day 1222 / 321:
i'm late, i'm late....for a very important date! dashing across London, i thought that there are many things that this city does well......musicals, parks, pomp, markets, chimneys.....and most certainly, high tea. high teas are even more popular now than they were when i arrived in London and after a swathe of hen-party-teas a few years ago, i feel like i've sampled a fair few of them. but, my current favourite has to be the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel.
it's quirky, creative, frivolous, delicious and references one of my favourite books, Alice in Wonderland. from start to finish, the experience has been thought through with great attention to detail. the menu is handed to you in a vintage book, the napkins are wrapped in riddles, the plates and saucers make up pictures of clocks, bird cages or zebras and the black and white table settings are a fantastic backdrop to the flamboyantly coloured sandwiches and cakes.
the cakes and sandwiches live up to the theme delightfully. at the top of the cake stand is a tuft of pea shoots sprouting from a striped tea-cup, with a meringue carrot nestling amongst the leaves. at the base of the tea-cup, are strawberry marshmallow toadstools with a jammy centre. on the next tier, is a chocolate cup filled with green tea and white chocolate mousse, a teardrop with a oozing mango centre, a clock cake and my favourite, a little brown bottle with a tag saying: 'drink me'. the bottom tier has coloured sandwiches, the quiche of the day and two types of scones. the tea pot comes with it's own paper crown and you help yourself to sugar cubes from the music box while a ballerina twirls to 'somewhere over a rainbow'......it looks like a pastry chef has been left to let his imagination run wild.....and that thought makes me smile....in fact, nearly everything makes me smile and i think that's the point of this high tea.....
if you haven't been shrunk by the brown bottle and still have space, there's even a selection of real jellies.....they're surprisingly tart (the real deal) and cleanse the palate after all that sweetness.
i think, as we're heading out that it's the type of place where everytime you go, you think of someone else that you would like to take back there. it's a bit like this quote from the book that gives it its inspiration:
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn't have come here."