Admittedly, my Sundays are usually spent falling down a rabbit hole of Youtube cooking videos or episodes of The Office, but this weekend I had the pleasure of falling down a slightly more magical rabbit hole and arriving at The Egerton House Hotel for their Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea.
The charming Knightsbridge hotel sits on a quiet street, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Harrods and the Science Museum to feel like you’ve stepped away from the city. The intimate townhouse had a tradition, regal design true to its date of establishment in the 19th century, and the transportive nature of the interiors has been echoed in their Hatter’s Tea Party (£52 per person), a celebration to the V&A Museum’s brand new exhibition: Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser.
After one look at the menu, the attention to detail that went into creating this experience was obvious. We read through the treats, all sporting playful themed names and coming in gluten-free or vegan variations, before choosing our refreshments from the extensive list of teas. Noticing that we looked a little overwhelmed by the selection, we were advised by the host to go with a black tea for the savoury portion of the afternoon tea, followed by a herbal infusion that promised to compliment the flavours of the desserts. We both went for the full-bodied, Indian Assam breakfast tea.
Lo and behold, the tiered cake stand arrived at the table in all its glory, fully stacked. The thick-cut sandwiches were light and delicate while still being substantial enough to achieve a satisfying bite, each sporting a generous amount of filling from smoked salmon to free-range egg and mayonnaise as well as a deliciously spiced coronation chicken. The middle tier was taken up by four beastly scones begging to be lathered in the smooth strawberry jam and authentic Devonshire clotted cream. the hearty exterior did not do the texture justice; inside they were light and airy, but not quite enough to allow us to scoff two each in one sitting despite our best efforts.
The main event had to be the top tier of desserts, and the second round of tea we ordered to go with it. Both arriving in clear teapots revealing the inside like a mesmerising crystal ball, we chose the rosebud herbal infusion and a flowering jasmine and lily tea. Not only were they both visually stunning but smelt refreshingly floral, creating a sensory experience that defies the usual limitations of afternoon tea, adding another element of surprise and *magic*. Although the aromas of the drinks were strong, the taste was subtle, meaning they complemented and intensified the flavours of the desserts without interfering. Each individual dessert was small but mighty and a showstopper in its own right. They all told a little part of the fairy tale, from the White Rabbit’s carrot cake and the rich and indulgent ‘eat me’ chocolate cupcake, to the perfectly sweet plum pudding, Queen of Hearts tart and a luxurious white chocolate Lanson Champagne truffle.
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If you visit The Egerton House Hotel for your average afternoon tea, you’ve come to the wrong place. Acting as more of a thoughtfully curated three course meal than a random selection of finger food, every aspect of this wonderous childlike experience went hand in hand and was of the highest quality. Their strive for perfection certainly pays off, as every bite-sized offering was something to remember, paired with a tea list that would impress anyone from the connoisseurs to the clueless.
Book your trip to the 'Down The Rabbit Hole' afternoon tea at The Egerton House Hotel here.