I must admit, I don’t usually go for afternoon tea- but when I do, I want it to be special and out of the ordinary. That’s why I decided to book the mad hatters tea party at the Sanderson for my family and I. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s set outdoors in the courtyard of the- you guessed it, Sanderson, providing each guest cosy blankets and presented with pretty teapots embellished with kings and queens and sandwich plates decorated with zebras, birdcages and ticking clocks. The food is all themed around Alice and Wonderland and is priced at £48. The sugar is presented in a cute little music box and the menu wedged in between the pages of a vintage book. You can also choose to have a glass of champagne with it too for £58. As there were 6 of us – (well 5 and one child), we decided to go for a bottle as an extra treat!
Once you are seated, the waiter brings you samples of all the teas. I’ve only recently become more into tea and I will say the Alice inspired fusions smelled delicious. I liked the way they were all in little jars with labels and we got to do more than just simply read the descriptions before choosing which one we’d like to try first. I went for White rabbit, infused with white grapefruit, vanilla and almond white chrysanthemums. It was light and floral! Then, we eagerly awaited our food (we went around lunch time and I was starving). In terms of first impressions, I loved the food presentation of the tea stand, especially the meringues and the marshmallow mushrooms.
Going by each tier, the bottom had:
- Smoked salmon Scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese (Yum – however, a bit too fishy and not enough egg to fish ratio if you ask me)
- Stack of King of Hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieur (Probably my favourite of the savoury options! Simple but always a treat)
- Cornish crab bridge roll with dill, lemon, crème fraîche and avocado (This was OK, I did feel that there was not enough crab to properly enjoy it but from the little crab we had, it was tasty)
- White Rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread (A bit boring in my opinion)
- Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach “ Drink Me” potion (interesting! I liked how as you drank it you picked up different flavours of the dessert- it’s also quirky to include a drinkable dessert)
These were the only savoury (minus the potion) options for the day. I know I would have liked to have more choices as all the little desserts became a bit sickly after a while- however, this may be due to my own personal preference and what you look for in an afternoon tea!
The next tier had:
- Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger (Yum! the biscuit was both crumbly and buttery)
- Mocha chessboard gateau (Left this to last and was not my favourite- I’m not a huge fan of really chocolaty cakes though so that speaks for itself)
- Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier (Again, delicious but way too rich to finish)
- Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon (Probably my favourite! I love a good vanilla macaroon)
And finally, the top tier:
- Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms (Nice in terms of decor, but too sweet otherwise)
- Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue (Tasty- it was airy and light. These were placed in the grass served at the top of the tier)
In addition, the waiter then brought out warm scones served with Cornish clotted cream and fruit preserve. This is when I decided (for once and surprisingly) that I was done with desserts and desperately craved another ham and cheese sandwich. While I would go back for the experience, I’m not sure if I would go back for the food. There were, as mentioned, dishes I really enjoyed, but there were (in my opinion!) too many sweet treats in comparison to savoury. As many of them are so rich in flavour, it did feel a bit overwhelming.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a lovely place to have afternoon tea which is a little different to the norm, this could be the place for you!