Afternoon tea. That quintessentially British tradition that makes us feel fancy. There is something special about getting dressed up a little, heading to a beautiful venue and feeling indulgent for the afternoon. I never struggled to find an afternoon tea when I was vegetarian, it is very well catered for. But, since becoming vegan 18 months ago, finding a good vegan afternoon tea proved a little trickier.
When I saw that Dalloway Terrace, (a venue we had lusted after in forever), offered a vegan version of their winter wonderland afternoon tea, my life was made. In fact, it was like little tiny angelic cherubs had sprung from the screen of my laptop. These little chubby angels were playing tiny harps, creating magical, exquisite music just to announce the fact that ‘Yes Kerry, you can enjoy high tea’. That is how excited I was…….
Off to Winter Wonderland – Dalloway Terrace
Ok, I know. I am a little over the top, but I just love afternoon tea! I have a whole section here on the blog dedicated to Afternoon Tea such is my love. I had been looking for one in London that catered to a plant based diet for a while. My Mum and I were well over due a Mum and Daughter day. With all that went on with Nik’s cancer battle the last couple of years, we have not enjoyed as many days out together as we usually do. So, now that life is being a little more gentle with us, it was time to dust off the tea dress! I really wanted to treat my Mum to a special day, and afternoon tea would be just perfect!
So Dalloway Terrace, if you did not know, is situated in The Bloomsbury hotel. It’s location, just off of Tottenham Court Road, is ideal for a little indulgence after shopping, before a theatre show, or just because! This small, but perfectly formed terrace is a visual delight and Instagram favourite! With every season, Dalloway Terrace is turned into the most beautiful seasonal scene. Spring will see it bursting with colourful blooms. Autumn you will be immersed in rich coppers and burnt oranges. The attention to detail is just beautiful. For our wintery visit, we walked in to a Winter Wonderland. It felt like we were sitting in a setting straight from the Alps. Snow smothered pine trees, flickering candle light lanterns and traditional cow bells nestled in the boughs of the trees. Perfect for this snow obsessed woman!
We started our dalliance with Dalloway (see what I did there…) in another of The Bloomsbury hotel offerings, The Coral Room. We were a little early for our tea, (keen to get to the cake) so we decided to have a little cocktail. The Coral Room is gorgeous and you can have afternoon tea here too. As you would probably guess, it was awash with coral hues in its decor. The beautiful high ceilings carried this colour off well, and crystal chandeliers scattered light throughout. It was beautiful. You can often walk in without a booking at The Coral Room, so I recommend considering it for drinks if you are in the area.
Mum and I both chose to have a Garden Party cocktail. I loved the cocktail menu here. The drinks are inspired by England, with local ingredients being used in their creation. Our vodka based cocktail was Sussex inspired, very indulgent, and served in a rose gold champagne coup. Oh…..and it was sprinkled with rainbow dust to finish. A truly special cocktail.
Vegan Afternoon Tea
So, back to Dalloway Terrace. We were seated at our table, and our fabulously welcoming server Sjoerd, introduced us to the menu. I must draw attention here, to the overall service at this venue. The service we received was simply amazing. Right from the start when booking with the most wonderful Eljesa, who made the arrangements for me and answered my many questions. Good service is something that lets so many places down I find, but not so here. It genuinely felt like every member of staff we encountered wanted to make your visit special. We felt so well looked after. It was so lovely to see such passion from Chris the chef too, (but more about that later).
Ok, lets get on to the star of the show. The standard, and the vegan afternoon tea. Mum is not vegan, so it was really good to see the usual version as well as my one. Your choice of tea was offered first. A selection of black tea, green tea and also white tea could be chosen from, or coffee if that is your preference. Mum chose an English Breakfast, I chose my favourite, Earl Grey.
Sjoerd then brought over our tiered afternoon tea stands. The theme for the afternoon tea is Switzerland, and I loved how this had been brought into the food. We were thrilled when Chris, the chef (and also Afternoon Tea of the Year Finalist) came out to talk us through the menu. I absolutely love to see passion and enthusiasm in someone for their work, and Chris had this in abundance. He was excited for us to try the food. Proud of what he would be making us. His creativeness in the menu was apparent, and he had brought that into the vegan version too. I was also over the moon to hear the back story to many of the ingredients. Let me share some with you.
Dalloway terrace work hard at sourcing their ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources. For example, the chocolate is bought direct from chocolate farmers in Peru, making sure they are paid fare prices for their produce. The venue also purchase ingredients that support women in their communities, ensuring that they have an income of their own. So many community projects and fare trade deals are supported through Dalloway Terrace. I absolutely love that, made my little sustainability warrior heart happy, and made it even more special for me.
Anyway, back to the food! Starting with the finger sandwiches, fillings included schnapps infused cucumber, Swiss mountain cheese and chutney, a vegan version of the cheese for me. A rich, tahini infused humous was another filling, smoked trout on Mum’s plate. They were all just perfect and delicious.
Now vegan scones are something that I know are tricky to get right. They can go very hard, not light and fluffy in any way! Well these had been made perfectly! They were still warm, rich with fruit and light. Served with clotted cream (for Mum) and a cloudberry jam. Have you heard of a cloudberry? Well cloudberries, (sometimes called arctic berries) are only found in the mountains of Switzerland. They make a light apricot coloured jam that is different to anything I have tried. Sweet, but not overly sweet with a delicate taste. Gorgeous, and only served at Dalloway Terrace!
Afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace starts at £40 pp. You can add a glass of bubbles, (which is beautifully chilled and gorgeous) for an additional £10 pp. All dietary requirements can be catered for with a little notice, (24 hours minimum). The afternoon tea is served between 12 – 4 pm. You can book a table or see dining options just here if you are tempted.
So the sweet treats plate was where Chris, the Head pastry chef, had his most fun! Both the normal and the vegan afternoon tea had a fabulous nod to the swiss theme. Snow coated pine trees with melting middles, edel weiss white chocolate cream and cheesecake fondu. For me, snow dusted pastries, raspberry and chocolate compote and raspberry topped brownies. An absolute delight for those of us that love sweet treats. So much thought had gone into creating this visual and delicious selection. We of course, could not eat it all so the ever helpful Sjoerd offered to box it for us. I had two very happy sons when I got home with that box…….
I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the vegan afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace, or of course the usual one! Mum and I both said it was one of our favourites. The setting, the service, the sensory experience, all made it a wonderful, special afternoon tea treat. I of course, now know that without a doubt, I will be going back in Spring for the next seasonal display! All in the name of research and comparison for you all of course…. I can’t wait!
Are you a fan of themed afternoon teas? Do you like your setting to be as beautiful as your food? Have you been to Dalloway terrace in any of the other seasons? Let me know, you know I love to talk cake…