink champagne in the closest thing to Wonderland London has. Set outside under big floaty umbrellas (and heated lamps of course – this is Britain after all), the courtyard garden of the hotel is a different world in its own right. Complete with a faux-waterfall, moss, and a lot of exotic looking plants that I don’t know the name of, it’s easy to believe you’ve been transported to a different world just from the setting.
After finding the menu hidden within the pages of a vintage novel and being entertained by the music-box sugar-box for longer than I probably should have been, the first course appeared. It was a fantastic quartet of mini sandwiches, with a smoked salmon and caviar scotch egg, ham and smoked applewood croque-monsieur (the finest grilled cheese you will ever consume), a crab eclair and a cucumber & cream cheese sandwich on lime bread. The vegetarian option also comes with a blended avocado cone which was presented like a mini ice-cream. Surreal!
Feeling suitably impressed, we had another glass of champagne and waited not so patiently for the sweets to come out. When we were presented with a four-tier cake stand of magnificence the room was suddenly filled with Cheshire cats, grins ear to ear.
We started at the bottom with a ‘Drink Me’ strawberry smoothie and the classic scone with jam and cream. An afternoon tea staple, the crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside scones were no surprise but were perfectly made (as, we would come to realise, was everything on the menu). After that we dove in unashamedly to the main event – the Alice In Wonderland themed cakes and treats. From a Queen of Hearts Oreo cookie soldier to a Red Velvet ladybird, the Banana Bread-and-Butterfly to The White Rabbit’s pocket watch macaroon no detail had been forgotten, no page of the source left unturned to find inspiration for a true experience. To top it all off, hidden among some grass on the top tier were two tiny carrot meringues, nestled so they would only be found by the most enthusiastic of diners. Needless to say it didn’t take us long.
The icing on the (many) cakes was the beautifully crafted cocktail menu. With four “Chapters” – the last of which being non-alcoholic for the younger or perhaps more sensible Wonderland explorers – all taking not-so-subtle hints from dessert flavours (raspberry tart, tiramisu, and key lime pie) my personal favourite was the latter: Chapter Three – A Caucus Race and A Long Tale. Delicately refreshing, it was the alcoholic version of a lime sorbet, and made it a lot easier to forget the amount of chocolate we had just consumed.
Normally I would stick to the old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mantra, but resurfacing from Sanderson London just as Alice did from Wonderland marvelling at what we had just experienced, London seemed a smidgen dingier than usual. I can see why she went back…
Tea is served daily and is priced between £48 and £65 per person.
Sanderson London | 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG