The Mad Hatters Tea Party hosted by Sanderson Hotel has quickly become a favourite amongst Londoners, bookish or not. This luxury boutique hotel is located right in the heart of London in the Soho area and you must add it to your list of places to eat and drink in London. There’s a beautiful bar and restaurant, as well as a covered outdoor terrace, which is where this quirky afternoon tea is served. Here’s my Sanderson Afternoon Tea review:
But first, tea.
First things first, you’ll have to choose which sort of tea you’ll want. Of course there’s Earl Grey, English Breakfast and more but there are much more exciting options. We were presented with a tray of small bottles, each containing loose leaf tea. In true Alice in Wonderland style, each of these bottles came with a small label describing its contents. And you’ll need to look at these carefully for these are no ordinary teas! Green tea infused with fruit flavours, oolong infused with chocolate and orange, black tea with hints of blackcurrant or something else altogether? The Alice in Wonderland experience begins right from the moment you sit down and select your tea!
The idea is that you take each bottle and smell the loose leaf tea before choosing your option. After much sniffing I opted for the “Mad Hatter”, the green tea, whilst my mum chose “Queen of Hearts”, a vanilla/fruit blend. Don’t worry though, the tea is unlimited! If you change your mind later or want to try more than one of these wonderful concoctions, you’ll be able to request more.
The tea is served in gorgeous teapots featuring a King and Queen’s head on either side and a handmade paper crown to boot! The crockery is also whimsical with some featuring carousels, animals or acrobats.
What about the food?
The afternoon tea menus are hidden inside vintage books, confirming for me that this afternoon tea is a book lover’s dream. The book on my table was tales from Paris – it must’ve been fate! There are three options for afternoon tea, each a little snazzier than the last. The cheapest option is £48 per person and includes everything you see in this post. If you want to level up, you can upgrade to the Mad Hatters Champagne Afternoon Tea, which includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée, N.V., and costs £58. If that’s not fancy, enough, you can upgrade to the Mad Hatters Pink Champagne Afternoon Tea. This includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé, Brut, N.V. and a pink floquet cake, the infamous flamingo cakes I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of. This option costs £65 per person.
…and then the food arrived!
A tower of miniature sandwiches and sweet treats, all decorated to perfection to fit in with the Alice in Wonderland theme. No detail is spared here with each every item linked to a character or part of the Lewis Carroll tale. We started at the bottom with the savoury options. There are four savoury items and an exotic “Drink Me” potion on the bottom tier. Sadly the drink me potion no longer comes with a special “Drink Me” label as I had hoped but it was very tasty all the same!
We started with the green double tier sandwiches. This isn’t your standard cucumber sandwich as it’s served in pesto bread with a helping of cream cheese. Super refreshing!
Then we were onto the stack of King of Hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieurs – my favourite item from the menu! They’re very simple but sometimes all you want is a nice ham sammy and these are as good as they come. I even ordered seconds! Remember, the tea and sandwiches are UNLIMITED!
Round and round we go and it’s now time for the cornish crab brioche rolls with spiced avocado and coriander. These delicate rolls washed down well and were another favourite of mine on the menu (and I hate coriander!). They were swiftly followed with the even fancier smoked salmon Scotch quails eggs with caviar and cream cheese. I loved that these were served in egg cups to stop them rolling around! Like I said, no detail is spared.
There ended the savoury part of the afternoon tea (but remember you can always order more of these later!). It was time to dig into the sweet treats. Each of these were decorated to perfection and I was particularly impressed by the Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon – just look at the design! There are three different components stuck together and then the macaron is even sprayed in edible gold paint.
The Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodgers were soft and crumbly, which I didn’t expect. If you look closely you can see where I tried to pick the second Jammy Dodger up and it crumbled instantly! The rose jam was incredible though and the design is very cute.
Another expertly decorated item on the menu is the mocha chessboard gateau. It’s gooey, it’s soft, it’s chocolatey and delicious! The chessboard and chess piece detail are amazing and again they’ve used edible silver spray for extra effect.
The lemon financiers were probably my least favourite item on the menu but that could also be because I left them to the very end when I really didn’t have any room left! They are supposed to represent Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, which I suppose you can guess from their stout shape.
Now that large grass and teacup structure on the top isn’t just for show. Look closely and you’ll see there are two orange meringues hidden inside! There are also some mushrooms around the base, and even a chocolate blue caterpillar. The marshmallows are the stars of the show here as they’re incredibly gooey and fluffy – and I don’t usually like marshmallows!
Now it wouldn’t be afternoon without scones with jam and cream, would it? These arrive with the rest of the food but are wrapped in a cloth bag to try and keep the warmth. Unfortunately they had mostly lost their warmth by the time I actually got round to eating mine. However, they were still crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and wonderfully dense. The problem was, the cute jars that the cream and jam came in were awfully round. Let me tell you, it’s no mean feat getting sticky cream out of a round jar with a straight knife!
Some time after we finished the main items on the cake stand, we were presented with two flower pots. What could these be? MORE food? These little pots, which do look very realistic, actually contain hazelnut ice cream with cookie crumble and honeycomb pieces on top. Much wow!
That was the end of the delightful food, but since the hot drinks were unlimited we stayed for a while longer, trying different types of tea and I even got a hot chocolate. Of course we couldn’t leave without taking a picture in the Sanderson’s iconic floral swing chair so a photoshoot ensued. The book I’m holding is actually a copy of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll that I purchased from Hatchard’s bookshop on my way to afternoon tea!
The afternoon tea is outdoors but under cover in case it rains. Each table is also provided with a warm and fluffy pink Laurent-Perrier blanket in case you feel a little chilly. In the centre is a large water piece featuring fountains and lots and lots of flamingos! This was a really lovely touch and it truly makes you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into another world.
All in all, I’d highly recommend the Mad Hatters Tea Party at Sanderson Hotel in London. It’s perfect for Alice in Wonderland fans, bookworms, or just afternoon tea aficionados! It’s consistently voted as one of the best afternoon teas in London and now I know why. The food and drinks are exceptional, the setting is gorgeous and the staff are attentive and friendly.
Make sure you add this Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea to your list of things to in London this summer! It’s only available in the Laurent-Perrier Courtyard Garden from the 2nd May to 26th September so book now here to avoid disappointment.
50 Berners Street
Three different options: £48, £58 and £65
(£35 per child)
Monday – Saturday 12.30pm – 4pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
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