If there is a better way to spend an afternoon than attacking a towering carousel of sandwiches, cakes and scones with your nearest and dearest we’re yet to find it. There’s something beautifully British about afternoon tea, from the politeness of taking it in turns to pour the teapot to heated discussions over whether the jam or cream should grace your scone first.
As the nation unites to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, we’re sharing six alternative afternoon tea spots that break with tradition. Rally the troops and prepare to taste test our top six picks, all of which can be found on our very own shores.
Dirty Birds and Doughnuts Afternoon Tea
Ma’ Plucker, 75 Beak Street (London)
First in our pick of ‘afternoon tea but not as you know it’ can be found at Ma’ Plucker. The ‘Dirty Birds and Doughnuts’ afternoon tea brings America’s Deep South to Soho with a menu of fried buttermilk chicken, cold brews and unlimited iced tea. There’s not a traditional finger sandwich in sight, but rather a selection of fried chicken ‘doughnuts’, including the sensual sounding Elvis; fried chicken, peanut butter, streaky bacon and jam. A sweet tooth is satiated with the Unicorn Shake Shooter and a salted chilli brownie.
Science Afternoon Tea
The Ampersand Hotel, Kensington (London)
It isn’t hard to see where The Ampersand Hotel found the inspiration for an afternoon tea that is – quite literally – out of this world; the Science Museum is right next door.
Ready your lab coat and prepare to examine space themed treats including mint and chocolate planet mousse complete with a spaceman. Sample kiwi, lime and pineapple jelly in Petri dishes, dust for shortbread dinosaurs and dig for chocolate fossils in Oreo crumb ‘soil’. With dry ice and test tube toppings factoring heavily too, this is one afternoon tea that is far too exciting to leave to the kids.
The Morrison, Ormond Quay Lower (Dublin)
If you thought afternoon tea was for ladies who lunch, think again. This manly take on the tradition swaps delicate cucumber sandwiches for masculinity and meat galore. Roll up your sleeves and dig into steak sandwiches, beef sliders and bacon scones (Bacon. Scones. Let’s just let those two words sink in a little…)
Even the desserts are more masculine than your usual, with good old whisky taking the chocolate truffles up a notch. Finally, wash the whole lot down with a pint of Wicklow Wolf beer. Tasty!
Seafood Afternoon Tea
The Grand, 97-99 King’s Road (Brighton)
The traditional afternoon tea gets a fishy twist at The Grand, where the fish dish of the day is served up with a brand-new spin. If your taste buds are more savoury than sweet, this seafood spectacular will be right up your street. Salted scones with chive crème fraiche, Keta Caviar, treacle cured salmon, brown bread ice cream, Poole Bay oysters and a pot of Marie Rose sauce where you’d usually expect your pot of cream to be is all on the afternoon’s agenda.
Afternoon Punk Tea
The Baltic Social, 27 Parliament Street (Liverpool)
Sliders are a modern-day masterpiece, aren’t they? Any excuse to eat burgers in their twos, threes or fours isn’t to be sniffed at and you’ll find a whole carousel of them at The Baltic Social in Liverpool. Throw mini hot dogs, lamb koftas, salt and pepper fries, and sticky honey and sesame wings into the mix and you’re onto a winner. There are Oreo chocolate brownie and Jammy Dodger cake for dessert too. Also, that definitely isn’t tea in your teapot…
Dim Sum Tea Party
The Crazy Bear, 73-75 Wycombe End (Beaconsfield)
The Crazy Bear’s dim sum is award-winning, so a whole stand full of the stuff is a delight indeed. Pour out a chintzy china cup of raspberry ripple cocktail from the teapot and help yourself to 12 dim sum pieces per person, with barbecue pork buns, pork, prawn and scallop shumai, and crystal har gau dumplings laid out for the taking. There are sweet buns for dessert and your choice of exotic herbal tea to wash it all down. May we suggest the flowering osmanthus or organic silver needle white tea?
Whilst we love an afternoon tea at sea, we’ll take any of these tasty alternatives to fill a hole whilst we’re waiting for our next cruise!