I spent the last weekend in London with my cousin and told her I wanted to try tea while I was there. She then excitedly insisted that we go to a proper afternoon tea the next day. As it turns out, this was a good call.
Our tea showed up in separate tea pots which I thought was very fancy but also a little intimidating because that’s A LOT of tea to drink if it turns out you don’t like tea. Well it all worked out because I took my first sip, so nicely photographed below by my cousin, and found that I quite liked it. Who woulda thunk it? Hot water and grass? It’s very strange, but I won’t question it.
However, afternoon tea is so much more than just tea. It also comes with a three-tiered platter of little snacks and finger sandwiches. So let me break ’em down for you.
First, there were the sandwiches. One had ham and some kind of mustard. One had something very yellow, but I forget what my cousin decided it was (needless to say, I did not try that one). The other was the classic cucumber sandwich: cucumbers and a mayo-garlic powdery spread. I could’ve lived without the mayo bit, but I had to try a bite because it’s just so English. And also because of The Importance of Being Earnest. Consensus: I don’t know what Algy sees in them.
Moving one tier up, we had the scones. THE SCONES! They were delicious. And tiny. So very very tiny. I’m determined to learn how to make them when I get home so that I can make them big and wonderful. I never understood the appeal to scones before because they just seemed so dry to me. But then I tried them with clotted cream (nasty name, yummy taste) and strawberry jam, and everything changed. So bottom line, I liked the scones.
Which brings us to the top tier: the pastries. Given my sweet tooth, you’d think this would have been my favorite part. But if you think that, I suggest you re-read the last paragraph. The pastries were OK, but in my opinion, if you’re going to have something so sweet, there better be a lot of chocolate in it. I just don’t see the point otherwise. I mean don’t get me wrong– I ate the pastries. All of them. But I’m just saying, if the restaurant was looking for any constructive criticism: more chocolate, less fruit.
At the end of the day I learned that I like tea (so much so that I ordered another cup the next day while I was waiting to board my flight back to Dublin), I love scones with clotted cream and jam, and I constantly want chocolate (OK, that I guess I confirmed more than learned). And I just really liked the whole experience of afternoon tea– I felt very fancy and sophisticated (especially when I took pictures of myself drinking tea– I think that really adds to the look I was going for). It was like a tea party for grown-ups. I like that. Thanks, cousin, for making me try tea the right way instead of out of a Lipton packet. Good looking out.