Mad hatters tea party.
This is a review of the Afternoon tea and not of a stay at the hotel.
Visiting London with some friends I was looking for an unusual venue to take them for afternoon tea. I wanted something that would be fun and at the same time something that would give them something to remember to go home with that they could talk about. After looking around a bit I came across the Sanderson hotel who offer an Afternoon Tea with a difference. The mad hatter's tea party!
I should imagine there are not many people who have not heard of Lewis Carols 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Mad Hatters Tea party' and thought that this would be an ideal treat to remember on our memorable day out in London.
I rang the Sanderson hotel and made a reservation. The lady I spoke to was very helpful and accommodating. She took the booking and asked if I would like to receive a telephone call to remind me on the day I told her that it was not necessary. Within minutes of putting the phone down I received an email confirmation so I was quite impressed with this.
The Sanderson hotel.
The five star Sanderson hotel is quite a trendy place just off Oxford Street and is 'The Place' to see and be seen being frequented by younger and hip clientele. Although I say younger clientele obviously that did not include us however that being said we were sincerely welcomed by all the staff. Not that our group are ancient the majority of clients were perhaps in their 20's early 30's. It is very easy to get to from Oxford Street and the nearest tube station is Oxford circus. The hotel is part of the Morgan group of hotels.
The building has been converted from an office block into a swanky modern minimalist hotel. However from the outside it looks rather uninspiring and not that interesting being the former head office of the Sanderson and sons wallpaper manufacturing company. It is now a listed building. Entering the foyer and straight ahead of you is a Mae West sofa by Salvador Dali which are a massive pair of red lips to the left is the check in area whilst to the right is the long bar which is a hive of activity where those hoping to pick up a date are able to pose and drink with their overpriced drinks and cocktails. (£12.50 a shot!) Along the windows are net curtains that swish around in the breeze interspersed with mirrors and funky furniture and chairs including the longest chaise long I have ever seen.
Just beside the long bar is the Alfresco garden courtyard which is outside but under cover with water features in the centre. The perimeter is decorated with greenery and as the evening drew in candles in glass jars were lit and placed strategically around the courtyard. Afternoon tea is taken in the Courtyard in an outside garden that is covered with a see through marquee cover. As it is outside there are patio heaters placed in strategic places ensuring that you do not feel cold at all.
The afternoon Tea.
We were shown to our table and introduced to the menu. We were offered a glass of champagne or a cocktail which was included in the tea price. The champagne on offer was Laurent- Perrier Brut NV but we decided to go for one of the cocktails. We all chose Appry N' Jazz which contained Jasmine infused vodka, apricot brandy, cranberry juice and apricot jam.
We were asked if we would like our tea with our tea or after we chose to take it after the tea and enjoy the cocktails with it.
The finger sandwiches were called Rainbow coloured finger sandwiches.
Yellow Saffron bread filled with Ham and mustard.
Green Spinach bread with Smoked Salmon and cream cheese.
Red Beetroot bread with cucumber and black pepper.
Brown bread with egg mayonnaise and cress.
They were presented nicely on a little oblong white dish and we helped ourselves to them whilst we were drinking the cocktails. Each one of them was quite tasty and I preferred the Saffron and Spinach bread as they complemented the flavours of the fillings. We were given another plate of sandwiches once we had devoured them.
The waitress brought the three tiered cake stand which contained the following.
The bottom plate!
There was a little brown bottle with a little label hanging around the neck of the bottle with the words drink me! We were told to take three sips of this. Inside the bottle were three very tasty little sips of drink. The first taste was of passion fruit jelly which was really fruity and tasty. The second sip was coconut pana-cotta which was really creamy and tasty. The third and final sip brought what was described as an exotic foam this tasted nicely of Vanilla.
A Strawberry coloured heart with the words EAT ME inscribed on it. Inside the casing was a beautiful soft and smooth tangy strawberry mouse which was really lovely to eat and absolutely divine. The outer casing was made with chocolate.
Next on the lower plate was the Chocolate opera Rabbit's clock with the numbers around the edge and a squiggle of yellow icing for the hands of the clock. This cake was a layered chocolate and coffee sponge cake. It was quite tasty but not really to my liking I guess because it was in contrast to the Strawberry heart being less sweet.
The top plate with a cup holding the lollipops.
The next little delight was a Blueberry Lollipop which was supposed to turn your mouth from hot to cold. I think it was supposed to have some exploding sherbet type covering but to be honest it did very little for me and felt neither hot nor cold. We were all a bit puzzled by this one.
Hazelnut Praline ice-cream lollipop.
We were told not to bite into this but to place it on the tongue whole. Once you sucked the lollipop it explodes in the mouth releasing the melted ice cream. This was really tasty and nice.
The middle plate.
This contained two types of scone. One fruit and the other plain. These were in my opinion the best scones I have ever tasted. They were really tasty and just so moreish. They were accompanied by a little pot of strawberry jam and a dollop of clotted cream that were served on individual mini ladles. IF I were to be honest these were far better than the little cakes and novelty bits we had just eaten however they were fun things and were certainly something to talk about.
Finally we ordered our tea.
There are three types of Black tea you can order.
Classic. Assam, Darjeeling and Sri Lankan Uva.
Earl Grey Sri Lankan Uva, lemon peel, orange blossom and bergamot.
Rooibois Rooibois, Lapsang souchong and Cinnamon.
Or Herb teas.
The afternoon tea was quite a novel idea the food was nice and tasty, the atmosphere was fun, the staff worked really hard and were very attentive ensuring that we were well looked after. All in all I thought it was a very pleasant experience. Our friends really enjoyed it too which was an added bonus. The restaurant manager kept coming to see if we were happy and if there was anything else that we wanted. He was an exceptional employee and even offered us an extra cocktail on the house. Although the tea was booked initially for a two hour slot he told us to take our time and in fact we were there for nearly four hours. The toilet facilities were excellent although the ladies complained that there were only two cubicles available which bearing in mind they are upstairs and shared with the long bar they seem a bit inadequate because I understand they had to queue. The hand basins were sat on a crystal and glass looking table so were quite modern. They were exceptionally clean.
The price was £35 a head and in total the bill came to £156.98 including service charges.
Would I recommend it?
Yes most definitely if you are looking for something that is something out of the ordinary, something quirky and unusual. I probably would not go there again as I have had far superior but traditional afternoon teas although I would definitely recommend it for a fun or special afternoon. There were what appeared to be a couple of parties of girls presumably on a hen do. They were not raucous or disruptive and there seemed to be others there celebrating birthdays. Overall we had a really nice time and I would recommend it for a special occasion although not for children as it is more an adult venue.
The Sanderson Hotel
50 Berners Street
Telepehone 0207 300 1400
There website can be found at:-
The Sanderson Hotel is a five star hotel in central London which is part of the Morgans Hotel Group. The hotel was constructed in 1958 as the head office and show rooms for the Centennial Birthday of Arthur Sanderson & Sons, a company manufacturing wallpaper, fabrics and paint. In 1991 the building was listed as a Grade II building by the English Heritage Commission. In April 2000, the hotel was opened after a lengthy and expensive refurbishment.
A friend and I decided to go for a nice posh afternoon tea somewhere, and after a bit of research, decided on the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel, the idea obviously coming from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The blurb for this is 'guests are invited to tumble down the rabbit hole and enjoy the wonderful world of our Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea'.
The hotel is easy to get too, about equidistant between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus tube stations. Upon arriving at the hotel I was surprised at the drab looking exterior. It is definitely nothing special to look at. Upon opening the main doors though, it is very different! The main foyer is huge. As soon as you walk in you are confronted by Salvador Dali's large red lip sofa. To the left is the reception desk, and the large area in front of it is filled with a variety of chairs to sit in, including a Louis XV armoire and hand carved African furniture. To the right is the large bar, called the Long Bar.
We were whisked straight through here to the Courtyard Garden where the afternoon tea is served. It is a nice tranquil setting, with trees, fountains and a 'reflective pool'. There are a lot of tables in there, but not too close together so could still be perfect for an intimate get together.
We were seated at a table, and asked if we would like tea or coffee, with quite a variety of tea to choose from. We were then brought a glass of champagne to drink whilst we waited for our spread!
As a special addition when we were there, we were also asked to choose a key out of a collection in a top hat. Once we had finished our tea, we were to take this key to the gift shop to see if it opened the chest which contained a prize, such as a night's accommodation, or dinner for two in the restaurant.
All the food was brought out together, displayed beautifully. We went through the menu and ate according to the order on there.
To start with, we had Rainbow coloured Finger Sandwiches. There was Ham & English Mustard on yellow saffron bread; Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese on spinach bread; Cucumber & Black Pepper on beetroot bread and Egg Mayonnaise & Cress on brown bread. There was enough for one each, and they looked fantastic - such a colourful plate!
Next, there was the 'Eat Me!' - a Queen of Hearts Strawberries and Cream Mousse - a delicious pink heart shaped mousse encased in something that tasted like strawberry white chocolate. It had Eat Me piped on it in white.
Here we had to change from the schedule, as one of the two delicious lollies we had contained ice cream, and was steadily melting, so we had to eat it quickly! It was a Hazelnut Praline Ice-Cream Lollipop - a small, bite sized treat that did as it was claimed to - explodes in your mouth in a single bite. Its also has popping candy in which was a lovely surprise!
After this, we went back to the order on the menu and we had 'Drink Me!' It was small brown bottle with a little tag round its next, saying 'Drink Me' with a tiny straw sticking out of the top. This was the highlight of the whole spread. It was thick and quite difficult to drink through the straw, but was an amazing combination of Passion Fruit Jelly, Coconut Pana-cotta and Exotic Foam. We both decided that was our favourite!
Next was the Chocolate Opera Rabbit's Clock - a lovely light layered coffee and chocolate sponge cake covered in chocolate, with the 12, 3, 6 & 9 piped on the top for the clock dial!
After this, a Blueberry Lollipop which it claims will turn your mouth from hot to cold. It did. I have no idea how, but it really did! It was quite magical!
We finished this off with two scones a piece - one plain and one fruit, served with a little pot of jam, and a large dollop of clotted cream with a lovely cup of tea!
The whole thing was so cleverly done and well thought out. It tasted delicious and looked fantastic. Although the hotel did not look that great from the outside, it is easy to get to and quite a little haven of peace in Central London inside the Courtyard Garden. There was more than enough food for both of us and we both left feeling full and content! Unfortunately neither of us won one of the prizes, but the gift shop is also well worth a visit - small but very well laid out with lots of stuffed animals!
The Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea cost £35 including a glass of champagne. Extra glasses were offered at £12.50 each! If you wanted to order any more sandwiches, scones or cakes, these were charged at £4 per item. There is also a service charge of 15% added to the bill! It is not a cheap afternoon, but for a special treat, it is definitely worth a visit!
It is served from 2:00 PM-5:30 PM Monday to Friday, and 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM on Saturday & Sunday.
The Sanderson Hotel
50 Berners Street
Telepehone 0207 300 1400
For more information please see the Sanderson Hotel Website.
Thank you for reading my review - I hope you enjoyed it!