"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to life with our scrumdiddlyumptious afternoon tea"
With an enviable position in Covent Garden - in close proximity to many of the West End theatres, the British Museum, The Tate Modern and Somerset house to name a few - One Aldwych is a perfect haven of tranquillity to rest after some serious sightseeing, or to recharge before seeing a show. On entering the hotel through its chic lobby bar, guests take an illuminated lift up past various artworks to the Indigo restaurant. The space itself is bright and airy with soft ochre chairs and dark wooden tables. There is a mezzanine that overlooks the lobby bar, the large windows flood the space with light and provide a view to The Strand and Wellington street, home of the Lyceum Theatre.
Afternoon tea is nearly always a quintessentially-British affair, with loose leaf tea, finger sandwiches and dainty chinaware to boot. It's a fancy occasion. But afternoon tea at One Aldwych goes a step further. The ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ theme threads through the entire experience, from whimsical food and colourful crockery, to the famous character faces featuring on the menus.
It starts with an optional glass of Lallier Champagne or the house ‘Cocktail Charlie’, presented in a smoking teapot. Suitably theatrical. Delicious mini pastries and sandwiches follow, before the sweets arrive; a vast array of gorgeous treats inspired by the Roald Dahl tale. The golden eggs were pretty magical - thick milk chocolate, dusted with a golden sheen and filled with cheesecake. Candyfloss on a stick was a trip down memory lane, as was the flavour - a secret you are challenged to guess. Many tables looked to be celebrating a special occasion and the serving staff hit the right balance; attentive but not intrusive or fussy. Both savoury and sweet were topped up until we asked for mercy. In addition, they catered kindly to my daughter’s sensory eating issues, presenting her with a platter of meat and cheese - not a crumb of bread in sight much to her relief.
Afternoon tea. Check. Stunning location. Check. Decadent food. Check. Leaves you feeling like you’ve done something pretty special. CHECK. The theme is more than a nod to the story but it's not fully immersive, so the quintessential English-ness of the occasion is not lost. The experience crosses generations; I would take my Mum there for some one to one time, but equally, I loved dining there with my two young daughters.
I’m still holding out for the day when I can swim in a river of chocolate, lick edible wallpaper and play with the Oompa Loompas, but until then, I'll settle for this quirky London afternoon tea instead.