If you know anything about me, you would know that the words Kerry and afternoon tea are linked by a long history. We have a long and fulfilling relationship. It reaches back to the time as a child that the lovely lady that lived in the house next door to my childhood home, used to invite for me for tea and truffles.
The wonderfully eccentric Eileen would set places at her little bistro table, with beautiful table linen and delicate fine china. Sugar lumps complete with tiny silver sugar tongs were in a china bowl, and a matching milk jug completed the look. She would pour me tea, and a little plate of posh truffles would be shared between us. Eileen would regale me with her trips to the ballet, and describe the graciousness of the ballerina’s over our tea party for two. I loved those afternoons spent with her. My love of high tea is well documented on this little ole blog of mine, in fact, there is a whole category dedicated to it, which you can browse in this section, Afternoon Tea Diaries.
Thats why, when I made the commitment to do Veganuary for January (vegan for January) I was having a little panic over the thought of no afternoon tea. I mean yes, I was willing to forfeight it for the cause, of course, but you can imagine how happy I was when I discovered that actually, I wouldnt need to! The Oxo Tower at London was launching a completley Vegan afternoon tea for January. They must have heard about my panic……….
My usual partner in crime for my afternoon tea is my Mum, but on this occassion, Nik expressed that he quite fancied it. I think to be fair, it had more to do with the fact that he fancied a day out in London but I went with it as I thought it would be good to get his view on it too, being as he is a meat eater and loves a bit of dairy! I have been non meat eater for 30 years, so it wasn’t as much as a change for me as it would be for Nik, so I took him along.
The Oxo Tower restaurant for anyone not sure, is located on the South Bank of the Thames, (near the Tate Modern) so looks across the river towards St Paul’s. The restaurant is located on the 8th floor, so your views across the river are uninterrupted and spectacular. I love views from above in London, and drinks up the Oxo Tower are definitely on my list to do in the summer.
With an outside terrace, I think it would be amazing. Judging by the beautiful cocktail that I had in the bar before we were sat at our table, I think many a happy drink could be sipped on floor 8… Still, lets get back to the afternoon tea!
I had read the menu before we went, so knew what The Oxo Tower was offering in its Vegan afternoon tea, but Nik had no idea what to expect. He was thinking there would be a lot of lentils and quinoa involved…..Oh foolish man! He was so surprised when we were talked through the menu and offerings of the day.
We had all that the traditional afternoon tea would treat you with. Finger sandwiches, savoury pastries, warm scones and sweet puddings and cakes. The sandwiches were also made on various breads, with variations such as onion bread, rye bread and beetroot bread. The delicious filling included lemon tofu with a sage and onion stuffing, cashew nut “cheese” with pickles and wild mushrooms on warm, oil drizzled bread. All were delicious and incredibly tasty.
The savouries were a chestnut and mushroom sausage roll, bite sized bhaji’s made from parsnip and shallot and the most delicious quinoa bon-bon. You also had a shot glass of avocado and apple smoothie which was so refreshing after the savoury offerings. The only thing that Nik didnt like was the mushroom toast, but that is because he has never liked the taste of mushroom and wont even try them at home. I was shocked he gave it a go at all, but he said it looked so temtping!
We were given a good bit of time to enjoy our cups of tea, and let the savoury courses go down, before the sweets were presented to us. Again, the choice of tea blends was pretty extensive. I chose an Earl Grey, while Nik went with a Chocolate Ginger blend, (which he said was amazing). I do love when a restrant lets you breath between courses. No rushing and no feeling that you have to move. It was lovely to just sit and take in the views, as the sun made its slow descent down, while casting a pinkish hue over the buildings. I was glad we got to see the views during the day, then with all the lights on over London in the night. Might be worth remembering that if you decide to go for this afternoon tea. We had a 3 o clock table.
Lets talk about the sweet treats. Of course, no afternoon tea is complete without warm scones, clotted “cream’ (made from cashew nuts) and rich strawberry jam. You were given two each and they were delicious. The cream was gorgeous! Then there were lemon meringue tarts, beautifully tasty pineapple and coconut sponge, and apple mouse to finish that was just so refreshing and light. We absolutely loved all of them. Nik did have to finish a couple of mine as I was full, but there was not a single thing that I didn’t enjoy. Nik said the same. It really was delicious.
I absolutely loved this afternoon tea, and thought it was amazing how the chef’s produced what they did totally vegan. It must be quite a challenge! Nik even loved it, and said that he would never have known that some of it was vegan. It was good to take him along and get his perspective, being a big meat eater. Prices for the Vegan afternoon tea start at £35 pp, and you can see the full details just here. This Vegan option runs throughout January, but they can cater for dietry requirements all year.
I am now on the hunt for recipes that tell me how I can make all the vegan cake………
What do you think? Did the food look tempting to you? Would it be something that you would try? I would love to hear your thoughts x
I was invited as a guest to try this afternoon tea complimentry in exchange for an honest review.