Last Sunday I enjoyed a wonderful Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea at St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel, with my friend Chloe. There are so many fantastic themed afternoon teas in the city but what makes this one particularly special is the setting in which you dine. St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel, is located near St James’ Park, just moments from Buckingham Palace, and is set within a stunning complex of grand buildings with an outdoor courtyard providing a quiet, tranquil haven in the middle of a bustling city.
As we made our way through the luxurious reception, and court yard covered in foliage, we couldn’t help but stop to take a couple of photos of the magnificent interior and exterior of St James’ Court. It is truly a stunning building, I don’t think I’ve ever visited a hotel so luxurious before. To replicate the beautiful surroundings, the attention to detail of the afternoon tea is superb. We were seated at a table next to the window which had been adorned with a large pocket watch, elaborate hat, flowers and other trinkets. Oversized cards accompanied miss-matched, floral patterned bone china.
After perusing the well-presented, hardback menu of teas we each chose our favourite, and settled in for the first course of finger sandwiches. These included the Alice sandwich – cucumber and cream cheese on beetroot bread. The ‘Bird in the Tree’ which is coronation chicken on carrot bread. The ‘Fish Footman’ – tuna mayonnaise on white bread, and the ‘Lory’ which is Cornish Yarg and tomato with red currant jelly.
Following the sandwiches, and many more cups of tea, the towering showstopper cakes, pastries and scones arrives. Call me simple, but scones are always my favourite part of an afternoon tea, and not only does the Alice in Wonderland tea offer 1 scone, not even 2 but in fact 3 different scones! Featuring plain, chocolate chip and sultana, they were served with classic Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The level of detail in the decoration of the cakes and pastries, and the thought gone into each design was incredible. The ‘drink me’ strawberry yogurt potion and the bubble gum flavoured ‘pocket watch’ macaron were my favourites. If you’ve never tried a bubble gum flavoured macaron, it’s a must! We also had a raspberry marshmallow ‘caterpillar’s mushroom’, a ‘queen of hearts’ mango tart, ‘Dodo’s’ watermelon jelly and a white chocolate mousse ‘tea cup’. The mango tart and white chocolate mousse came in close seconds in terms of favourites, but overall the entire selection was fantastic. Other afternoon teas I’ve tried haven’t featured a chocolate option, but I found that the addition of chocolate on this occasion was a welcome, lighter alternative. That being said, the afternoon tea may have felt lighter, but we were still unable to finish everything. I was personally defeated by the scones, even though they’re always my favourite part, and just as we thought there was no more, our waiter presented a beautiful Victoria sponge cake to share. Unfortunately we just couldn’t find the room to even sample it, so our waiter very kindly popped it into a box to take home. And I can now confirm that it was the best Victoria sponge I’ve ever tasted! Perfectly light and fluffy with just the right amount of icing.
Priced at just £35 the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea at St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel, is considerably cheaper than others in the city, especially when in comparison to other similarly themed teas. The value for money for the attention to detail and the beautiful setting is fantastic. You can also add a half bottle of Prosecco to your dining experience for just an extra £10 – again, incredibly good value.
Top tip: Add half a bottle of Prosecco to the meal!
- Delicious food (and plenty of it!)
- Fantastic value for money
- Possibly the cheapest afternoon tea in London
- Great service
- The setting isn’t quite as pretty as some competitors