Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Time for Tea.....The Ampersand

Hello fellow tea lovers!

We hope you are well.

Today we want to share with you the wonderful afternoon tea experience that we enjoyed at the Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington today. This fabulous, quirky hotel offers a traditional afternoon tea all year round, plus a themed chef's afternoon tea at various times throughout the year. Recently they have featured a chocolate afternoon tea and a tea to celebrate London fashion week....but the one we wanted to sample was their Halloween afternoon tea.

We love a themed afternoon tea...when its done right!

The tea is served in The Drawing Room at the hotel, which is a wonderful light and airy space punctuated by an amazing cake table in the middle of the room and lots of brightly coloured, comfy furniture.

Isn't that a cool table? So very tempting!
Once you have decided whether to have a traditional afternoon tea or a Chef's afternoon tea, your next decision to make is which tea to enjoy. There is a good tea menu on offer, with something for everyone...from traditional breakfast tea to a zingy lemon tea and a refreshing green tea.
I had seen a couple of photos on Twitter of this afternoon tea when it was being developed, thanks to Head Chef Chris Golding and his fab photos on Twitter, but I wasn't prepared for the amazing tea that was served to us....

Yes, that's dry ice adding to the spookiness of the tea! Isn't it brilliant?? It definitely was a stylish afternoon tea...but what did it taste like?

On the bottom tier of the afternoon tea we had the savoury items. These were traditional afternoon tea sandwich fillings served in wonderful Gougeres (savoury choux buns), they were light in texture and extremely tasty. I haven't tried this type of savoury before, but I really liked it and it made a nice change to the usual finger sandwiches that normally accompany afternoon tea. The fillings we enjoyed were Gloucester Old Spot ham, smoked salmon, coronation chicken and cheese with fruit chutney. My favourite filling was the coronation chicken which was light and creamy and extremely tasty.

Next we moved onto the scones - each person had one plain and one white chocolate scone which was studded with white chocolate chips. The scones were warm and served with clotted cream and an amazing strawberry, chocolate and balsamic vinegar jam (which was made at the hotel).
The scones were wonderfully fresh and a good size. The jam was full of flavour and topped off our scones and cream really well.

Finally we made it to the top tier....and what a brilliant top tier it was! We had a cute little pumpkin cake, a green apple jelly skull, a wonderful vanilla mouse and a bloodied chocolate Tonka cupcake. Each sweet treat was fresh and extremely full of flavour....in fact I'm hard pushed to tell you which was my favourite one!
That jelly skull melted in the mouth and was extremely refreshing in flavour. The mousse was light and creamy and the chocolate cupcake had a really rich flavour, topped with cream and raspberry - a great combo!

The little pumpkin cake had a wonderful flavour too and was very moist, it was complemented with a light cream filling. The detail on the icing was wonderful, and everything was made in house.

Once we had finished our afternoon tea, Chef Chris invited us to see the kitchen where everything was prepared and to meet the team who made everything. What a brilliant experience and a lovely surprise!
We were all surprised at how small the kitchen space was! Here I am with Becca and the team who were preparing afternoon tea today. From the left we have Hedieh, Josh and then on the far right Christof - everyone was so friendly and happy to let us see their workspace.
Unfortunately we didn't meet Ji Sun, Head Pastry Chef who creates all the afternoon teas as it was her day off...but Chris showed us around and explained how everything is made in-house and how orders are put together as they are ordered in the restaurant. Nothing sits around waiting to be served, meaning it really is freshly prepared when it gets to your table! Scones are also baked three times a day - ensuring everyone has warm scones with their tea!

It was a brilliant experience to see a professional kitchen first hand and to meet the team who had put together such a wonderful afternoon tea. Thank you
Chris for inviting us into your kitchen!
For more photos from the kitchen take a peek at Chris' blog.
While in the kitchen we also saw a traditional afternoon tea, which looked wonderful too. In the traditional tea you have open sandwiches with traditional sandwich fillings. Scones served with clotted cream and jam. Currently the sweet treats served include a chocolate brownie, a mini lemon meringue tart, Victoria sponge, fruit cake and an English breakfast tea chocolate bonbon.
Afternoon tea is served everyday in the Drawing Room between 2:30pm-5:30pm. The traditional afternoon tea is £25 per person (£37 with a glass of bubbles) and the Chef's afternoon tea is £27.50 per person (£39.50 with a glass of bubbles). If you want any extras all you have to do is ask!
In my opinion this is a wonderful afternoon tea, freshly prepared and served in a quirky environment. We'll definitely be going back for another afternoon tea soon!
Thank you for popping by today,
we hope to see you again soon!
Rachel & Lorna
Square Meal

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