An afternoon tea is quite often seen as something to do on a girls day. Something elegant. Small finger food bites. Beautiful crockery holding premium teas. Glasses of fizz. But guys, and everyone, should experience it at least once. It is pretty special. And let me tell you, the food may be in little finger sized portions, but there’s always SO much of it!
I took Alex for his FIRST EVER afternoon tea this month. First. Ever. Mainly because of the above. If I ever went or wanted to go, he’d suggest I took one of the girls…Or I’d generally just do so. But finally, I got through to him to give it a try. Just once. Spoiler: he said he’d go again!
St. Martins Lane hotel is not far from Leicester square station. Super central. It’s huge! I initially walked up to the restaurant before realising I was meant to be in The Den… a cute hideaway, serving cocktails, bites to eat and afternoon tea.
The inside is filled with plants, and it’s quite dark and mysterious. It almost felt like you were taking a step back in time, thanks to all the browns and burnt orange hues. It had a slight cabin feel too, with the walls all a dark wood, but was cosy and relaxed.
The day we visited it was sunny and hot.
Dying to not miss out on the sun, we sat out on the terrace. Just as leafy. A fab, breezy and relatively private spot.
The menu in The Den features two afternoon tea options – their standard afternoon tea, with hotel chocolat hot chocolate or champagne (and tea of course) and an exclusive, limited edition rum afternoon tea in collaboration with Bacardi. I’m sure as I was with Alex, you can tell which we went for. Rum, of course.
There are five rum cocktails to choose from.
All of which are pretty different and unique. One rum cocktail is included in the afternoon tea package. La Girardilla was our fave. With Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, fresh mango, coconut, mint, vanilla, it was fresh, juicy and tropical. It felt like we should have been on holiday.
If you don’t fancy a sweet cocktail, you can never go wrong with a standard mojito, or the Desde El Malecon. It’s a mixture of Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, grapefruit, ginger, honey & rice syrup, and has a bitter, deeper edge.
As much as the cocktails were super delicious, it’s all about the food in an afternoon tea.
The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea really was special.
The savoury options are the same as the standard menu. The smoked salmon wrap with avocado, sun-blushed tomato cream cheese, was a fab change to a sandwich. It was creamy, and the flavours were beautiful. The focaccia with roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, feta and mint, was super tasty with its Mediterranean notes. The Chicken Swirl (like a cinnamon one but savoury), with pesto and buffalo mozzarella however topped the savouries for us. It was fantastic! I do love pesto!
It was great having different savoury options to the usual finger sandwiches.
The scones were massive. Plain, they did feel a bit overcooked/crisp, but tasted good all the same topped with clotted cream and jam – cream first of course!
The sweet treats. These were something else.
Ludovic’s Summer Eclair, had a beautifully light choux pastry. It was filled with a delicious zesty passion fruit cream and topped with dulcey ganache. Almost as good as the ones I had from L’eclair de Genie in Paris. And that’s saying something!
The My Heart, a light milk chocolate mousse with coconut and a biscuit base, was absolutely delicious. It had a white chocolate coating holding it all together too. Really cute. Although it does melt quickly – so be careful in the heat.
The Pina Colada Cake was my favourite sweet option. With coconut dacquoise, pineapple confit and coconut mousse with Bacardi Cuatro rum, it really did taste like pina colada. The thin layer of coconut dacquoise, a light sponge, on the bottom paired with the mousse, made for one exquisite dessert.
The Strawberry Daiquiri Tart was delightful. A small shortcrust pastry tart, it’s filled with Bacardi Carta Oro rum strawberry ganache and lime cream. The contrasting flavours went perfectly, adding zing and life to the fruity strawberry taste.
Ok guys, I absolutely loved this one too. The Mai Tai Baba Almond Cake looked intriguing. It was bright orange! It’s infused with orange bitters & Bacardi Carta Negra rum, Cointreau and lime cream, so is packed with citrus, vibrant flavours. Just fantastic!
With an afternoon tea like this, scones should most definitely come last. If you don’t have space, at least you can take them away not wondering if you’d missed out on something. Those sweet treats really are something you HAVE to try!
The terrace is a beautiful place to take the afternoon slowly, soaking up the atmosphere and having a good chat. The drinks menu in The Den features plenty of other drinks to see you through too, so you’re not limited to the ones with the afternoon tea.
- Price: £39.90 per person for The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea – a little more than you might spend one a weekend afternoon for lunch, but well worth it. Perfect for a special occasion! The standard afternoon tea, with Teapigs tea, is £29.90 per person which is pretty good for such a fab location.
- Food: Truly amazing. Inventive. Creative. Delicious.
- Drinks: The rum cocktails were fantastic. The mango one so refreshing. A beautiful accompaniment to an afternoon tea.
- Atmosphere: the terrace was private, relaxed and breezy. Perfect for a summery afternoon tea.
- Wait: It’ll book up quick, so I highly recommend booking. The wait for food wasn’t long, and the drinks easily keep you going.
Have you taken someone for their first afternoon tea recently? What did they think? Where would you recommend I try next?
*I was invited along to try the afternoon tea at St. Martins Lane Hotel. All views my own.