First it was breakfast, with a number of high end restaurants opening up early to serve the first meal of the day – now it seems to be afternoon tea which is becoming all the rage in restaurants trying to fill what might have been dead time with a profitable offering.  We have received a plethora of publicity releases on specialist afternoon teas – many of which are getting to match a dinner outing in food volume and costs.  We recently covered the Japanese afternoon tea at Jason Atherton’s Sosharu restaurant near Farringdon Station – click on Japanese Afternoon Tea at Sosharu to read again – and here are a few more offerings in easy range of the Barbican:

Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea at The Grand Café

This month, The Royal Exchange will launch the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea, offering guests a wonderful array of both savoury and sweet treats inspired by the finest Japanese cuisine, and all served in the opulent surroundings of The Grand Café. In honour of the beautiful cherry blossom that each year heralds the arrival of spring in Japan, Head Chef Piero Leone has perfectly incorporated vibrant Japanese flavours into dishes that also celebrate the British traditions of taking afternoon tea.

To start, a selection of finger sandwiches will feature flavours such as Miso egg and watercress and Cream cheese with sesame and ginger, while guests will also be able to enjoy brioche buns with Chicken teriyaki and Hot smoked salmon and shiso mayonnaise. To follow, a unique range of sweet treats will include Matcha green tea and strawberry trifle and Chocolate brownie with kumquats and lavender, while traditional British scones will be served with clotted cream and yuzu jam.

Piero Leone has been greatly inspired by his extensive travels across Japan, also having been named winner of the Seven Samurai Chefs challenge, and the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea at The Grand Café celebrates the perfect fusion of Japanese flavours and British traditions, all set within one of London’s most magnificent landmarks, The Royal Exchange.

Price: £20 per person; Availability: Monday- Friday, 3-5.30pm; Address: Royal Exchange, London EC3V 3LR; Website: ; Email:; Telephone: 020 7618 2480.


A British Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard
The 21st April marks National Tea Day and Aqua Shard is to celebrate the occasion by hitting the refresh button on its popular afternoon tea offering. Executive chef Dale Osborne and Head pastry chef Ji Sun Shin have updated the restaurant’s contemporary British tea to include delicious new savoury and sweet treats.

Amongst the savoury items are a Native lobster and roasted lobster mayonnaise brown bread finger sandwich, a Sautéed spinach and Innes goat’s cheese mini quiche and a Cannon & Cannon black pudding and sausage roll with Yorkshire chutney.

Vanilla scones and white chocolate chip scones follow with squeezy tubes of homemade jam and honey toffee! You’ll need to leave room to indulge in the sweet selection, such as a White chocolate mousse with blood orange gel and an almond macaroon, and Lemon curd with hazelnut sponge and meringue.

Afternoon tea is served every day from 1pm.   Enjoy the great views too.

Click here to view the full menu.

Price:  Classic Afternoon Tea £45; Champagne Afternoon Tea £58 or £69 depending on Champagne chosen.  Address: Level 31 The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London, UK SE1 9RY, Reservations: 020 3011 1256


Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Ten Trinity Square

This Easter, the recently opened Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square will offer a Chocolate Afternoon Tea using only the finest Valrhona chocolate.

The indulgent menu is a chocoholic’s dream come true, incorporating chocolate into each section of the menu; finger sandwiches, French pastries and a twist on tradition with chocolate and almond scones with chocolate hazelnut spread, Devonshire clotted cream and seasonal jams.

Savoury items subtly featuring chocolate include roast beef on a milk bun with granny smith compote, verjus and chocolate nibs and goats cheese mouse on cereal toast with espelette coulis and bitter chocolate. Chocolate connoisseurs can delight with a selection of patisseries featuring a chocolate from Valrhona’s range such as chocolate tart with raspberry and candied ginger made with Manjari (64%) and Jivara (40%) and macaroon with matcha and orange confit featuring Ivoire (35%).

To accompany the Easter Afternoon Tea, guests can choose Hot Chocolate or from a selection of Rare Teas all with delicate chocolate notes. The Chocolate Afternoon Tea will be served in the stunning Rotunda Lounge at the heart of the hotel, available from 10th April to 23rd April, served daily from 3.00pm – 5.30pm.

Cost: £52 per person or £62 including a glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne.  Address: Four Seasons Hotel, 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ. Telephone: 020 3297 9200