Sanderson Hotel. 50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG. Mad Hatters Afternoon tea for four. £48 pp.
Not watching the clock, not waiting for the next thing, that’s what you get from this relaxing afternoon tea that harks back to the childhood classic of C.S.Lewis’s Alice in Wonderland.
Seated in the utopian courtyard of the five star Sanderson Hotel, you may as well be sat in the Great British countryside, turn of the 20th Century. Everything moves at a slower pace and you’re definitely in for a creative afternoon with unique flavour combinations.
Their great first impression was cemented with the table settings; the menu is presented in an old chorus hardback, the sugar is a working music box, complete with ballerina, and the plates line up with the saucers to create motifs from Alice in Wonderland. These little touches give you that child-like excitement for what’s to come.
Starting with the bottom tier you’re presented with a selection of high-end sandwiches and even a quail egg. The croque monsieur comes out warm and the crab roll is juicy, made complete with a delicious brioche bun, and a round of cucumber, cream cheese sandwiches on pesto bread.
The star of the show however is the quail scotch egg, surrounded by smoked salmon and topped with a taster of caviar.
It really impressed that everything was a little bit different to the ordinary egg cress sandwiches typical of an afternoon tea. It felt a bit like a foodie experiment and definitely paid off.
Probably what everyone looks forward to the most, the two tiers of sweet treats along with a serving of fresh scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. In the top cup of the tiers, there’s also some meringue hiding in the grass…
Here’s what you get in full: strawberry jammy dodgers, chessboard chocolate gateaus, pocket watch macaroons, chocolate and pistachio caterpillars, marshmallow mushrooms, lemon curd cakes, watermelon meringues, a sugary ‘Drink Me’ potion and the scones to finish. Tantalising to say the least.
If that wasn’t enough a waiter also brought us over a chocolate and honeycomb ice-cream presented in a tiny plant pot!
For presentation my favourite was the chessboard chocolate gateau and for taste, that would have to be the super rich and moist lemon curd cake.
Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea
The tea selection is presented in the little Alice ‘drink me’ vials famous from the book and Disney film, each themed to a character. The Queen of Hearts has strawberry notes and Alice is a black tea with blackberries and citrus flavours.
I couldn’t resist opting for the Mad Hatter, a bitter green tea that was really light and quite citrusy. About halfway through our sitting we were offered another hot drinks order (included) and I took the chance to try their Americano coffee. It turned out to be a good choice and worked as a nice pick me up for the sugar crash that was trying to breakthrough.
So, you could say I enjoyed it! Before visiting I’d read mixed reviews online but took it all with a pinch of salt as different people like different things.
For me personally, it was one of the best afternoon teas in London. Why? So much thought has gone into the savoury and sweet array of foods and the presentation and taste can’t be faulted. Where else would you go for a quail egg wrapped in smoked salmon topped with caviar, and a strawberry heart ‘jammy dodger’?
Nearest tubes are Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street.
Have you been and agree or disagree? Let me know. You can also read my review of the afternoon tea at The Ritz, London and stay up to date, follow me on Instagram.