Afternoon Tea Review: The Den at The St Martins Lane Hotel, Covent Garden in London
Everything about the St Martin’s Lane Hotel is almost as you would expect but with quirky twists throughout. A few months ago I attended the launch of Asia de Cuba – the popular bar / restaurant just to the left hand side of this cool hotel’s minimalist lobby. Tucked in over the other side of the lobby is The Den; a newly launched all-day lounge serving afternoon tea and light bites.
Described as a classically British, oak-panelled snug, The Den sings 1970’s and you almost expect to spot groups of men in suits drinking whisky and smoking fat cigars. Instead The Den is filled with almost quite the opposite; small groups of women indulging in the newly launched Gin and Tonic afternoon tea. As I say this hotel is dotted with alternative twists and The Den follows suit. Pictures are hanging on a slant, have been cut in two with one even featuring a smashed glass finish; these all cunningly linked to the new G&T menu.#
Seated at our table, which also offers itself as a backgammon board game, we start with large glasses of G&Ts whereby we are able to choose from a selection of The Dens creative gin inventions. These include the light WG Grace Gin & Tonic which is a classical mix of the ever popular Hendricks and Fever-Tree tonic with a large and delicate ribbon of cucumber and The Pudding and Pye, a mix of fresh red strawberries, with Bombay Sapphire, Fever-Tree tonic and lime and is said to represent the Great Fire of London (also featured within one of the pictures hung around us).
With food we are proudly presented with a stack of treats. Savoury small bites include a Poppy Seed & Pumpkin Choux, Sundried Tomato Focaccia and Honey Roast Ham & Somerset Cheddar Baked Brioche. Following on, their sweeter offerings including Mixed Berry Tarts with Vanilla Mousseline Cream, Coconut Macaroons and Greek Yoghurt Mousse Terrine with Passion Fruit & Guava Sauce. A true British afternoon tea is not without classic warm scones, clotted cream and jam which are also served. Available daily, the afternoon tea comes with a large selection of English breakfast and fruit teas for £25 per person, add a Gin & Tonic for £35 per person or a glass of champagne for £37 per person.
Recently winning two D&AD awards in brand expression and graphic design categories, The Den take their design and visual concept very seriously. Clever and pretty unique, this is the first place (I am aware of) that the menu is linked to the paintings on the wall – a very thoughtful touch with a very British twist. The Den’s artwork has been placed to create talking point for its guests, and the laid back setting and all-day menu of savoury bites, teas and coffee make it a convenient central London spot for a quick catch up a space to breathe, away from the hoards.
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Address: 45 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX, 020 7300 5500, morganshotelgroup.com/london/st-martins-lane