The One Aldwych serves one of London’s most popular afternoon teas, the “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea'”. It truly lives up to the theme, the beverages, the food and the service are all beyond reproach :
The One Aldwych Hotel Setting ★★★★☆
Located between Covent Garden and The Somerset house, the One Aldwych is a splendid establishment. As one of London’s most fashionable boutique hotels, the decoration is modern with a strong emphasis on art, with several sculptures and paintings on display.
The One Aldwych “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” afternoon tea is served in two venues : in The Lobby and in The Indigo restaurant on the first floor.
If possible, I strongly recommend grabbing the afternoon tea in the lobby, as it is less noisy, less cramped and with plenty more natural light.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
Aside from ordinary teas such as “Earl Grey” or “English Breakfast”, the One Aldwych has selected five different teas to suit Roald Dahl’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory theme.
Considering these teas are unique in flavour and go well beyond the usual tea selections, I wanted to analyse and give recommendations one by one :
The Mango Noir (Chinese black tea) : ★★★★★
A very fruity and persistent flavour, the perfect balance between a strong and sweet taste. Everyone’s favourite.
The Chocolate Tea (Indian black tea blend) : ★★★★☆
A blend made from Assam and Yunnan black, a bitter chocolaty flavour with barely perceptible hints of vanilla. Some of you might want to add a bit of sugar to soften it.
The Green Dragon (Chinese green tea) : ★★★★☆
A green Sencha tea flavoured with ginger and liquorice, resulting in a very strong flavour. Not my type of green tea but very tasty.
The English Summer Garden (Herbal fruity blend) : ★★★★☆
I’m normally not too fond of herbal teas, much less the rosy/lemony ones, but the strawberry leaf and spearmint flavour is just subtle enough for a perfect blend. Very fragrant and caffeine free.
The Sugarcane Black (Chinese black tea) : ★★☆☆☆
Despite its name, this tea is not sweet at all and it was even more bitter than a Pu er. It’s possible that it was brewed too strong, but I had to add sugar to make it drinkable, something I normally never do.
The Charlie Cocktail (£10 extra) : ★★★★★
Last but not least, guests can choose to have the “Charlie Cocktail” with their tea. The ingredients are: Dalmore Whisky, Cherry liqueur, Chocolate bitter, Grapefruit juice, Cherry syrup and Champagne.
This cocktail is one of the best I ever had, it tastes as amazing as it looks and is well worth the £10 extra. For show enthusiasts, it is even served in a glass teapot topped with dried ice, which generates this “fog”.
What would a Charlie & the chocolate factory afternoon tea be without a bit of show ?
The Savouries ★★★★★
I did not expect the savouries to be as good as the sweets but I stand corrected, these are among the best savouries I ever had.
Once again, I shall analyse and comment each piece one by one :
Leek & Stilton Quiche : ★★★★☆
Very tasty but this could use more Stilton, it doesn’t contain enough cheese to satisfy a Frenchman.
Heritage Tomato Tart : ★★★★☆
Simple and fresh, it probably would have been better with a few extra herbs (parsley or rocket) to give it more flavour.
Smoked Salmon & Herb Crème Fraîche Sandwich : ★★★★☆
Creamy and tasty but also a bit dry despite the cream, the bread wasn’t as fresh as it should have been.
Egg Mayonnaise with Watercress Brioche : ★★★★☆
A very light feeling and just the right amount of mayonnaise.
Roast-beef & Grain Mustard Mayonnaise Sandwich : ★★★★★
Now that is one of the best sandwiches I ever had, black-bread is an excellent choice for a beef sandwich, and the mustard adds a bit of a kick to it. The addition of an olive on top of is culinary genius, it creates a perfect balance of flavours!
The Scones and Cakes ★★★★★
Let’s get started with the mildly sweet before going onto the very sweet: the scones, brioches and financiers.
The Scones : ★★★★☆
The plain scones were served warm with berry jam, apple compote and clotted cream. The apple compote is a nice touch, though I’d recommend putting it on the brioche rather than the scone.
The Blueberry Brioche : ★★★★★
Very tasty, the blueberry adds some flavour to an otherwise plain pastry and it goes perfectly well with both the berry jam and the apple compote.
The Cocoa Bean Financier : ★★★★★
Delicious and chocolatey, just perfect! Probably the tastiest sweet of the entire afternoon tea, I love simplicity when it comes to chocolate.
The Sweets ★★★★☆
Well calling this part of the tea “sweet” is putting it mildly, this is a dentist’s nightmare. Then again if it wasn’t, the “Charlie & The Chocolate factory afternoon tea” wouldn’t be worthy of the name!
While this is highly subjective, I would say that this afternoon tea shines with its beverages as well as with its savouries and scones. The sweets are great and look amazing, but they do not taste as good.
Eton Mess : ★★★★☆
For the non-British readers, an Eton Mess is a crushed mixture of meringue, cream and red fruits. Classic!
Chocolate Caramel Milk : ★★★★☆
Self-explanatory, this one comes in a small-size glass bottle with a straw. Just sweet enough!
Golden Chocolate Egg filled with Vanilla Cheesecake & Mango : ★★★★☆
The mixture contained within the chocolate is very sweet but also amazing, a great dessert served in a very creative way. Unfortunately, the chocolate egg itself is not very tasty, I cannot recommend eating it.
Homemade Candy Floss : ★★☆☆☆
I will not reveal the actual flavour of the candy floss, the staff usually challenges the guests to a little game, “can you guess the flavour?” This one is way too sweet and the flavour a bit too unusual, I’d rather have a plain one.
Lemon & Raspberry Cake Pops : ★★★☆☆
Light, sweet enough and very cute in appearance. Perfect for the end once your appetite starts to fade.
The Service ★★★★★
The service is brilliant, the popularity of The One Aldwych Charlie & The Chocolate Factory afternoon tea means that the hotel is packed on weekends, and yet the staff was always friendly and efficient. We never had to wait for very long for our tea refills and the staff was very accommodating despite one of the guest’s tardiness.
Even better, when the staff needed the table at The Indigo restaurant and since we were not done eating, the team very kindly relocated us to a private room so we could finish anyway. Parfait!
The reservation team is also highly efficient and very responsive, they can be reached at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The Charlie & The Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at the One Aldwych London is the best “unusual” afternoon tea in the city. The food and beverage selection is amazing and the service is perfect.
In most aspects, it puts other chocolate afternoon teas (such as “The Charlie & The Chesterfield afternoon tea“) to shame.
+: Beautiful Lobby
+: Original tea selection (Mango Noir !)
+: The Charlie Cocktail, heavenly
+: Delicious food, great presentation
+: The Best service, friendly and efficient
-: The Indigo restaurant is not the best venue
-: The sweets may be “too sweet” for some
-: Book well in advance on weekends
Phone number: 020 7300 0400