It doesn’t matter if you’re rooting for Murray, Federer or Nadal, the Ampersand Hotel’s Wimbledon Afternoon Tea hits the spot as the final week of the Championships gets under way.
A boutique hotel located on a bustling South Kensington street, very handy for the V&A or Royal Albert Hall, afternoon tea is served in the Ampersand’s stylish but relaxed drawing room which is modelled on French salon chic – an essential prerequisite when searching out a new destination for calorie-laden pleasure and gluttony.
It was my first time at the hotel and a table laden with mouth-watering cakes and patisserie immediately caught my eye. Although a Classic Afternoon Tea is always available, it runs alongside a themed tea, regularly updated to mark notable London events and really showcases the artistry and skill of Head Pastry Chef Ji Sun Shin and is sure to amuse and delight all.
The bubbly Ji Sun was raised in Korea before going on to work in some of the capital’s most renowned establishments including The Mirabelle and Nobu and has certainly put her mark on the Ampersand since joining the hotel two years ago, where she is positively encouraged to illustrate her fun personality and creative flair for sweet treats.
The savoury gougeres are an original take on the humble sandwich; light choux buns, with a selection of fillings including Gloucester Old Spot ham and sauce gribiche, H. Forman & Son smoked salmon with dill and cream cheese (my personal favourite), coronation chicken and the traditional favourite, cheese and chutney.
Homemade white chocolate and plain scones were delightfully short and biscuity and served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve. But the pièce de résistance was the top tier of the cake stand, featuring an incredibly light yellow-coloured coconut mousse posing as a tennis ball, filled with an intense passion fruit purée and resting on a grass-coloured lime cake ‘tennis court’.
From violet and green macaroons paying tribute to the colours of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club insignia, a heady Pimm’s cocktail shot and a dainty strawberry and cream tart, to the iced gingerbread tennis racket (perfect for dunking in a cup of Earl Grey) – every element was a highly inventive celebration of English summer.
The Wimbledon Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2.30pm – 5.30pm until 6th July priced at £44.50pp with a glass of Champagne. For more information and bookings visit the website.