Boozy afternoon teas are more and more common, offering Champagne, cocktails and even alcohol-infused food. I initially wanted to try the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel London but my schedule didn’t allow it. So I went to the cocktail based tipsy evening tea instead:
Mad Hatter’s Tipsy Evening Tea
Sanderson Hotel London, UK (Mondrian group five-star hotel)
Overall Mark: ★★★★☆
Tipsy Evening Tea price: £58/person
Tipsy Evening Tea with Champagne price: £68/person
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea price: £48/person
Tea refills: Yes; Food refills: Yes (Savouries only)
Service: 7 to 9 pm in the Long Bar Terrace
Sanderson Hotel London Setting ★★★★☆
The Sanderson is located in Fitzrovia, close to the British Museum and Oxford Circus station. The interior decoration is designed by Phillipe Starck, a famous Frenchman who also worked on the Meurice Paris. The style is quite daring (as I could can read in my review of the Meurice Paris).
The Long Bag Terrace ★★★★★
Afternoon teas and Evening Teas are served on the long bar terrace. The courtyard is reminiscent of Japanese gardens, brimming with sand, trees and fountains.
The terrace is heated and open year long so guests may enjoy this nice terrace any time of the year.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The Cocktails & Mocktails ★★★★☆
This tipsy evening tea skips the tea and comes with four cocktails:
- Mini Kir Royale
- White wine and red fruit punch
- Kamm & Sons ginseng with orange and elderflower tonic water ♥
- Buckfast and Coquelicot mini Martini
These are the true star of the show. I am normally a teetotaler but I can certainly say that they are both gorgeous and pleasing. My only regret is that they did not seem to be paired with the food, or with a specific stage of the evening tea.
Guests who want to be a bit more than just “tipsy” can also order three extra cocktails (£12) and one extra mocktail (£7), which are named after the first four chapters from the Alice in Wonderland book (first picture below).
The staff is very professional and accommodating so guests can ask for alcohol-free mocktails, as strange as it might be when having a boozy afternoon tea. The mocktail selection (third picture below) depends on the barman’s inspiration so I cannot provide you with a list
The House Teas ★★★★★
The evening tea is theoretically all about the cocktails but I couldn’t resist trying out one of their teas, which the staff kindly offered. Aside from the usual classic teas, the restaurant team has created five house blends, all named after Alice in Wonderland characters (see the second picture below).
The teas are brought in small glass bottles so guests can smell the tea leaves before choosing. There are playing cards which describe the content and flavour of each tea.
I tried the “Cheshire cat” tea, which was delicious and is perfect for those who enjoy strong fruity flavours. Each tea is exclusive to the Sanderson hotel so it would be a pity not to sample at least one. It may be a good reason to try out the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea someday 🙂
The Savouries ★★★☆☆
This part is made of four savoury bites and one savoury scone:
- Smoked salmon scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese
- Stack of king of hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieur ♥
- Caramelised cornish crab bridge roll
- White rabbits heirloom garden quiche
- Cheddar flavoured scone with whole seed mustard and mozzarella, served with herb butter ♥
I love cheese and simplicity, so the scone and the croque-monsieur have my preference. The slightly alcoholic crab roll is very fresh and tasty too.
Unfortunately, the salmon scotch egg was a bit odd and so was the quiche. The latter is also very difficult to eat without making a mess.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★☆☆
There are no sweet scones with the evening tea. It’s unlikely you’ll miss them considering that the cakes and sweets are plenty:
Top plate sweets:
- Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms
- White chocolate pear Williams truffle ♥
- Carrot meringues filled with Grand Marnier purée
Bottom plate cakes:
- Dark chocolate and rum chessboard gateau
- Vanilla macaroon ♥
- Alice’s naughty orange and Cointreau “drink me” potion
- Tweedle dee lemon and limoncello curd financier
The presentation is both pretty and imaginative but the sweets suffer from the same problem as the savouries: there are lots of ups and downs.
The macaroon and the truffle are really nice (even though you’d better have a sweet tooth!) but the marshmallow and the meringue’s flavours feel way too artificial.
The staff is professional as well as accommodating, going as far as to create mocktails on the spot for a friend of mine who wouldn’t drink alcohol.
Below is a video detailing the cocktails and the food served at the Sanderson London’s Evening tea:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
Cocktail lovers will love the tipsy evening tea. Four cocktails with food for £58/person is a steal on the London scale. However, foodies may be a bit disappointed as the Sanderson hotel London mainly shines with its beverages, be it the tea or the cocktails.
The Sanderson Hotel London’s “Mad hatter’s tipsy evening tea” is one of a kind and that makes it quite difficult to evaluate, even more as my knowledge of cocktails is very limited… So I’ll put it this way: I had a great time and it is quite a unique experience. If you fancy some cocktails on a beautiful terrace, this will be the perfect place.
+: Beautiful terrace
+: The beverages
+: The food presentation
+: Evening tea concept
+: Excellent value for cocktail lovers
+: Good service
-: Ups and downs food -wise
-: Quite expensive (£58/person)
-: Average value for foodies
Official Website & Menu (evening tea)
Official Website & Menu (afternoon tea)
Phone: +44 207 300 5588
Address: 50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG, UK
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