I know, I know – not two posts ago I said how I’d never been to afternoon tea in my life and now but a week later I’ve been twice! Talk about addiction!
I’m kidding I’m not addicted to afternoon tea. Cheese maybe but not afternoon tea. Well not yet anyway!
So why did I go twice within a week?
Well the first time was Beas of Bloomsbury and was booked in advance for a catch up with my girls, one pregnant, one on dry Jan and one who loves cake – it just made sense. The second time was a last minute invite to a pregnant colleague’s leaving do.
It seems that afternoon tea is pretty much the only event worth doing when you’re pregnant…well that or a spa day but who want’s to see their work colleagues in speedos? *shudders* But anyway, as much as enjoyed Beas of Bloomsburys and their cosy little cafe, I have to say I was really looking forward to the grandeur of The Wolsely.
We were booked in at 4pm on Friday afternoon and dashed in out of the rain which had been absolutely u.n.r.e.l.e.n.t.i.n.g. (so long January!!!!). We heaved back the heavy doors and even heavier curtains hanging either side of the said doors and found ourselves right in the hustle and bustle of the Wolseley’s main restaurant.
It is HUGE! And exactly what a you would expect from a classic brasserie. Gold, black and cream throughout you feel like you’re stepping back in time…Gatsby style. It’s almost a little overwhelming. So when I found out we weren’t even going to be sitting in this grand room but instead a lovely little private room I was mildly relieved to escape the madness!
Instead we were lead round the corner and up a small stair case into the private dinning room overlooking the rest of the dining area. Faaaaancy.
Our table was beautifully laid out including name places for all nine of us – and with room for a couple extra if you wanted. We took our places and our waitress proceeded to take our tea order from the personalised menus wishing our colleague good luck and goodbye. Nice touch.
With the weather so vile outside I chose classic and comforting English Breakfast Tea and then nodded enthusiastically when asked if we were ready for first round of champagne.
The teas came in huge silver pots of varying size and shape however each was cleverly labelled so as not to cause confusion. We also had the classic tea strainers with them which was great, even though none of us knew how to use them.
It was really nice to have tea in a totally traditional way – it made a bit more of a ‘thing’ about the whole afternoon. Soon after the tea, arrived the afternoon spread of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. Beautifully presented on a classic cake stand and the scones on top covered to keep them warm. Another nice touch.
Seeing as this time round the scones were warm I decided to once again start with a nice fluffy one, covered in clotted cream and jam. They were so well made and moreish, luckily we were told we could order as many as we liked. In fact as soon as one plate emptied another arrived without request.
The Sandwiches were a little so-so. I much preferred BoB baguettes as they had a better taste and more interesting fillings. I don’t like egg mayonnaise nor do I like smoked salmon so I could only have the cucumber, chicken or coronation chicken which were fine but not really anything to write about…so I’ll stop.
The middle layer was a selection of cakes. The vanilla cheese cake was sensational…the texture was heavenly and it fast became everyone’s favourite.
Also on the plate was a miniature eclair, a meringue, some strange pistachio thing and a battenburg. I tried a little of everything apart from the battenburg. It was all of great quality and the fact that you could have more of all was a really big plus point.
What really made the afternoon though was the private room. It really was great to be booked in there overlooking the ‘paupers’ as we kept joking. You do feel very special and VIP! I couldn’t help but notice too, when I went to the loo (which is quite a trek so not ideal when you’re downing champagne and tea) that the main restaurant is very loud so the private room allowed us to chat easily and be heard.
I think the Wolseley is a fantastic place to go if you want hustle, bustle and something a little bit special. The surroundings are what make it and for that alone it’s worth a visit. It’s also wildly better value than it’s next door neighbour, The Ritz.
Have you been to the Wolseley for afternoon tea? Or perhaps brunch? What did you think…