Food:★★★☆☆ Service:★★★☆☆ Ambiance:★★★☆☆ Overall:★★★☆☆
I’m actually a little bit put off by Afternoon Tea at the moment. I feel like a veteran of the trade … I’ve eaten too much. I’ve seen too much. But my friend Pam owed me a round of Afternoon Tea and she booked us into the Savannah Restaurant at the Wesley Hotel near Euston station. It’s in one of the site street and the entrance for the restaurant is in the same block as the hotel, but further down a side street. A side side street.
The restaurant, which was located above the ground floor bar, was empty when we arrived. Never a good sign. Maybe the space is too new? Around half an hour later a group of four arrived for lunch and another half an hour passed before we had someone sitting next to us, also doing Afternoon Tea.
The outfit of the space was actually really nice for a hotel restaurant. Very contemporary in grey and white with some great light and nice art works on the walls. We had opted for Afternoon Tea at 2.30pm, as they said they had no other availability. Really? REALLY?
Pam had booked us the slightly boozy option with a glass of Bellini. It set the right tone, but I still felt a bit uncomfortable as we were the only one in the room. The tea menu had everything from Darjeeling to Rooibos. We went with one herbal version of a berry tea and one classic Lapsang.
The Afternoon Tea consisted of: Home-made scones served with organic jams and clotted cream, Nutella macaroons, Battenberg cake, fruit cake, strawberries dipped in chocolate, salmon and horseradish sandwich, salted beef with English mustard, cucumber and cream cheese and the classic egg mayo and watercress. It was the most traditional Afternoon Tea I have had in awhile. This was what I was aiming for when inviting my German friends to that ill-conceived outing to the Hilton near Euston Station.
The scones were my favourite as they just had the right consistency. Pam had to pick out the raisins, but that’s a personal problem. The macaroons were actually filled with Nutella and huge. I’m normally all for big sweets, but as our plates were alright rather full with supersweet stuff it was just a little bit too much. I would have preferred something a bit lighter.
While Pam and I were stuffing our facing with all this, we noticed the disembodied voice of a man drifting up to us from the bar. We started speculating: was he talking to a bartender? Pouring out his heart to a stranger? Or was he on the phone? Or was it a more modern episode of the Archers, told from just one point of view? We decided he was on the phone as we heard no other voice, although he barely stopped talking long enough for it to be a considered a conversation between two people. The guy got louder and louder. I imagined him in his 50’s, face like Ron L. Hubbard or a bulldog, with a paunch, salt and pepper hair and an awful suit. He was upset that he had missed a flight sometime in the past, couldn’t get into a house he thought was his for the taking and he was now homeless. We were perplexed (homeless in a hotel?) and felt sorry for him, until he started the whole story again. With more words. And again. With less words. Then the twist in the story: he hadn’t seen his daughter in 20 years. It seemed unconnected to the rest, but he told the other person anyway. Again and again. That person must have been a saint for staying on the line … or maybe a well payed PA. One could only hope. At this point we were super annoyed as it was difficult to talk over his rantings. … Bulldog Hubbard got actually really nasty and started to shout the house down. Pam approached the waiters and suggested that they could ask him to be more considerate. A few minutes later he was bitching to his saintly PA about the waiters approaching him. Ten minutes later there was peace and quite again, as he must have left or shut up. We never got to see him in person. He will always be Bulldog Hubbard for me.
Sadly this listening experience actually gave the whole session the edge. Afternoon tea in itself was good. Average, but not something I would remember without photo evidence. Also the price is a little bit too much for what they offer in this location. You could have a more lively and atmospheric Afternoon Tea at a central London location like Soho Hotel … to name just one…for the same price. But I admit that it was well presented and in a nice setting with great staff. Maybe when the restaurant is a bit more established it will have more guests and the atmosphere will be a bit better and hopefully without a shouting misanthrope.
81-103 – Euston Street, NW1 2EZ