Next week (14th – 20th August to be precise) is Afternoon Tea Week, aah afternoon tea…As British as talking about Brexit, getting rained on at Wimbledon or getting knocked out of the World Cup…

It’s decadent and classy just like me, fitting then that Red Letter Days offered me the chance to choose any one of their afternoon tea experiences, and my there are plenty to choose from.

For a lot of people afternoon tea conjures up images of idyllic bygone era of country houses with the cast of Downton Abbey scoffing cucumber sandwiches and scones, washing it all down with gallons of Darjeeling. Now while that may have been true in the past, things have changed. The afternoon tea is now within reach of us all and while the traditional version is still of course extremely popular, there are many places out there rethinking it and putting a modern twist on this classic.

That’s exactly why I chose the Wyld Tea & Cocktails at Dandelyan located in the Mondrian Hotel, South Bank. It sounded different…interesting. Billed as being 70’s themed, influenced by unusual botanicals and of course the fact this afternoon tea included a few cocktails 🙂

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The Dandelyan

Dandeylan is right on the pathway (Queen’s Walk) on the banks of the Thames, we were lucky enough to get a window seat so we had great views. The dark green décor matches the beautiful green marble bar which makes a great focal point. We were immediately handed a glass of water each which was much appreciated as it was a blistering hot day outside.

Not far behind the water was our opening cocktail the ‘Cheers!’ a refreshing mix of Bacardi, plum & peach, elderflower topped with bubbles – refreshing and very drinkable, it didn’t take long for this to disappear

After a few minutes of letting the air-conditioning cool us down we confirmed we were ready for our pots of tea and sandwiches. I went for English Breakfast and my partner Chamomile both came served in a generous pot, although you can of course ask for a top up when needed. Both delicious teas, and I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but on a hot day tea really is rather refreshing.

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Sandwiches & Savouries

Just a few sips of tea later and our sandwiches arrive. Nice combinations, some untraditional like pastrami and IPA relish and some traditional with a twist, my favourite being smoked salmon with kümmel (a savoury flavoured liqueur) & green onion mayo.

Interestingly my partner (who is vegetarian) didn’t want one of the veggie options so they created a sandwich for her right there. It was sauerkraut, artichoke and rocket…and what an amazing sandwich too! I would take one over meat any day, kudos to the kitchen.

Next to the sandwiches were little savouries a smoked duck, miso and parmesan croute and a lobster and crab herb roll. Tasty little bites that worked well with their sandwich companions.

We ask for a couple more rounds of sandwiches, you can do that you know so don’t be afraid to ask at any afternoon tea location.

All very good so far…

The next cocktail came out listed as a palate cleanser. Served in a teeny glass this mix of passionfruit, sea buckthorn (no, me neither) and gin, really nice and very refreshing living up to its billing.

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Mmm Clotted Cream

Palate cleanser finished with I poured another cup of tea and pretty soon I was staring at scones with grape & sherry jam and clotted cream. And I love clotted cream. A lot.

The jam was nicely sweet and boozy a delicious foil to the cream and the scone was tasty enough but, for me it lack a little crumbliness in the texture. Otherwise top notch!

Cocktail time again! This time a sweet pink creation full of chocolate, peppercorns and prosecco. Very pretty to look at it was too, topped with a little pink encrusted marshmallow and egg white foam.

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Pretty Cocktail

What would an afternoon tea be without some little cakes? Sure enough some lovely treats arrived – an Earl Grey Vermouth custard tart, mint choc Scotch tea cake and a French Martini blancmange.

All very tasty although I must say my favourite was the custard tart, the smoky tea flavour worked wonderfully for me.

The final cocktail was delivered and a really refreshing one too, a ‘McCrop’ mojito made from vodka, green tea, mango and citrus, it was the perfect end to a delicious afternoon.

All in all the Wyld Tea at Dandelyan is well worth a visit. Great food and drink, a fantastic location and hugely friendly, accommodating staff.

Next week is THE time to go and enjoy this most British of pastimes, so why not go an indulge yourself this Afternoon Tea Week or with the help of Red Letter days you could indulge someone else too, check out the following links to find out more:

Red Letter Days

Wyld Tea at Dandelyan

Remember to tell me how your afternoon tea went in the comments below…Enjoy! 🙂

Michael Robinson

The Food Curator
The Food Curator (AKA Michael Robinson) is an aficionado of all things food and bon viveur based in London. A passion for cooking and dining has driven him to put fingers to keyboard to bring you his thoughts on the world of food. When not writing, eating or cooking he has a love of American muscle cars. Pop on over to my Facebook page and let's start a Facebook food revolution together: http://tinyurl.com/thefoodcurator
The Food Curator

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