Had Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum – they’re celebrating the first anniversary of the hotel’s living wall – a vertical garden. At £27.50 for Afternoon Tea and a glass of Kir Royal (if booked via toptable), this is a lot cheaper than the fabulous Pret a Portea at The Berkeley my favorite afternoon tea venue. To be honest though I have to say that the Athenaeums Afternoon Tea it is not in the same league as the Pret a Portea. However it is still a better than average venue to experience a typical English Afternoon Tea.
Included in the Afternoon Tea is your choice of teas, 2 rounds of sandwiches, 2 small scones, 3 items from the cake trolley and just when you think it is all over, Crumpets or Tea cakes. Rather strangely we had lots of jam for the Crumpets and Tea cakes, when we did not need it, and not enough for the scones. You may also find if you like stronger tea, that you need to ask for it, as the tea can be quite weak.
Made a pit stop at Peyton & Byrne in St Pancras Station. I just do not get it. What is the point of building up a brand as something a bit special, then cutting corners. Mass market coffee shops like Starbucks and Cafe Neros for example do not resort to using paper cups and plastic crockery for non take away customers, so why somewhere more bespoke like Peyton & Byrne has to, is beyond me. Invest in a dish washer or two please.
The 5th View @ Waterstones in Piccadilly is a real find, an oasis in the heart of the West End. It has however now “been found” by a lot of people, and has grown to handle its success. It now takes up the entire top floor. The expansion is extensive, as well as a larger bar area and more seating, there is now an attractive Champagne and Seafood Bar, which can be booked for private functions. To find somewhere stylish and quirky that delivers good quality food and top notch cocktails in a book store is unusual to say the least.
The expansion also extends to the menu in the main bar and food area, which now includes a range of breakfast options.
Plus I do love their carrot cake, especially when served with one of their lovely cocktails, a real indulgence.
The Fig & Olive in Islington is a busy venue with a nice friendly buzz. The cakes displayed by the door (which are also available as take away), look stunning, and if the bakewell tart I had was anything to go by, tasted good too.
This is not just a venue for Coffee and Cakes though. They also have a varied menu covering everything from English Breakfasts to Sunday Roast, and a selection of wines and cocktails.
We tried the Champagne Afternoon Tea at St Pancras Grand making use of the same half price offer we had used earlier at The Portrait (Normal Price £25.00 per person, with the deal £12.50). Off the two venues The Portrait easily won, with its buzzy atmosphere and friendly service. At the St Pancreas Grand, the room is certainly much grander. However the place was rather lacking in atmosphere and we had no qualms about not paying the discretionary service charge. Main complaints (apart from how dull The Afternoon Tea was) are:-
1. No one to greet us at the door.
2. Room was deserted of waiting staff on more than one occasion.
3. Very curt, disinterested waiter.
4. Getting a Tea Strainer took about 30 minutes and two attempts.
5. No offer of a top up on the tea (although the deal specifically mentioned unlimited tea), and we had 2 teapots between 3 people, so not exactly a fair distribution.
With service like this, if you were planning to catch a train…..you’d miss it!