Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland is 150 years old this year. I count seven versions of Alice in Wonderland movies on iMDB and can only hazard a guess at how many different versions of the book sit on children’s bookcases around the world. (Lots). Alice’s enduring appeal shows no sign of waning and at this majestic birthday where better to raise a toast than at the Sanderson, itself appearing one way from the outside and as something quite magical within.
And what a toast! From 1pm-4pm (5pm on Sundays) you can enjoy a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with a friend or two. I recommend that the friend you take is someone who is not averse to the odd lunchtime glass of champagne, and who won’t hold back on sampling every delicious morsel on the table. Because you really have to try all the wonderful creations on offer here.
To start with, there’s a range of Sanderson exclusive, Wonderland-themed herbal teas to choose from. To help you with this, there is a small tray of glass bottles containing the dried ingredients of the various teas. As if in a perfumery, I smelt them all before settling on the Cheshire Cat with hints of chocolate and orange. The Queen of Hearts features red rose conga infused with red rose petals, Alice is China black tea infused with blackcurrant, vanilla, caramel and more, Mad Hatter was deliciously fruity with passion fruit, guava and mango and White Rabbit is China white silver needles infused with grapefruit, vanilla and almond white chrysanthemums. So you see the themes are brilliantly upheld with stunningly creative variants which work rather well and taste rather better.
The savoury dishes arrive next and are beautifully presented on crockery featuring retro drawings of trapeze artists. The teapots feature kings and queens and are adorned with black paper crowns. The menu is tucked inside an old fashioned hardback book, and the sugar cubes? Oh, they’re just resting here in a little girls’ jewellery box. Anyway, back to the food. The highlight of the savoury plate for me was easily the smoked salmon scotch egg, complete with quail’s egg and caviar and was absolutely divine. Other treats included a mini croque monsieur, cucumber sandwich on lime bread and a white crab eclair.
Next out – yes, there’s more – was the cake stand of sweet wonders. We started with the scones (still warm) and moved onto the variety of novel Wonderland-esque creations; a blue caterpillar, magic marshmallow mushrooms (“No more than two!” our perfectly attentive waiter cheekily advised), a Queen of Hearts Oreo cookie soldier, the incredible pocket watch macaroon and the standout item, the dinky bottle of layered passionfruit, coconut and mango with obligatory label and straw – Alice’s ‘Drink Me’ Potion.
As if that weren’t enough, the tea is topped off with an ice cream presented in a small plant pot and garnished with cress leaves and edible petals. There may have been a little layer of soil but that proved edible too and I scoffed the lot. There was no growing and shrinking today, just a gently expanding waistline. I heartily recommend it.
The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson London will continue to evolve, with elements and flavours changing seasonally. Tea is served daily and is priced between £48 and £65 per person excluding service, £35 per child for children 4-11 years old. For table reservations, please call 020 7300 5588.