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Afternoon teas with a twist

Words by Georgie Young

03 August 2022

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Discover something different this afternoon tea week with these ten quirky teas

Afternoon tea has come a long way since the 19th century. What was once a snack eaten by famished ladies-in-waiting is now a quintessentially British pastime, with the upcoming Afternoon Tea Week (8th—14th August) a celebration of all things jam, cream and cake.

But whilst the UK is home to many traditional teas, we’ve turned to our global hubs in search of something a bit more unusual. Transatlantic tea, perhaps? Or how about tea paired with cigars – or with under-the-radar wines? Below, we’ve compiled an edit of ten teas with a twist in London, Dubai, New York, and Hong Kong.

London

American-inspired Tea At The Beaumont

8 Balderton Street, W1K 6TF

Enjoy the best of both sides of the pond with the Beaumont’s transatlantic tea. The twist? Typical British flavours have been swapped for American alternatives: chicken sandwiches are Caesar and not coronation, Victoria sponge makes way for vanilla cheesecake, and a delicate macaron borrows flavours from the Chicago-born Snickers. The newly refurbished Gatsby Lounge is an opulent place to tuck into it, too. A live pianist tinkles away in the corner whilst an eclectic array of portraits watches you squabble over whether it’s jam, cream, or New York blackout cake first…

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The Beaumont

Jurassic Afternoon Tea At The Ampersand Hotel

10 Harrington Road, SW7 3ER

After five years touring the UK, Dippy the Diplodocus has returned to the Natural History Museum, a comeback that inspired The Ampersand Hotel’s Jurassic-themed tea. Launching on 8th August, the quirky affair includes a raspberry and lemon volcano, chocolate dinosaur nest, and macaron imprinted with a T-Rex footprint. For children, the tea is arranged atop a lurid green dinosaur, whilst adults can choose from a selection of on-theme cocktails. We’re eyeing the Dino Sour – a tropical gin, white wine, and pineapple mix served in a dinosaur egg cup.

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The Ampersand

Winemakers’ Afternoon Tea At 28°–50°

15–17 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NE

There’s no tea to be found at this Marylebone bar, but there are many under-the-radar wines from female vintners. Accordingly, its afternoon tea is all about wine. Expert sommeliers guide guests through five rare tipples paired with miniature versions of 28°–50°’s European dishes; think salmon ceviche, chocolate madeleines, and truffle arancini. You’ll leave filled with female-produced wines from Austria, Spain and Sicily – and perhaps with a new favourite winemaker, too.

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28-50

Cigars and Afternoon Tea At Aquavit London

1 St James’s Market, SW1 4QQ

You might not expect a Nordic restaurant to serve an afternoon tea, but you also might not expect an afternoon tea to have a cigar course. Enter: Aquavit’s cigar afternoon tea. It begins with a sommelier-guided tasting of a Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro; the caramel notes pair perfectly with Aquavit’s chosen Darjeeling tea. To eat, you’ll be let loose on a Scandi-inspired spread of shrimp-topped open sandwiches, homemade pastries, and scones with cloudberry jam. Available 8th–14th August only.

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Aquavit London

Afternoon Sea At Seabird

14th Floor, South Bank, SE1 8NY

Afternoon tea might seem out of place at a seafood restaurant, so Seabird has swapped it for ‘afternoon sea’: three towering tiers of shellfish platters. The almost intimidating selection includes 10 chef-selected oysters and half a lobster alongside razor clams, scallops, crab legs and langoustines… You’ll need to order it 48 hours in advance, and whilst you’re at it, ask for a pre-dinner reservation on the cocktail terrace; the views over the Houses of Parliament and The Shard are unbeatable.

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Seabird The Hoxton Hotel

Prêt-à-Portea At The Berkeley

Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL

Afternoon tea is often a high-fashion affair, but none more so than at The Berkeley. Its Prêt-à-Portea is an edible edit of SS22 catwalks from around the globe, with guests tucking into Oscar de la Renta’s orange gown (apricot bavarois and meringue), a Gucci pink tuxedo crafted out of vanilla mousse and rosy icing, and a Michael Kors handbag rendered from Victoria sponge. Plus, it’s presented on Wedgewood fine-bone China: dressing up never tasted – or looked – so good.

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The Berkeley

New York

Asian-American Tea At Kitsby

186 Grand Street, NY 11211

Afternoon tea is often nostalgic, but none more so than that at Kitsby. The family-run bakery recently launched its Asian-American-inspired tea, which draws on flavours familiar to those who grew up in this diaspora. It features ten homemade treats, including a salted egg scone, five-spice shortbread and matcha almond bar. If that wasn’t enough, you could also choose one bigger entrée – and you should absolutely make it the gently spiced Thai tea lava cake.

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Kitsby

Chocolate Afternoon Tea At Mariebelle

484 Broome Street, NY 10013

You smell Mariebelle before you see it. The sumptuously decorated chocolate shop is choc-full of bars, truffles and cakes, plus the odd feather boa for added flamboyance. Follow your nose to the Cacao Bar for afternoon tea on a marble-topped table. There’s a distinct theme; it starts with a shot of iced hot chocolate, flavoured teas include chocolate rose, and the final round is an indulgent chocolate fondue. To balance all that sugar, there’s also a good selection of toasted sandwiches, walnut salad, and a daily-changing soup.

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Mariebelle Soho

Dubai

Afternoon Tea On An Abra

Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah

Dubai has no shortage of sky-high teas, but take your tea to the sea for something more private. Every day from 4pm, a made-for-two abra departs along the Madinat Jumeirah waterways laden with all manner of Arabian-inspired treats. Expect hummus sandwiches, mango saffron macarons, plenty of pistachios, and a discreet waiter who will top up your tea – or champagne – whilst you ebb along the canals.

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Abra Dubai

Hong Kong

Bobo Afternoon Tea At The Ritz-Carlton

International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West

This panda-inspired tea is also Hong Kong’s highest. Created in partnership with luxury jeweller Qeelin, the ‘Bobo Gastronomy Journey’ takes place on the 103rd floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as a window seat to garner the best views of the harbour. Savouries nod to Asian flavours – such as sesame balls with barbecue pork – and scones have been skipped in favour of pink guava choux, red bean tarts and lemon black tea verrine.

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The Ritz-Carlton

To book an afternoon tea, please contact your lifestyle manager.

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