You know how sweet places matter to me. Yet around Covent Garden, this proved tricky. There are delicious cupcakeries and pâtisseries, yes, yet with very limited seating space.
Wasn’t there an atmospheric lounge where one could spend the afternoon with friends? One that would wow friends visiting from abroad, where we could dream together while sipping on a fragrant cup of tea or a succulent cocktail, forgetting the time entirely?
Well, I have found it. Just a two minutes walk from the market. Perfect location.
Step in One aldwych hotel and you will find a soothing luxurious atmosphere, a lovely cocoon. On each side, huge windows bring natural light in - on a sunny day, it has a golden touch to it. Look around – there are amazing work of art around the whole building, such as this man in a tiny boat rowing his way through the room. The florist has amazing skills too - his creations always fill the room magniciently, a botanical firework. Whether you are a regular visitor or a first time guest, you will be treated as a first class guest, an elegant and delicate approach that matters most to this independant palace.
Follow me - it is afternoon tea season! With a glass of champagne any rainy day suddenly feels bubblier…
Here tradition is brought a modern twist. The triangle sandwiches offer delicious salmon with a hint of wasabi, generous chicken, yummy sauces, cucumber slices so thin they almost feel creamy, seedy bread… but you will completely fall for the canape versions of Welsh rarebit and Scotch eggs. Miniature versions you see, allows more focus on taste and oh, those savoury bites are just to die for.
Ah, this melted cheddar with bechamel that fills the mouth, the discreet Worcester sauce that makes the whole difference, the tomato locking all the taste in a single mouthful… And the quail egg, still runny yolk with a pinch of celery salt, the herby meat followed by the crunchy bready wrapping. I had never been a fan of Scotch eggs - a bit dry to my taste but here the balance is just right, moist and tender. Try it with a little caper sauce to add crunchiness to the texture…
You could stop there. You would be totally satisfied with a whole plate of those. But you have already looked up and you cannot resist trying the cakes anymore. Start with the carrot cake - amazing portion yet very light, a little poem of carrot, raisins, walnuts. Well done for not killing it with icing but sprinklinh chopped hazelnuts instead.
Next on your list is the chocolate fondant – dark cacao laced with raspberry. A very dramatic effect that will suprise any chocoholic by its intensity finishing on the cloud effect of the cream. So complex it feels like it is telling a story…
The star is the Battenberg, so cheerful in colour, an explosion of colour. If like me, you had only tasted Mr Kipling’s ones, make a special detour for this. The almond paste is incredibly refined, and you can taste the vanilla in the cake, the apricot jam keeping the squares together. I cannot understand why such an amazing cake does not appear more in British cafés. The graphism is so inspiring too, you feel like piling the squares, making a Rubik’s cube with them or bite straight into it.
Take the opportunity to rediscover the Eton Mess too with this autumn version served in a cute glass. Caramelised apple compote, a layer of vanilla treat then whipped cream and crunchy sugary topping. Dig all the way down to try and have the four ingredients on your spoon and let it melt slowly on your tongue…
Or give up on the clotted cream and enjoy it on their brioche-like scones - that is just royal.
The bonus? The more the merrier. 4 friends and one afternoon tea is free. 8 friends and you can enjoy a complimentary magnum of champagne.
As it is situated at the heart of theatreland (The Lion King is played in the nearby street), One Aldwych has thought of an idea for those who want to enjoy the magic of an evening a little longer. Come after 22.00 to enjoy the 10 after 10 offer: one of their amazing desert (and the description will make your mouth water) and a glass of wine for £10… Worth noting too are their movies evening - £42.50 is quite a deal for a 3-course dinner, projection, popcorn and champagne! Being a mum, I love their brunch and family film option too. This is a particularly child-friendly hotel. Little ones get their own slippers and robe, a book is left on their bed for bedtime stories, the room service offers special dishes and smoothies for them…
Have a look at the website to discover the beauty of the rooms. This sublime hotel puts a special care in small details, a personalised atmosphere and really goes the extra mile to make your stay feel festive. I can only tip my hat to them.
Afternoon tea, £26.50
Champagne afternoon tea, £35
Teatime in Wonderland was invited by OneAldwych for their gorgeous afternoon tea