I tumbled down after Alice through the rabbit hole to have afternoon tea with the Mad Hatter, presented by Sanderson Hotel. This quirky modern establishment is the perfect setting for a creative dining experience. While most people come to London to see Big Ben, the London Eye or the Tower of London. I came to experience this tea party and what an experience it was.
The fun begins as soon as you are seated. Your table is set with a white plate decorated with a black bird-cage. The top portion of the cage is finished on the saucer, a crow is inside the cup. A classical book that contains your upcoming menu hidden within, sits upon a child’s jewelry box. Opening the box, you will find a twirling ballerina along with brown and white sugar cubes. Jars of rose-strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream accompany a melt in your mouth scone. The waitress brings over tea sampling for you to smell, along with ingredient cards, so you are guaranteed a perfect cup to your liking. I chose the Mad Hatter tea: green tea infused with passion fruit, guava and mango. It went perfectly with the meal.
The tea-pot is adorned with either a king or queen, a black paper crown sits on top.
I reserved online with Book a Table for €40 and also received a complementary cocktail. I do have to note, I changed my reservation time by calling the restaurant. When I arrived they didn’t have my reservation, even though I had a confirmation email sent to me. The hostess corrected the mistake, asking me to wait while they set my table. I waited ten minutes past my reservation time, when I inquired if my table would be ready soon, I was met with “your reservation is at 3;15 for three, right?”, um no. It was at 2:45 for one. I was seated within minutes, but not in the beautiful courtyard garden. I was seated inside in the over-flow section, it seemed to be.
The dining experience made up for the lack of hostess competence. In my opinion, it was well worth the cost and dealing with my minor inconvenience.
Savory and Sweet is what’s being served. You receive one of each item on the menu, and if you choose, you can order seconds. When they brought out the three-tiered tray of goodies, I thought for sure I’d be ordering a second round of something. I was wrong. I was full before I finished all the mini-desserts.
It all started with a quail egg hidden inside a smoked salmon ball topped with cream cheese and caviar. Odd is the word that came to mind when I read it on the menu and the same when I bit into it. I can see where they were going with it, the flavors worked well together, but sadly it was very dry. Thankfully I had some very tasty tea to wash it down with. Stacked King of Hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieur was more to my liking. I thought of ordering another, yet held off, I had only started.
I love crab, so the Cornish crab bridge roll was a light delight. I would have added a pinch more of dill, if I made it, but I love dill. The avocado and the creme-fraiche blended with crab gave a nice twist, this is something I would try to make myself. The white rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread is what I envision for an afternoon tea. It was light and tasty.
I found my sweet-tooth on a sugar overload half-way through the next course. I noticed most people took boxes home of their left-over treasure. I was on my way to the airport via tube and train. There was no way these tasty morals would have survived, I’ve made that error before. I had to eat it all. Good thing the table is booked for two hours.
What to eat first? It’s a hard decision when so many delectable choices are presented in front of you. I decided to start with the Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger, two heart-shaped sugar cookies with jam between. I was off to a good start. Alice’s ‘drink me’ potion was an airy concoction of cinnamon, apple and peach. It tasted a lot like my fruity cocktail. Tweedle Dee’s lemon curd finanier, it was spongy and not to my liking. I only took a few bites. Halfway into the sweet portion of the meal, they brought out hazel nut with caramel ice cream resembling a potted plant. I enjoyed it the most out of all the treats, but then, I am an ice -cream-holic. What put me over the edge was the mocha chessboard gateau, wow it was sweet. I saved the Mad March Hare’s vanilla pocket watch macaroon for last. If the chessboard didn’t make me feel like I’ve had too much sugar already, I would have ordered another macaroon.
The final touch, on the top plate next to a black and white stripped mug filled with lemon grass that held the Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue. Hiding in its shadow, the chocolate and pistachio blue caterpillar rested beside two wonderland magic mushrooms. I was expecting a sugar high, but they were very airy and tasted a lot like Alice’s ‘drink me’ potion.
I normally do not spend money on things like this, but I am glad that I did. It was a full two-hour fun dining experience that made me appreciate life and my time in London. The dining area is full of women joining their friends for girl-time or celebration. If you’re there solo, like I was, never fear what others think, go anyway. You’ll never see those people again, so don’t feel weird about being alone. I’m sure you will enjoy the experience.
*I did not receive any compensation for writing this review. As always, all opinions are of my own.