What: One Aldwych Hotel, under the direction of Executive Chef Dominic Teague, are serving up a whole host of seasonal flavours in their Floral Afternoon Tea to celebrate Chelsea Flower Show. For £25 per head, or £36.50 with a glass of Champagne or a Floral Martini, the tea is a real gem with unusual flavours and some unexpected surprises, all beautifully presented in a dinky 3-tier tea set. SUITCASE popped along for a spot of lemon drizzle and crustless sandwiches, to see how this tea fared against the numerous scones and jam they've had in 2013. We weren't dissapointed...
What We Ate:
Vanilla panna cotta with violet leaves
White and dark chocolate marquise with orange blosson jelly
Lemon drizzle cake
Lavender brioche with apple and gorse flower compote
Homemade scones served with elderflower and rhubarb jam, plum jam and clotted cream
Chicken and wild garlic flower mayonaise on wholemeal bread
Jasmine smoked salmon on a bridge roll
Egg mayonnaise and watercress on wholemeal bread
Goat's curd and chive quiche
What We Thought: Delightful. For us, the savouries were the stars of the show. The winning sandwich was chicken and wild garlic flower mayonaise on wholemeal bread; the mayo was fresh and zingy, and there was none of the expected dryness of your average chicken sarnie. For sweet, the marquise was beautiful and rich, cut through with a little zingy lemon topping, and a creamy white chocolate mousse. The real star of the show, surprisingly, were the homemade preserves; the lavender brioche, dotted throughout with little sprigs of lavender flower, was sweet and nutty, but the accompanying clotted cream and apple and gorse flower compote was something truly magical - the apple compote, my guest proclaimed, was the best she'd ever tried. We're not quite sure what gorse flower is, but, whatever it is, we'd like some more please.
What We Drank: The 'Blue Flowers Earl Grey'; a loose-leaf tea tea infused with bergamot and blue blosson flowers - very sweet, very nice and Floral Martinis, specially created by Head Bartender Pedro Paulo. We sampled the 'Rose Petal' - Hendrick's gin shaken with home-made Earl Grey blue flowers syrup, ginger and lemongrass cordial and rose petal liqueur. It's surprisingly refreshing and not too sweet. We also gave the 'Sweet Lavender' a whirl; Bombay Sapphire gin with home-made chamomile and lavender syrup, bergamot cordial, elderflower liqueur and drops of lavender bitters. We like the fact the syrups are homemade - it's a nice touch, and nothing seemed to have that artificial, flowery taste, reminiscient of Palma Violet sweets your granny used to give you.
Our Verdict: At first we were worried - a menu purely inspired by floral flavours? We thought we might leave with a mouth tasting of bouquet. But we were pleasantly surprised by how delicately floral of all the food was - nothing was too heavily perfumed, nothing tasted like a potpourri. In fact, the floral notes of the Afternoon Tea was truly exciting thanks to their inventive use of unusual savoury floral flavourings, such as Wild Garlic Flower, which added a nice diversity to the treats.
Book: The Afternoon Tea is only running until 31st May. To book, see: http://www.onealdwych.com/food-drink/lobby-bar/food-menus/afternoon-tea.aspx#sthash.eX7HN1RG.dpuf
Wear these: One Aldwych is surpisingly laid-back. We say florals all round! We love this cute floral tuxedo jacket by Wondaland and these floral trousers by Ingenue, London:
Stockists: www.wondaland.co.uk and www.ingenuelondon.comBy Angelica Malin @jellymalin