In America, locations are given by intersection names. Meeting a friend somewhere non specific, eg. not at your destination, asking your cab to drop you in the middle of a neighbourhood? You use intersections. If you want to tell someone where something is in the middle of a very, very long road (for example Santa Monica Boulevard stretches from Ocean Avenue along the waterfront right up to where it meets Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood) you give the nearest intersection. So, on my way out of afternoon tea at Bond & Brook in Mayfair, the delightful little restaurant within Fenwick on Bond Street, it made me smile to discover where the restaurants name came from on seeing the street sign for the crossover past Vogue House we took to reach Regents Street, and therefore J.Crew. Fenwick Bond Street is on the corner of Bond and Brook.
It has been a while since I've had a proper afternoon tea. Actually, scrap that. The joys of blogging mean that I can look back and tell you that my last real afternoon tea with tea, sandwiches, scones and petit fours was when I first moved to London over two years ago. While it is wonderful, it is just so expensive every time you go to a lovely hotel for their high tea service. This is why when I was invited to try Bond & Brook's new festive afternoon tea I was excited to go, because their afternoon teas only come in at £18.50 a person, making it a bit more of an affordable treat. And, you're also in the perfect location to shop. Not that I would recommend a weekend trip into the Oxford Street / Regents Street / Bond Street area anytime from now until Christmas!
The concept is simple. A traditional high tea, but with a festive twist. Let us have something to drink first, shall we? It was over drinks we decided that starting from the bottom up was really the only way forward. While we initially only went for warm drinks and water, by the time our waitress had returned with the water we decided that champagne was only fitting. It was a chilly Saturday, after all.
I was excited by the delightful selection of teas, obviously served in a silver tea service. I opted for Strawberry & Raspberry, though I was tempted by the Peppermint. The pair of them are my go too blends. It was mild, light but still sweet and complimented the high tea (and our champagne) perfectly. Sherin, my date for the afternoon (we doubled this up as our November girl date) had the Hot Chocolate, which she kept on telling me was one of the best she'd ever had. While the high tea was lovely, it was lacking in chocolate so I feel this might be the perfect indulgent accompaniment.
Onto the sandwiches. Here we have the pretty typical fayre of cheese and pickle, and ham and mustard, adorably (and deliciously) served in mini baguettes. Another afternoon tea stalwart was given its own unique spin in the form of the smoked salmon cream cheese sandwiches: they were inside out. Think a finger of fresh bread, slathered in cream cheese and with smoked salmon wrapped around the outside. The festive turn for the bottom level was given with the turkey and cranberry sandwiches, which made me look forward to Boxing Day. This was a good thing about living in America; I could indulge in all kinds of turkey and cranberry treats, including fantastic wraps I used to get at the top of Santa Monica Place from Thanksgiving onward.
While we loved the sandwiches and we loved the sweets, our joint favourite were the scones. Perfectly light, and served with jam and the most perfect round of rich and creamy clotted cream which we may have made a total mess of demploshing. Yes, I know that is meant to read 'demolishing' but I typed demploshing by accident, and felt it was a word, albeit made up that described how much mess we made. Oops!
Finally, dessert. We started with these mini petite fours, which turned out to be filled with marzipan. One of the tastes of Christmas, I think you'll all agree, followed on by cake pops. Now, I used to think cake pops were awesome when I first started reading Bakerella, where it all started and was in fact one of the first food and baking blogs I ever read. However, I think they have gone somewhere down the line of cupcakes and become a bit overrated. I don't think I've really loved the concept of a single cake pop until this one. Christmas cake, covered in white chocolate. Yes please. Now, I'm not usually a big Christmas cake or Christmas pudding fan (I only put up with the latter for the homemade brandy butter!), because I find I get bored after one or two bites. Therefore, this cake pop was perfect and I wish you could just buy them when passing to munch whilst browsing the shoe section.
Finally, the dessert I was most excited about from the get go, because they looked so pretty: the clementine and mulled wine jellies. They were delicious, and the mulled wine foam was just so good, packed with cloves and festive goodness. Just one tip though; the foam collapses a little into liquid, so don't do what we did and leave them until last, I'd recommend you go for them first to kick off your afternoon tea.
This special Christmas edition afternoon tea at Bond & Brook will become available to the public from the 25th November, which is next Monday. What are your favourite high tea spots in London? I feel I need to splurge on another the next time I have a special occasion coming up, and for my Canterbury readers back home, while I have no idea when I am going to have it, probably sometime in the New Year, I do have plans to go and try the afternoon tea a Tiny Tim's, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you've been already!