afternoon tea, 1901 at andaz

The beautiful domed stained-glass ceiling of the restaurant

1901 is just one of the restaurants within the Andaz Hotel at Liverpool Street, set in what used to be its beautiful ballroom when it used to be the Great Eastern Hotel.

To celebrate this being the year of the Diamond Jubilee, the have been serving a series of themed afternoon teas – ‘Tea Fit For A Queen‘.  From February to June they have celebrated a different British Queen each month.  For May, it has been Queen Victoria, also known as ‘Empress of India’ and their traditional afternoon tea has this month been given an Indian twist.

I was lucky enough to find an offer of 2 for 1 and went along with my friend yesterday afternoon.

The setting is actually really impeccable, and it was like a little oasis of cool and calm affter coming in from the muggy heat of London yesterday.

There were a few other parties for tea, which they only actually serve 3pm to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday.  The background music suited the setting, all tinkly and backgroundy, and it was only at one point that I realised one of the tracks was an ‘easy listening’ version of Billie Jean, which amused me.

The waiting staff were fantastic, just the right amount of attention but not intrusion, and everything was definitely relaxed and unrushed.  First of all we were brought our sandwiches and a wonderful glass teapot full of an extraordinarily delicious cocktail – apparently Bombay Sapphire gin shaken with Darjeeling tea, strawberry syrup, cacao, and coffee liquor.

Varioius lightly curried sandwiches and Bombay Sapphire Gin cocktail

The sandwiches were delicious – I have never been a great salmon lover, but it often appears within afternoon tea sandwiches. This lightly curried version though was particularly scrummy – as were the chicken tikka massala open sandwich and the vegetable curry naan.  They were all fresh and full of flavour.

Next came the tea, scones and various cakes and goodies.

A tower of yumminess

I have never been served scones with such a choice of toppings! There was one plain and one fruit scone each with a choice of butter (?!), clotted cream, raspberry jam, strawberry jam and even orange marmalade. I had to have half with butter and orange marmalade just for the novelty value. Very nice, but just not quite right!

Cakes and pastries

The selections of sweet things was fantastic – my favourite kind of offering, lots of little delights to try rather than big slabs of cake.  There was victoria sponge (of course), caramel eclairs, chocolate and hazelnut macaroons, little carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting and gorgeous little pastry encased dark chocolate ganache with a flavourful burst of orange gel on top.

Even more yum

There was also chocolate and cocount ice and little samosas filled with mango.

I have to say, everything was absolutely perfect – the setting, the ambience, the service and the food. And of course the company.  I loved it. It is definitely right up there with one of my favourites, and if I got another offer, I would definitely go back again (£45 / head is a bit of a stretch for me, really, although I still think it is definitely worth the experience).



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