Another day, another scone. My second London tea-themed experience took me to my favourite Drawing rooms within the beautiful and quaint boutique – Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington.
Before I reveal the delicious details of their Afternoon Tea I have to admit I love the Ampersand Hotel and bias happens to creep for me, but for all good reason. After my 6th visit in 12 months I still say its chic, modern and easy to enjoy. That said I am not alone in my opinion – I have taken and recommended many friends to try the Ampersand whether for tea, lunch or dinner or even a night cap and to date all have enjoyed its boutique ambience and personal touch service. Given that the hotel opened in 2012 it remains to hold a new feel upon entering with a gorgeous fresh interior.
There are plenty of places that serve afternoon tea in London but it pleasures me when I find a place like the Ampersand that is more off the beaten track and yet low on the pretentious pretence that many London establishments hold. The Drawing rooms relaxed “french finess meets british style” gets you cosy quickly. For me an ideal spot for a pot of tea and girl time gossip.
Their Afternoon Tea theme alternates every few months inspired by current London events. A long running one is their Science Afternoon Tea – super fun, creative and totally delicious. I really recommend trying it.
This summer has had three other fun themes inspired by Wimbledon, the Chelsea Flower show and the BBC Proms. A friend of mine tried the Chelsea Flower show tea and voila! Looks pretty divine…..
The Musical afternoon tea is their current running theme and to my delight I got to try out their musical inspired sweet treats @32.50 pp and 44.50pp with a glass of bubbles.
The tartines (french open sandwiches) and gougeres (savoury profiteroles) are more then moorish and available with all of their afternoon tea selections. The team are very flexible and invite you to switch and swatch whatever fillings you prefer more of. So great if you are a vegetarian or like me want more of the yummy coronation chicken tartines!
The white chocolate scones really are one of the best in town. Even after my recent scout this month I still think the Ampersand have mastered these beige boys! Worked perfectly with my pot of peppermint tea.
Now for the sweet musical treats, for me the highlight was the passionfruit coulis mousse and salted caramel macaroon. I’m not an avid fan of macaroons usually but these turquoise ones had me wanting more. The cello cookie, grand piano cake and raspberry mousse cake were all delightful and not too heavy to finish!
The Ampersand team really made the experience a special one. Their friendly Head Chef Chris Golding made a point to escape from his hot kitchen to welcome us and gave us an opportunity to take a tour of where the magic is created. He also provided some extra cakes and brownies on the house for my friends who couldn’t eat the raspberry cake with gelatine in them. Super kind!
Chris introduced his Head Pastry Chef Ji Sun Shin who was busy creating the next batch of delicious cakes.
Chris also heads up the menu at Apero the main dining restaurant & bar at the Ampersand; its worth checking out for lunch, dinner or like me for cocktails and bites. The menu is always interesting and his selection of house breads such as the flower pot and beetroot buns for the UnBeetable burgers are yum! He’s such a beetroot believer he has one tattooed on his arm! Also, the squid scotch egg is a must – my favourite battered egg to date!
Another option is to have evening drinks in the Drawing rooms. I have enjoyed their canapés and champagne and found it to be a charming way to catch up with a group before the night begins.
All in all the Ampersand is an elegant little find that I recommend for any time of day. Their afternoon tea is consistently inspiring and the Drawing rooms a charming cocoon in busy South Kensington. “Brush off your glad rags and try out their Fashion Afternoon Tea” in September and make sure you have a potter around the corners of the hotel and you will find all sorts of character and quirk – fancy a game of ping pong or vino party….you’ve found a great place!
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