Friday, 14 February 2014

Down The Rabbit Hole: Alice In Wonderland Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson

The Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea at The Sanderson is hardly new to the London afternoon tea scene but my friend L and I had been planning on going forever and finally got booked in on a Sunday for a strictly girls-only afternoon. The Sanderson is just a quick hop from the Oxford Circus Topshop and while it looks quite non-descript from the outside as soon as you step through the doors the vibe is definitely "quirky" making the hotel itself the perfect backdrop for an Alice-themed tea.

The afternoon tea area is actually outside - well, it would be in the summer but for winter there is a tent like covering and patio heaters. I would still recommend bringing a cardi though. The hotel has a strict "no fancy dress" so no dressing up as the Mad Hatter but it's probably for the best.

The menu is printed inside a vintage copy of the book. The server came by to check if we were allergic to anything or wanted to swap anything on the menu which is great if you're a veggie and don't want the ham sandwiches going to waste.
We were given samples of the tea to smell and chose from. We both chose Apple Pie which was lovely. Coffee and hot chocolate are available too and our teapot was re-filled many times throughout the afternoon (tea always seems like a wiser choice than coffee in these situations).
The sugar bowl / box.
Our tea arrived to gasps of "ooooooh". Everything was explained and everything is edible, even the pea shoots should you so choose.
Working from the bottom up we started on the sandwiches - ham, egg, cucumber and salmon. The fillings were all quite simple but the different breads and pinwheel shapes were a nice touch and I think traditional sandwich fillings are what afternoon tea is all about (when would we eat cucumber sandwiches otherwise?). We also had a mini quiche each and a sweet and savory scone. I think the savory layer was a good balance to the sweetness of the next two layers but personally, I think afternoon tea is all about the sweet things - quiche and savory scones are a little grown up for my tastebuds!
This layer also featured the "Drink Me" potions famous in the book. While not quite as potent as their fictional inspirations, these were fun and we could really taste the different layers of sweetness. The sandwiches and scones are replenished as you wish and you can pick your favourites to have more of and skip any that you didn't like first time around.
Moving on to the cake layer, the standout by far was the clock face Victoria sponge. It was moist and delicious and perfect. If only it came in full size! The candy striped white chocolate cheesecake definitely suffered from style over substance - we weren't big fans of the creamy filling and the mango "yolk" inside was a little odd. The green tea mousse in a dark chocolate cup was better although the mousse-y texture was quite similar to that of the cheesecake - I do like green tea flavoured things but L wasn't so keen!
The final layer featured meringue carrots hiding in the pea shoots and toadstall marshmallows. Just the right amount of sweetness to finish you off!
Finally, we remembered the help yourself jelly table which was looking a little depleted by the time we got to it. Not really needed after all the cakes but a fun touch all the same.
It was then sadly time to leave Wonderland, although we were not rushed to leave our table for the next booking - something that annoys me no end! The Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea is not cheap but it's all very well thought out and has a lot of special touches which make it a step up from a standard afternoon tea. I'd definitely recommend a trip for a birthday or, like us, if you just want some girly catch-up time.

Are you tempted?


  1. Ah I'm glad it lived up to the price and expectations! Looks amazing, we definitely need to go in the "summer" (:

  2. I love the look of that - I can't wait to go out for an afternoon tea that I have planned in a few weeks!

  3. Everything looks so adorable!! I love little places like this that think about everything and put effort into small touches that enhance the overall environment. Who doesn't love an Alice in Wonderland themed fantasy tea party??



  4. Now I want to go even more!

  5. Very tempted, that looks amazing!

  6. This look amazing!!! I love the sugar box! xx

  7. I'm trying to decide between this afternoon tea and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - think you may have just swung my vote! X


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