I recently had to explain the concept of Afternoon Tea to my Mum (who lives in Germany). The only thing that came to mind was that you drink tea and eat sweets from a multilayered cake stand. She was not convinced. To be honest it’s so much more. It’s the atmosphere of going into a really nice and hopefully comfortable space and then you chat and nibble on some amazing pastries, while feeling a little bit like you are in the middle of a Jane Austen novel. I’m not sure if this is the case for most of you, but it’s always nice to sit down, have tea and have a natter. This time around I choose a more modern venue: Refuel at Soho Hotel. As you can see in the pictures, it is colourful and fun. They also had some interesting art scattered through the building.
I was a bit early, and the table wasn’t ready, so I decided to go for a cocktail in the colourful bar, just to start this afternoon thing off correctly. The low bar tables are filled with toy cars, and I was just sitting there, trying to find one from my youth. The Soho Delight (came with a bowl of popcorn) was made out of Chilli infused vodka, strawberries and passionfruit juice. It’s impressive looking, and it was not too sweet (although I think Grant would think otherwise). As in many hotel bars they had no problem adding it to our overall bill later on. The Afternoon Tea costs £22.50 without alcohol and £25 with a Bellini. When we ordered, they actually had several options: Apple flower, passion fruit or peach Bellini. We went for apple flower and peach. Also, one Afternoon Tea without seafood or meat and one with no meat and raisins in the scones. Yes, we made it tricky for the staff, but being professionals they just dealt with it and we were just so grateful.
With the Afternoon Tea, you get a choice of tea: Breakfast, Earl Grey or Darjeeling. Yes, I agree … this is very basic and doesn’t really cater for Tea-enthusiasts. The range of food is quite standard as well, but nice. The sweet tier was filled with Lemon curd meringue cupcake, Maltesers tiffin and hazelnut crunch cream (even with the raisins my friend loved it), a passionfruit jelly shot and a Banoffee profiterole with toffee sauce. The bottom tier offered raisin/plain scones with clotted cream and two jams. My friend had her seafood sandwiches on the side, including a prawn Marie Rose finger sandwich. We both had olive and herb roll with mozzarella and plum tomato(boring), a very plain cheese sandwich and another one with humus on it.
My friend, hung over from the night before, was not impressed by the look of the cake stand. She was very much afraid that she would go away hungry. Let me just clarify: It was enough food! It was also steeped in sugar. The sandwiches were ok. The scones were really nice, but sugary. The cupcake was not great, but the rest of the meal was delicious.
I really liked this Afternoon Tea. The price is great, the hotel is colourful and quirky, the staff is very attentive and the whole experience was just very enjoyable. I would recommend it for people who are looking to try their first Afternoon Tea, or maybe for a group of friends having a nice afternoon out.
After all that food, you can always move on the the cocktail bar, which has quite a nice menu.
THE SOHO HOTEL
4 Richmond Mews, London, W1D 3DH
T: +44 (0)20 7559 3007