I seem to become the Boozy Bunch Afternoon Tea Auntie … the BBATA? Maybe not a good acronym. This time we went for one that is a little bit different from the usual ones you can get around London. Themed Afternoon Tea has become fashionable, but they are fairly expensive. As it was my birthday, I allowed myself this indulgence. A friend and I went to visit Mr Fogg at his residency in Mayfair to have Tipsy Tea: Cocktails and sandwiches. I’ve been here before and loved them for their amazing cocktails. Reservations are absolutely vital, as you may not get into the Residence without one. The main room is made up with a weird and wonderful “fake” travel collection. There are bikes on the ceiling, plus bird cages, also stuffed animals, stretched out furs and strange things in bottles. It’s a vision of a Victorian explorer’s curiosity-filled townhouse. (BTW if you want to see the real thing visit Sir John Soane’s Museum. I really hope not everything in Mr Fogg’s residence is as it seems. There are stools and tables that looked like they were made out of elephant feet, but with closer inspection it turned out they were fake. I know the Victorians had no reservations against things like that (I worked in auction and have seen lots of strange Victorian stuff made out of animal parts), but just because the Victorians did it doesn’t mean we have to.
The Residence has one massive room with a bar on one side and with a small terrace on the other side. The hostess intended to seat us next to the piano player, but as we wanted to have a real catch up, the piano was a bit too loud for us, and we asked to be seated elsewhere. This way we ended up in the middle of the room on a low-seated Victorian settee. The tables surrounding us were also very low and not really big enough to hold pots, cups and étagère. I personally had no problem with it, but it’s clearly a more slouching affair than usual for Afternoon Tea. I also noticed that even though it’s a boozy one, this clearly was an Afternoon Tea that appealed mainly to the ladies. We were surrounded by groups of women enjoying the old-fashioned music and the quirky atmosphere.
On to the tea: For £38 per person you get a little welcome shot (no idea what is was), a good-sized boozy teapot each, plus sweet and savoury treats. My friend ordered the “1840” tea-pot: Earl Grey infused Hendrick’s Gin, Cointreau, crème de pêche, orange marmalade, homemade syrup and fresh lemon juice . I decided to drop names and went with “Catherine of Braganza”, which was different from the “1840” in only three ways: normal Hendrick’s gin, crème de apricot and mint leaves. The tea pot lasted a good while. I think we got three decent sized drinks out of it. I liked the taste of both of them, but they were quite sweet. A little bit more gin would also advance it in my opinion … but then I’m clearly spoiled by going out with the Boozy Bunch.
When the étagère came out and was placed on another stool nearby, it was filled with some really yummy stuff. I forgot to take a picture of the menu, so the next is from memory and it could be wrong. Savoury: chicken korma in pita, pesto and mozzarella in a brioche, duck in a wrap and cucumber sandwiches with butter. My friend was asking me if it needs to have butter on it. As we are both not British neither of us was quite sure. I assume it has butter, because every sandwich has butter on it, correct? I can only put this question out there into the universe. Let’s see what will bounce back. We also swapped some of the food. The duck was not to my liking, so I got some of my friend’s chicken korma, which I greatly enjoyed. The sweets included Victorian sponge, Macaroons, éclairs in two flavours and some mini cakes. The éclair with the coffee flavour was the absolute winner.
All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon. As you can see in the pictures, I spent some time trying desperately to be posh and sophisticated … channel my inner Victorian lady … and failed with aplomb. It was fun. Maybe in the future we will make it there in proper steampunk attire. That would give it a nice kick.
I really recommend it as something a little bit different. The place is just the right side of quirky, the music easy-going, the cocktails were delicious and the food just as much. I loved it. Beware: this is not an Afternoon Tea for people that love to nitpick or for the elderly: low seats, low light and small tables can make it uncomfortable.My granny would be very put off by all this, but then she’s not a happy person to begin with.
Mr Foggs of Mayfair
15 Bruton Lane, W1J 6JD