No trip to London would be complete without experiencing an authentic British afternoon tea experience. This is one of Britain’s quaintest and greatest tradition, dating back almost 200 years ago, with its attribution going to Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford and a close friend to Queen Victoria. It’s been rumored that she thought dinner was too late in the day, and lunch didn’t fight off her hunger for long enough, so she developed a habit of taking tea and sandwiches mid-afternoon. Shortly after, she starting inviting her elite and high society friends to join in this tradition and by the end of the 19th century, everyone was joining in the fun.
If you’re looking for a spectacular high tea experience in London, than you need to visit the Reform Social & Grill in the Mandeville Hotel. Not only does it offer an amazing and authentic British afternoon tea experience that’s inspired by the 1940’s and 50’s with its vintage fancies it comes presented on traditional three tiered tray that makes the entire experience feel upscale and fancy. The feast includes the perfect selection of fresh finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, lemon pound cake, apple turnovers, treacle tarts and fresh baked mini cakes, along with the best pot of tea you’ll ever have.
The Mandeville Hotel is located in the oh-so fashionable Marylebone Village and just minutes from Hyde Park and the Reform Social & Grill found within the hotel has a real British gentlemen’s club feel to it. I love how, although afternoon tea is normally catered towards a female audience, the restaurant has managed to have somewhat of a more relaxed and masculine twist, while still maintaining its sophisticated and true authentic charm while catering to both the ladies and fellas.
The tea set itself is very feminine and dainty thanks to its soft pastel watercolour designs and butterfly motifs along the side. The chairs are soft and comfy, the atmosphere is relaxing and romantic with the sounds of soft Jazz playing in the background. Even though a lot of the sandwiches are made with meat, our server went above and beyond to find the perfect meal selections for our vegetarian needs. Since we’re not huge tea drinkers, he suggested a fine loose reformed blend that wasn’t too strong for our palettes. The entire display for food was incredible, almost too pretty to eat.
The desserts were without a doubt the star of the show and the highlight of the tea experience. Each and every single sweet treat will not disappoint. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, I think you’ll enjoy them all? Total cost for an authentic British afternoon tea experience at the Mandeville Hotel, £26.50 and worth every penny.